CW: blood, bleeding, needles, hospitals

basically –









Old blood tastes like sucking on dirty copper coins, it’s still in the spit in my mouth. Wednesday I had a nosebleed for nine hours, and I’m still kinda tired.


I only noticed when walking around the city centre I was getting more diagonal looks than usual. Looking as I do I accept a certain amount of side eye and sometimes outright gawking, but this was different, people seemed confused, more confused than they normally are when presented with an adult man with the hair of a clown. But then when I opened my mouth to smile, I tasted blood. Now I do get the occasional nosebleed – it’s fair to say the way I have lived my life up until now it’d be more unusual if I didn’t get them – but they usually stop as soon as they start. Not having any tissue on me I make my way to the nearest public bathroom with my hand covering the lower half of my face like a man in the process of kidnapping himself.


Thanking Khorne, the blood god, that a stall was free I was able to grab a bunch of toilet paper, I quickly stuffed some up the offending nostril, and cleaned myself up. It was slightly worrying how soaked my gloves were. I decided to peel them off and throw them away.I set off again with a mask covering the tissue hanging out of my nose. Five minutes later not only had the bleeding not stopped but I could feel the warm blood trickling down the back of my throat. I went into the next public toilet, and as soon as I pulled the tissue from my nose a lot of blood came out. Pinching my nose with one hand I cleaned up the best I could and did everything I was told too in first aid, but in a public toilet. A lad waiting to use the stalls nods at me and comes over.


“Nosebleed yeah?” he says

“…yeah” I answer unsure if this was a question, he leans in.

“Do you sniff” he says in a low key voice


“Do you, you know, sniff?” he puts a finger to one nostril so the meaning is unambiguous.

“Oh no, nothing like that” and to be fair to him, it’s the same question every medical professional I saw for the rest of the day asked within a couple of minutes.


The pinching isn’t helping, it’s half five by now and the buses are full. I think that maybe if I can get home, I can apply a cold compress and try pinching it again properly before I involve doctors or anyone else. The trouble is this time of day a bus can take up to an hour to get back to Northfield and it’ll be close to standing room only, I dont think its fair to anyone if I force people in cramped conditions to sit next to a walking hazmat sprinkler. But if I phone my dad for a lift I know that I’m going to send my Mom into an apoplexy of worry. Not about me, about the slight chance that my dad drives near the clean air zone boundary which I think she imagines has machine gun nests and over zealous snipers patrolling the border. So plug the nose again and walk down the Bristol Road the the first landmark outside the Clean Airzone I know I can direct my dad too. Stopping only a couple of times on the way to empty my nose, when the blood I was swallowing became too much.


“Hi mom, have you guys finished your tea yet”

“We have, you said you didn’t want any, but there might be some left…”

“No, I’m okay, thanks. I’ve got a nosebleed I can’t stop, I don’t want to catch a bus, can dad pick me up?” I ask


“Mom I’m not there I’ve walked out of town tell him I’m at the eye clinic on the Bristol Road, tell him it’s where he normally turns so he can get to the back of town and park in digbeth”

“(off the phone to dad) can you pick Danny up he’s at the eye hospital”

“Mom? Mom? Listen to me I’m at the eye *clinic* on the Bristol road, it’s where he normally turns …”

“Oh I know it, it’s got a dome”

It hasn’t

It has 

I’m standing next to it right now 

It’s a greenhouse with a dome” she says, I’m looking at the glass conservatory and its startling lack of dome

“Yep that’s the one”

I don’t think the clinic has been occupied for some years. The white paint has a veneer of dirt and in the dark it looks more like a place where a retired victorian archaeologist would fight the one of the Old Ones from Beyond rather than a place where they shoot medical lasers into willing patients eyes. Both, on reflection, are horrifying.


It takes a while and two more nose emptying for dad to turn up and me and my dad sit in comfortable silence, I don’t feel bad he’s driven out. In fact, he owes me. 


About 10 years ago the same thing happened to my Dad. Mom wasnt home, and dad calls me over to the kitchen sink

“I’ve got a nosebleed and it wont stop” I tell him to pinch it and stay over the sink because mom would be mad if he got blood anywhere. About an hour later I conceed we might have to go to hospital. The taxi driver advises that dad should lie on his black, I tell the taxi driver that I don’t want my dad to drown in his own blood so he doesn’t do that. I remember having to move hospitals and watching as the ambulance drivers dropped the trolley that my dad was strapped to, more accurately I remember the look on his face when he realises he couldn’t bring his hands up to protect his face from the ground. And I remember my dad going white a while later and passing out with his eyes open, me screaming for help because it looked like the worst thing had happened.


Back home I force myself to eat a sandwich, the only thing I’ve eaten today, and after an hour of pinching, a lot of bloody tissue, and several cups of tea, it stops bleeding. Half an hour later I stretch, and I feel something dislodge, a slimy mass slides down the back of my throat like a bad oyster. And sure enough the nose started bleeding again. By this time, my girlfriend has finished work. I explain over text what’s gone on and I receive one text back


“Pack some stuff, you’re going to hospital”


Lucy isn’t allowed in so I’m in the waiting room alone, my face mask is holding the tissue to my nose. Every so often when I feel the tissue can’t soak any more I change the tissue, trouble is blood is going everywhere, there’s drops on the floor, my jumper, and my mask is now saturated, I have a carrier bag with my bloody tissues in.


Later I’m seen by a triage doctor, a tall blond guy with a high ponytail takes me to a cubicle behind the buzzing door I’ve been staring at for three hours. At this point I’m a little giddy, and giggly. He slumps in his chair and taps my details into a computer and occasionally takes long pulls from a can of off brand energy drinks that sits on the desk. He takes a cursory look and goes to get another doctor. This man is terse and handles me bruskly.


“Were you picking your nose?” he asks

“No I was in the middle of the high street in town”

“Do you do drugs?”

“Not really anymore” I say

“When did you last do drugs?” he asks

“It’s been years”

“What did you take?”

“What have you got?” I say, he looks even more annoyed “I used to take lots of different things but seriously it’s been years”.

“Any other symptoms?” he asks

“I can smell blood,” I say.


The brusk doctor walks out and starts bringing in packs and vials into the room. The younger doctor asks if I’m okay. I tell him I’m feeling really dizzy and silly.

“I’m not surprised” he says “you’ve lost a lot of blood”

“I’ve not lost it” I tell him and point to my bag of tissues “it’s in that bag.” he laughs “can I ask what’s going on? Someones supposed to tell me right?” young doctor looks awkward

“Yeah” he says, brusk doctor is back and takes over.

“We can’t find the bleed so I’m going to pack the nose, and refer you to the Ear Nose And Throat department. We also need to take some blood to check your hemoglobin levels.”

“You need to check if I have enough blood in my blood?”

“Sort of yes”

“Can you take it from the bag?” I ask

“We need it from your arm I’m afraid” says the younger doctor seeing the other doctor bristle.

“Okay, but I need to tell you that I’m very afraid of needles” I tell him, the brusk doctor looks at me with something just shy of contempt.

“Everybody is scared of needles,” he says. I’m confused.

“Sorry, it’s just that i’m feeling a bit faint and I have passed out before because of needles. I thought that would be something you’d want to know beforehand”.


After its all finished the younger doctor says, 

“I’ll get you some wipes so you can clean up your face”

“Is there blood on it?” i ask

“A bit” he say, I can see he means “loads”

“Does it look metal as fuck?” The young doctor doesn’t say anything, just makes the devil horns with his fingers and nods.


This time I only have to wait ten minutes or so, the packing in my nose hasn’t stopped the bleeding so every so often a golf ball sized mass of clotted blood slips into my mouth and I have to run to the bathroom to spit it out, the phrase “blood in my blood” has been spinning around my head constantly bloodinmybloodbloodinmybloodinmybloodinmyblood. The ENT doctor is tiny and calm, she tells me that the blood test came back and my levels are surprisingly high.

“So I have enough blood in my blood?” I ask, and giggle a little.

“Yes actually” she says

“Hang on, does that mean I might have had extra blood in my blood to begin with?” I ask, she looks concerned

“Are you okay?”

“A bit lightheaded”

She manages to find the bleed and tells me that if she can cauterize it then I can go home if not I’d have to be admitted. 

“Does that hurt?” I ask 

“Oh yes” she says “that’s why we use this spray, which will numb it all”

“Can you extra please? I have a bit of a tolerance”

“Too what” she asks

“Pretty much everything”

She squirts stuff deep in my sinuses, and I know as soon as I taste it.

“Ooooo lidocaine” I say

“How do you know that?”

“They used it when I did my tongue piercing”.


I was out by half two in the morning. Bone tired and grateful for the NHS and good people in general. The nurses, the doctors, and the people all day that showed tiny unnecessary acts of love to a stranger. While I was waiting in the waiting room a second time on one of the trips to spit out the scab slugs, I glanced at myself in the mirror. Blood was everywhere, my nose was swollen and I looked like a homeless person that had been in a fight with a knife golem. Sitting down I started wiping myself with the little tissue that I had. A woman from across the room, here with her sick son, got up to the bathroom and bought me some wet tissue. She didn’t have to do that, and especially in that gray broken room, that moment of kindness meant more than everything.


4 thoughts on “There Will Be Blood (In My Blood)

  1. Glad you’re on the mend. Thank again for visiting me when I was in A&E. Hospitals are lonely places. xx

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