How did I get here?
20 years ago my brother and I, as siblings do, were having a fight. This time, however, it was one of those BIG fights. I can’t remember what the fight was about, but, the last 15 minutes of the fight has been burnt into my brain like it was yesterday…I chased him out the front door of the house and a further 200m down the road, yelling at him, calling him ugly names and a “big girl” for being scared of his younger brother, me. I was slightly bigger than him at the time, not by much, but when you’re 12 years old a centimeter or two taller is enough. So I sat on the front porch and waited what felt like a lifetime. Thoughts went through my head about the possibility of him ending up at a friend’s house and staying the night, leaving my very dramatic “sit and wait” scenario with no audience to enjoy it. About 15 minutes later he returned, saying only “Let’s finish this.” It was like a movie. It was awesome. We tussled. Arms flung, legs danced like amateur boxers, we were really giving it our all. At that time, and I only realise it after that fact, we were fighting for position. Position of strength (we are 2nd and 3rd kids in a family of 4 kids so, essentially, both “middle children”) and power of what goes on in our daily lives. Being the middle kids, and both boys, meant we shared a bedroom right up until our eldest brother fled the nest and there was a room available. So this was a fight that mattered. I was at the point where I felt I had him beat. My brother was hunched over while I gripped his neck from behind and was kneeing him in the chest repeatedly, making sure each blow connected perfectly. “This is it!” I thought. Just then he scrambled free, facing away from me. What I expected to be a “Let’s call it quits, you win” was replaced by his right arm swinging a full 180 degrees blindly towards me. He’d connected. The blow to my face didn’t register at first. I was so confused! One second I was winning, the next he was standing in front of me with eyes wide open. There’s something terrifying about the feeling of warm blood leaving your body. I put my clean hands under my nose, and as I pulled back they were replaced by blood-stained paws filled with my own blood. I howled. Seconds later our dad came out, realised what happened, and gave my brother a few knuckle-punches in the chest, repeating “It’s not nice is it?” with my brother repeatedly apologising. Through the pain, that made me laugh inside. We were both hurting in our own little way. An hour later my brother and I were at the local Spar buying a six-pack of beer shandy, and sharing it in our room toasting my first broken nose, as only boys can. The nose healed (with a bit of a bump as a battle scar) but life itself carried on. Fast-forward 18 or so years, and the damaged nose had finally taken its toll. The odd shape of the nose (internally specifically) had caused my septum to grow in a bizarre fashion, ultimately causing me hearing problems from the internal inflammation and having a deviated septum that was “one of the worst” my doctor had ever seen. Then this Friday, the 13th of April, my ENT and his team worked hard. Harder than they had expected, actually. When he discharged me he said that “it was worse than we thought, a bit of a mess in there, actually” which had them working on the internal workings of my nose for almost 2 whole hours.
There’s no real lesson here. My parents could have taken me to see the doctor afterwards, but it healed ok, I could breathe, everyone was friends, things were good in the world. The one thing to consider though is this: When it comes to matters of the face, always be cautious. If your kids want to fight, let them, but teach them to never hit in the face. It could be their sibling, or another kid at school, but I can promise you this, no-one will willingly go through a 2 hour septoplasty unless it’s the only choice they have left. The recovery is brutal. Necessary, but brutal.Spitting blood 20 years after a punch in the face is no way to spend a weekend.