The bleeding started with a microscopic razor cut on my chin. A tiny spot which started a trickle down onto my shirt and into the basin. It wasn’t gushing or pulsating or in any way projectile – just steady. Tissues didn’t stop it; steady pressure didn’t stop it; a cold compress didn’t stop it.
After an hour of this ever increasingly frustrating blood trickle, I dropped by the chemists and they supplied me with an aluminium sulphate stick which I applied zealously, eventually coating the whole of my face with a thin white powder as it dried. But the bleeding didn’t stop.
After 3 hours, 4 bloodied shirts and 5 entire boxes of Kleenex, I set off for the doctors, clutching a bath towel to my face. Still no pain at all – just the constant sensation of blood trickling down my chin and into my mouth.
By now I’m thinking, I must have lost a pint of blood at least. Am I feeling faint? No. Sick? No. What’s going on? No idea. No history of late onset haemophilia as far as I know. Perhaps my blood pressure is too high? Maybe. The doctor will tell me. When I see him. Which could be some time as the waiting room is full to bursting with people of all shapes and sizes and all sorts of ailments.
I’m still bleeding profusely as I strike up a conversation with a young woman whose nose has been running for over two weeks. She’s really aggravated by it but can’t identify why it’s happening. We’re joined by a young lad who has a blister which won’t stop seeping either. We joke about being extras in a zombie movie which lightens the mood but doesn’t stop the collective leakages.
We all take our turn to see the doctor who dispenses various prescriptions and as things are wont to do, we agree to meet up in a pub a few weeks later to see how we have got on.
Later that month, we three sufferers of unexplained bodily leakage meet up to swop notes on the state of play of medical appliances which prevent unsightly leakage from all bodily orifices.
The prognoses for our conditions are not encouraging. No-one as yet has yet found a way preventing acute bodily fluid seepage. If however you bleed chronically, there will be something there to help you, whether this be help groups, web sites or television programmes. If it’s really chronic, you might even be able to get into A and E at your local hospital.
But acute leakers beware: we have a long time to wait before our condition is treated with the respect it deserves. We risk becoming figures of fun in the meantime but one day our prayers for a cure for acute bodily disintegration will be answered and we will be able to hold our bloodied chins, mucous noses and weeping blisters up high.