Have you ever had a nosebleed?
My son used to have them, and I remember how terrified he was when he was very young (hell, I wasn't all that calm inside, either). I don't remember having nosebleeds when I was a kid, but I get them from time to time now, mainly when the humidity is very low.
So last night, after a dinner of Hot Lips Pizza (our current local favorite) and salad, we were watching Lewis Black's latest HBO special, when I realized that my nose was bleeding.
Usually, I get a nosebleed and it stops within a minute or so.
This one was different. I couldn't stop the damned bleeding, and I was reminded that my dad used to get nosebleeds, caused by high blood pressure. Once, a doctor told him if he hadn't had the nosebleed, he would have had a stroke. (Eventually, he did have strokes, a lot of small ones, and he ended up in a nursing home, unable to communicate -- a prisoner in his body. May I say now that I am TERRIFIED of ending up like that?)
I don't have high blood pressure. When I was younger (and thinner!), my blood pressure was usually something like 90/70. Even now, when I'm at the doctor's office, it's something like 125/70. But I gotta tell ya: in my mind, a nosebleed is never 'just a nosebleed'. It's a reminder of just how fragile and vulnerable I am -- we all are -- and how possible it is for my life to be turned upside-down (uh, like with Multiple Sclerosis, for example) overnight.
Anyway, David found the chapter on nosebleeds in our Mayo Clinic reference guide, and I managed to stop it quickly when I figured out what to do, but ... the spectre of my dad and his situation has remained with me.