Another Interesting, But Unfruitful Procedure

I went for another “let’s see if this works” headache procedure yesterday. It’s called a Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block and it’s disgusting.

As I waited for the nurse to do her paperwork, I gazed at the only piece of artwork in the exam room.


Weird choice for an exam room. Wondered if all of the exam rooms contained senior stock photos.  I’m used to seeing pictures of egrets or sand dunes.

“Is that the doctor?” I asked the nurse, half joking.

“No,” said the nurse chuckling.

I imagine it must be some famous geriatric surfer. I don’t travel in surfing circles, but I’m sure he’s probably an important part of that community.

Doctor has me lay down on the exam table while he and I begin a dance called The Approach and Pull Away. Very popular dance in doctors’ offices, I suspect. He approaches my nose with the liquid, I turn my head. He approaches, I turn. Cha cha cha. I finally get ahold of myself and let him pour the bitter water DOWN MY NOSTRILS.

<gag, choke, cough sniff, almost barf>

Now the Q-tips.

“Close your eyes,” he said. In regular life, those words are usually followed by some awesome surprise. In medical life, it’s never good. He had obviously wised up since the liquid. He didn’t want me to see the gigantic size of the Q-tips he was about to shove DOWN MY NOSTRILS. I didn’t want to see them either, so I happily complied. He inserted one Q-tip into each of my nostrils and pushed them in until they touched the back of my throat. Yeah. Picture it. It’s as unpleasant as it sounds.

“Ok just lay there and I’ll be back in 15 minutes,” said the doctor.

“Ok but DON’T FORGET TO COME BACK!” I said nervously. Doc laughs. No, but for real, I thought, don’t forget!

So I laid on the table, Q-tips sticking out like walrus tusks. I stared at geriatric surfer. He was my only friend.

Doc came back, as promised, and removed the Q-tips. “See how your headache is tonight,” he said.

“Ok,” I humored him, too familiar with this drill. “I will.”

I felt dollar signs exploding from the top of my head as I left. Another bundle of money for another procedure. And today I still feel the same. Next!

Photo courtesy of Wikepedia



  1. You’re writing is beautiful!! I cringed. You have a spectacular talent for inviting the reader into the sensory experience. Absolutely beautiful work (although I’m sorry you had Q-Tips shoved in your nostrils. I’m sure it wasn’t beautiful at the time).

    Liked by 1 person

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