I was making fairly good time during my run this morning. It wasn't 6 a.m. yet and I had finished half of my five mile run. I turned onto a dark side street and wondered whether the headlamp I was wearing over my hat really helped me see the road better.
But I didn't have time to ponder it for long because my foot landed in a pothole, my ankle turned and the momentum propelled my body forward to a landing with a crunch, on my nose.
I heard the bones crack.
My nose? Who lands on their nose?
I didn't stay on the ground for a second because I could feel the blood gushing. My nose grew thick with blood and mucous, and I coughed to catch a breath. I picked up the fallen hat and headlamp, but stayed bent over at the waist so the blood would not pour down my front. I let the thick, red drops pool on the asphalt as I reached for my phone.
I carry my phone with me on runs because it has my music and it keeps track of my miles. Today, it offered me rescue.
About two miles from home and bleeding profusely, I dialed someone who I knew would have his phone close by no matter the time -- my 16-year-old Tucker.
"Hello?" his sleepy voice went up on the end in a question.
"I think I broke my nose. Can you come get me?" I said, my voice clogged as I tried to breath and talk at the same time.
"You broke your arm?" he asked.
"No, my nose."
I told him my general location then said I would go back to the closest main street so he could find me. I stood on the corner, still bent over dripping blood.
An early morning walker passed by.
"Did you lose something?" she asked in the darkness. I must have looked like a basketball player searching for a lost contact lens on the court.
I told her an abbreviated version of my accident and she handed me a tissue to wipe up some of the blood. That little tissue didn't stand a chance.
Then the woman walked on.
I kept glancing down at my hand, my knuckles. They felt sore, but I didn't see any blood where I had scraped them.
Within minutes, the knuckles had swollen to a walnut-sized bump.
"Oh..." was all I could say. I felt miserable but refused to give in to moaning in pain.
The bleeding subsided enough to allow me to sit down on the curb without coating my shirt in red.
I saw a car a block away slow at the intersection then creep forward. I swung the headlamp I held in my hand as a kind of signal light. My phone rang, and I told Tucker to turn toward the light, but not in a death and dying kind of way.
The car raced down the block then and I limped into it. My knee was skinned and bleeding too.
I climbed in the car and Tucker recoiled in shock.
He handed me towels. "Can you wipe that off?" he asked. I'm sure he meant to be concerned rather than disgusted.
I didn't realize at the time that I had scraped the skin off my nose, so bleeding from the outside and inside.
"I think I might have broken my hand too," I said motioning toward the swollen knuckles.
"Oh, God," he said. Right then, I ruled out any sort of medical career for him. He drove home like I was in labor and might give birth in the car.
My poor husband had just pulled the car in the garage 4 hours before, having driven home from New York. Still he pulled on clothes and accompanied me to the Ohio State emergency room, all the while predicting he would be accused of spousal abuse.
About a dozen xrays and five hours later, the doctor sent me home with some pain killers, antibiotics, a wrapped hand (just bruised not broken), and a referral to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor for follow up on my broken nose.
So I'm here at home now, with a black scrape of asphalt on my thumb reminding me of the tumble I took this morning and a pounding headache
What have I learned from this experience? Maybe not as much as I should have. I asked the doctor before we left, "So, I don't usually fall on my nose. How long until I can run again?"
"Give it at least today," he said with a pat on my arm. "Truthfully, it's all going to depend on when you can breath well enough to run again."