Sniffer Askew


I broke my nose on Monday. I got hit in the face playing basketball but didn't know it was broken until I glanced in the mirror after the game. It didn't look the way I did before. My nose had a dent in it and the bridge was off center. Here are some reflections on the past week.

Obsessing about my personal appearance: The funny thing is nobody noticed my nose was dented and crooked unless I mentioned it.

I went to a church meeting on the same night of the injury and my parents were there. At one point, my dad looked straight at me for a couple seconds. I thought he could tell but when I asked him about it couple days later, he said he had no idea until I told him.

Another lady I told said she noticed earlier but didn't want to say anything. She probably figured my nose had always been crooked. Either people don't play close attention to me or I'm uglier than I thought. Or both.

Update: I found out that from the Monday meeting, my mom did notice my nose was crooked but since I was acting normally and didn't seem to be in any pain, she thought it was normal and then began checking everyone else's noses.

It is amazing how obsessive I can be about my own appearance. I keep wondering if my nose will be permanently crooked. The wonder of it is that 99% of people don't even notice or care. The 99% includes everyone who is important to me. The 1% includes people I don't care about and who will never care about. And yet it bothers me there is a 1%. That reeks of narcissism.

Changing health care dynamics: When I called Kaiser to tell them about my injury, the service person asked me a series of questions - trouble breathing? bleeding? I answered "no" to both. He told me my appointment would be in three hours. I wasn't happy with the time so he told me they have new rules and if I told him I was bleeding, I could be seen almost immediately. He asked me again if I was bleeding and I say yes, now, there's a faint trickle of blood. My appointment was moved two hours sooner.

After reading Atul Gawande's piece in the New Yorker about big healthcare, I totally get this. They're trying to manage their resources as efficiently as possible and not give out more expensive than necessary. But it seems there are limitations in making this possible. In this case, I wonder if the difference in cost and care is negligible.

Other people's noses: I have become extremely observant of other people's noses. There are details I never saw before. The bridge of most people's noses run straight down the center. But some people have a crooked line, like I now do. We Asians, tend to have wide and flat noses whether large or small. There is no sharpness or angularity. My Indian/German friend has a pointy, narrow that doesn't flare out at all. Some have a high bridge.

Another thing about this injury is I have stopped picking my nose. My wife said she was happy with my altered looks as payment to end to my proboscis probing.

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