This face. I have loved seeing this face for 22 years. Doesn’t hurt that the man that inhabits the face is the love of my life either.
Carissa, my daughter, knew Joe long before I did. She and Loreli were best friends in school for several years and spent a lot of time together at Loreli’s house. When it came time for me to finally meet Joe I was cautioned, by Carissa, to not stare at his nose. It would be impolite to do so, I was told.
Sometime in 1988 or 1989 Joe had a woman friend he was getting pretty serious about. He had developed strong feelings for her, his children enjoyed spending time with her, and it seemed they were destined to be a family. That is until he received a “Dear John” letter from her one day listing the things she felt he needed to change about himself in order for her to make the next steps in their relationship. The biggest thing was the tag on his nose. She felt that it had to be removed before she would fully commit to him. Well…..you can guess what happened after that. Joe and I married in 1990. I took him with his nose tag and all.
The thing about that constant “booger” was after a while it vanished. It was part of Joe. It was there when I met him and it was there long after we married. Over the years of our marriage he has asked me numerous times if I thought he needed to have it removed. My only comment was “Does it hurt?” If it didn’t hurt him then I didn’t see any reason for him to remove it.
In February of this year the tag began bleeding. Joe was using a CPAP machine, which was one of the things stolen from our pickup in July. The piece that went in his nostrils to supply air while he slept aggravated the tag and caused a tear which resulted in the bleeding. Not much but just enough that it became a concern.
Joe has often stated he has a pair of snips, he calls them Dykes, that cut wires and other small things very close to whatever they are joined to. He has threatened to take the dykes to it and finally get rid of the tag himself. I’ve suggested he go to a doctor and have it done. If there would be a problem it could be handled by a doctor right there and not with a frenzied rush to the hospital emergency room.
In May Joe finally made the decision to have the tag removed in a doctor’s office. The whole procedure took less than 30 minutes to accomplish. For him, the most painful part was the anesthetic applied to the area at the tip of his nose and into the tag by an injection.
While Joe was prone for this procedure the trepidation he was feeling had a strange effect on his brain. He conjured up a whopper of a story he was going to tell all of our kids. This story was full of excitement, danger, and adrenaline.
Sitting at his computer desk in his office, Joe got so fed up with the tag he decided to take matters into his own hands. He opened doors and pulled out drawers until he found his trusty pair of dykes. Taking the tag and pulling it downward slightly he angled the dykes at the base of his nose and snipped the tag off.
While I was in another room of the house I heard a loud yelp and a frenzied cry for help. When I entered his office there was blood everywhere. Running down his arms, pooling on his desktop. He couldn’t get the blood to stop running. Lying in the growing pool of blood was the fleshy tag from his nose and his well worn and stained pair of dykes. To my horror he had just used unsterilized snips to remove the skin tag and now he was going to have a major infection. Holy Cow!
Not knowing what else to do I called for an ambulance. Seven minutes after the call they arrived. I hurried them through the house and into Joe’s office where they found him still bleeding and holding his nose. The EMT’s placed a wad of gauze at his nose and had him hold it while they got him out of his office and out the door to an awaiting stretcher then into the ambulance. I followed behind in my car.
Arriving at the local hospital the emergency room doctors and nurses did everything they could to stop the bleeding. Finding that things were going from bad to worse they had him Life Flighted out to the OU (Oklahoma University) hospital where he was worked on there. The bleeding would not stop. The doctors were growing concerned at the huge blood loss and their inability to stop it. Out near the helipad sat a Cessna Citation Med-Evac airplane that was out of Dallas. The doctors prepped Joe for his flight to Dallas and the hospital there to deal with this major trauma.
I was given strict instructions, by Joe, to support him in this story and lend details of my own. I was also not allowed to post the actual doctor visit on my blog until he had seen each of our kids. One thing about me…..I can’t tell a lie very well. When I think I can my face gives me away. So much that it is like a neon sign is attached to my forehead and flashes LIAR off and on. So I chose to keep my face hidden during the telling of this story by Joe to our children.
Loreli, our ICU Trauma Nurse, listened intently to Joe’s telling of his ordeal. She interjected concerned comments about his use of the unclean dykes and possible infection. She became alarmed to learn the local hospital couldn’t help him then was relieved to know he had been flown to the OU Medical Center for treatment. (Our local hospital is about a mile away from our house. OU Med Center is about three miles from our house and Life Flight is not an option) When Joe began telling her OU couldn’t fix him and he started telling about the Cessna Citation our Loreli…..our sweet Loreli….said “Bull Sh*t.
Our Loreli then told Joe that OU has a top team of vascular surgeons on staff and their trauma team is one of the best in the country – next only to her trauma team at Denver General!
All the rest of our kids, not being medically trained, squirmed in their seats and became horrified as Joe’s story progressed to Dallas. I had to sit through the telling of this story while it was told to Tiffany in Denver, Carissa and Heidi Jo in Phoenix, Joseph in Greeley, Curtis and Brenda in Salina, Kansas.
The reaction of our kids after the story ended and the truth was told was a mixed bag of tricks. There were some that wanted to swat at Joe while others were disappointed that he had strung them along and lied to them. I was just glad it was finally over!!
After the real procedure in the doctor’s office, which took a total of 30 minutes and very little bleeding, I asked Joe how he felt. Having had that tag on his nose for 40 years and being used to it, now that it was finally gone did he have any regrets?
Joe’s reaction was “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” He tells me that it is easier for him to blow his nose now without the tag getting in the way. He likes the way he looks without the tag hanging out and looking like a booger hanging out of his nose all the time.
I had my concerns after the procedure. We were getting back to work and would be out in open fields, blowing dirt and dust, handling greasy equipment, and sweating. Joe would be rubbing his nose with dirty gloves and my fear was his getting an infection in this wound.
My precautions were to put a round bandaid over the wound while we were working until a good solid scab covered the area. Frequent use of Bactine to cleanse the wound was what I did to torture him and make sure he was not going to have any problems.
As to the kids. Joseph and Heidi Jo were the only two that noticed immediately the tag was gone and commented about it – which then resulted in the telling of the tale. The rest of the kids had to be asked “Do you see anything different about me?” After a minute of silence and close scrutiny of Joe the answer was “No, what is it?” Much to Joe’s chagrin 😦
If you were to meet, or see Joe today, you would not even know he used to have the tag on his nose.
It is my personal philosophy that the outer part of a person is not as important as the inner part of the person. As a child I was told by my mother “Pretty is as pretty does” and another of her quotes was “Beauty is only skin deep, where ugly goes clear to the bone”.
22 years this face is the first thing I see when I awake and the last thing I see before I go to sleep. The man behind the face is funny, sweet, kind, and totally in touch with the concept of love. He can be obtuse at times. He has no fear of authority figures and will go toe to toe with them. Joe has the confidence to be who his is – tag on his nose or not.
Taking the advice of Carissa all those years ago to not stare at Joe’s nose was good advice. I could see past the tag and into the man who is the love of my life.