In the year 2000, about three months before I moved to New York, I was pushing one of those wheeled garbage bins up my driveway, a steep hill on the Hollywood mountain. The wheels gave way, and the sharp lip of the trash can caught me across the bridge of the nose so hard that I was almost knocked unconscious. Blood spurted out of my face about four feet in every direction, and my stoned roommates could barely get it together to drive me to the hospital. Once in the LA emergency room (God bless you if you’ve ever been in that circle of hell) they did X-rays and determined that my nose wasn’t broken, but my social life was pretty much over for the summer. Still bleeding, miserable, weak and in excruciating pain, I went back to my room that night and fucking cried.
That, fortunately, was my last humiliation in Los Angeles in that era, and I came to New York still self-conscious of the scar, which has now largely faded. It serves as a reminder of everything arbitrarily bad in a bad place with bad luck and bad times. But it wasn’t over.
Early this year, I started getting blinding headaches behind my eyes, and by March, I had to squirt Afrin into my brain just to breathe. An MRI showed that I was suffering from a deviated septum, something you usually get the fun way by playing football or snorting cocaine. I got it from Hollywood trash.
By the summer, I could only sleep on one side, and finally, today, I went in to see who New York Magazine called one of the Best Otolaryngologists in the City. Dr. Blitzer took more pictures of the inside of my sinus passages, and came up with this:
The black arrow shows a tiny ridge of cartilage that has been the source of all my misery. When I took the blow from the trashcan, the cartilage buckled and the air has been trying to get around it ever since. I’m scheduling surgery in November so that I can breathe again and finally be physically free of all reminders of those terrible times. I’ll be able to smell the snow of December.
Honestly, I don’t know how Early Man survived a blow to the face, I mean, it must have happened all the time.
Oh yeah, they only lived to be 27.