Hope after breaking your nose

I smashed my nose, but life is great. Things are going to be ok.


You just broke your nose and all you can think about, besides how the blood is getting everywhere, is goodbye to your beautiful sniffer. Joking aside, it can be traumatic to break your nose. Being right in the middle of your face, you are worried that everyone will notice it. I am writing to give you hope. Yes you can look normal, even great, after breaking your nose.

I broke my nose, twice. Once horrifically.

It was a rainy day in San Lorenzo California. We were playing on our driveway, which was very steep as we lived on a hill.

We lived on a hill so our driveway was super steep. If you lost your soccer ball, you could pick it up a mile down the road.

My neighbors had a huge hunting dog that they had rescued. It had been in a small cage for most of its life so it would go tearing around the street at top speed with reckless abandon whenever it went outside.

I was afraid of dogs, having been bitten twice in the last year (which is a whole different story). I would try to twist away from the dog as it would gallop by. Unfortunately this dog was not super bright, and it suddenly decided to run straight at me.

I’m the stick dude. The dog is the fox looking thing. My web comic will be out soon. 😄

I didn't really know what to do, so I twisted away, but that is like trying to ‘twist’ away from an NFL linebacker. The dog absolutely nailed me, barreling into my legs at full speed. I got thrown up in the air. Next thing I knew I was executing a perfectly out of control swan dive and I landed straight on my face.

That was the first and last time in my life I have seen stars. And it was bad. The impact had crushed my nose flat.

The emergency room doctors were nice, but the only thing to do was wait for it to heal. Luckily over the next few days my nose decided to come out and play again, and it looked semi normal. A bit crooked and off center a bit, but not too bad all things considered. My 11 year old dating life (and current dating life) was saved.

The second time I broke my nose was much better. Whenever we got back in town from college, some high school buddies and I would get together to play a little tackle football. Things were going great, until I got stiff armed by Eric G. right in the face. It was like he just punched me in the face with the palm of his hand. Broke my nose again instantly. However as luck would have it, when the swelling and bruising went down, we discovered Eric’s palm punch had actually moved my nose more into alignment with the center of my face. Thanks Eric!

I have a deviated septum. The septum is the thin part that runs down the middle of your nose, separating the two breathing channels. Deviated septum is just fancy doctor speak for ‘the inside of your nose is crooked’. This means that I can only breath out of one side of my nose sometimes. I don't even notice unless I am telling the story about breaking my nose. I will then plug one side and then the other to test if I can breath out of both. Most of the time I test, I am a one sided breather. But I don't notice it any other time. It doesn't affect my athletic performance, as far as I can tell. I have run a marathon, and a bunch of other races since breaking it, and I am pretty sure my nose is not the limiting factor.

I have considered surgery a few times, but never gone through with it. I smashed my nose, but that hasn't stopped me from sweeping princesses off their feet*, staring in movies*, or becoming a male model*. No one even notices my nose, and the story is a great ice breaker when someone asks me about myself.

*Birthday party, *YouTube movies, *I was a river guide, not a male model. The ‘hair product’ is a week of not showering.

What to do if you break your nose.

Depending on your symptoms, you may need immediate medical treatment, or you may be able to perform first aid at home and see a doctor later.

You should get prompt medical attention if you have the following symptoms:

  • Your nose is bleeding and will not stop.
  • You have clear fluid draining from your nose.
  • You are having difficulty breathing.
  • You suspect that you have a blood clot in your septum. This may feel like a small swelling on the side of your septum.
  • Your nose looks crooked or misshapen.

Not all broken noses require medical treatment. If your injuries are severe enough, your doctor may perform one of the following procedures:

  • packing your nose with gauze and/or placing a splint on your nose
  • prescribing pain medication and/or antibiotics
  • performing a closed reduction surgery, in which your doctor gives you a local anesthetic to numb your nose and manually realigns it
  • performing a rhinoplasty, a surgery to realign your nose
  • performing a septorhinoplasty, a surgery to repair your nasal septum

Closed reduction, rhinoplasty, and septorhinoplasty are not usually performed until three to 10 days after your injury, after swelling goes down. All medical info sourced from Healthline.

One thing to note is to not wait too long. If you nose starts to set, a closed reduction might not be possible and you might need a more complicated surgery.

Are you worried your nose will look like Owen Wilsons? Because the man is a movie star.

In the end, breaking your nose is not the end of the world. Even if you do break your nose horrifically and decide not to get surgery, you may end up like Owen Wilson.

So take your Ibuprofen, gently put on the ice pack and smile… things are going to be ok.

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