Going Under the Knife

In Elementary school I got into a fight with another kid. The circumstances arose from some pointless squabble we had and for whatever reason we decided we should fight the next day during recess. By nature I’m not much of a fighter, but due to our disagreement, and because the rest of the school knew about it, I suppose I felt obligated to go through with it. This would be my first fist-fight but I wasn’t too worried. He was smaller and I knew I could take him.

Of course, as fate would have it, he gets into trouble the day of the fight and has to stay inside during recess. So he calls in a ringer: a friend of his who was easily the same build as I was and now I felt my confidence waining. I had no beef with Ben, but the fight was set and it was too late for me to back out.

So we headed to the empty paddock beyond the border of our playground, the one away from the school and behind the trees, which helped hide our activity from the teachers. Kids lined the fence and Ben and I began the show. I didn’t know what to do, again I really had no reason to fight Ben. We circled each other while the kids taunted us. Recalling it now it feels fresh but ultimately surreal. I didn’t feel the need to throw the first punch. In hindsight maybe I should’ve.

I can still picture it. His face grimaced. His right fist clenched. The feeling of it slamming into my face as he nailed me with a right hook. A friend of mine told me I looked like William Dafoe in Platoon when he goes down after being shot (thanks, friend). I remember blood, but I don’t remember the pain. I remember being angry. I remember getting him on the ground and “punching” him but not with much ferocity because I still couldn’t bring myself to truly fight him, for the strangest reason, even though I had blood pouring down my face. It’s a memory that is still with me and I have so many questions I’d like to ask my 5th grade self. But the short of it is, he won and my nose was broken.

I remember going to the school bathroom to clean up. I remember deciding not to tell my parents. That’s the last thing I remember. The only physical reminder is a broken nose that I’ve had ever since.

In December of last year I decided to see an ENT about having it fixed. That spiraled into me meeting with a reconstructive plastic surgeon. This Monday I have my surgery to have it all corrected. He’s repairing a deviated septum and re-centering my crooked nose. The procedure will take roughly 3.5 hours. It’s all feeling very real to me now.

This is my first surgery. I know I shouldn’t, but all I can think about is what my face must look like during those 3.5 hours. I don’t dig slasher flicks. The whole thing has me feeling a bit squeamish. But it’s the benefits of what I aim to gain on the other side of the knife that get me excited. Maybe, for the first time in what seems like forever, I can finally sleep through the night comfortably breathing through my nose. Maybe allergy season won’t be so brutal. Maybe my asthma won’t flair up as much while exercising. If only one of these three things comes true I’ll dub the whole ordeal a success. Realistically I should see improvements across the board.

So here’s to anesthesia, nasal splints, sleeping elevated for a week, bruises and a slew of meds! Maybe I’ll use some of my recovery time and re-watch Platoon.