Redux | I want to pick my nose and other true stories from my Bipolar life.

So. I had three procedures performed on my nose in an operating room on December 30. The approval letter from my ever-reliable insurance company arrived this week, Wednesday. It said I was approved for “a procedure in my nose.” Very specific, don’t you think? Just get to the point. Approved.

It has been inferred that since my name is Robin and I have a deceptively long, narrow, and pointy nose that I must have had a nose job to make it look like a nose that isn’t such a beak.

Thanks. That’s not why I’ve had surgical instruments stick up my nose. 

I’ve always smelled things first and more potently than anyone I know. I can smell fires and melting plastic before anyone has a notion that something might be wrong.

In opposition to this oversensitive olfactory ability, when pollen follows my intake of oxygen, limited though it has always been, over my chicken like lips and on up into my greatest physical ability, and I start sneezing.

Sneezing. My mom tried all through my formative years. At our greatly modified Christmas dinner this year with the four of us when I ate like a starving bank robber around my black ski mask, she urged me to sneeze like a girl. That’s what it was called when I was young. “Can’t you sneeze more quietly? Like a girl?” Of course, this holiday she’d skip the socially inappropriate, “like a girl,” and shoot straight to telling me, ” Robin! Can’t you do that more quietly?” No mom, the nose… I can’t. I’m just loud.

I have Bipolar Disorder and I can’t breathe. Man, what a horrible combination. Just to continue my silent yet fervent life long quest to breathe and sneeze like a “not girl,” I have learned what may contribute to my difficulty practicing controlled yet relaxed breathing, maybe being sabotaged from the get-go by my lack of the good stuff. You know it. You use it too. Oxygen.

Apparently, breathing in through my nose, holding it, then breathing slowly out through my mouth first requires me to draw in something more than pollen and things that are burning.

Did you know that if my brain has access to unlimited oxygen it will (hopefully) better deal with itself? Meaning, that my brain meds will probably welcome the assist that oxygen will provide. That’s the learned consensus anyway and I am unanimous in that.

Naturally, the rest of me wants to help out with this breathing idea and generously and impulsively tossed in asthma via “Twitchy Lungs,” and I must not forget to mention the delightful Sleep Apnea piece of the party.

Yeah! I whistle as I struggle to draw in that oxygen stuff I’ve been referring to through my chicken-like, thin, and collapsible nose holes, while my tongue clogs my throat and I stop breathing. Oh goodie.

I’ve demonstrated to my doctors over the years this flashy trick I can do with my nose. I draw in a quick snout full of oxygen and the holes slam shut and nothing gets in or out.

Bummer. Great for swimming underwater, not for breathing actual air. 

I’ve had one or two “big brain” moments in my 57 (soon to be 58) years. I’m particularly proud to show off my solution to the “keep the water out” ability I have. You see if I could just find the perfect size straws I could fashion them into reverse nose plugs by sticking them up my nose holes to hold them open. 

Not one doctor listened to my complaining and my surely novel solution. Surely I was messing around. After all, I’m kind of expected to act (think as well) just the least bit bonkers so I was kidding, right?

No, not kidding.

Slowly racing to December 2020 because still, no air, I meet an ENT doctor who, after watching me pull my nose holes open from behind her mask confidentiality and yet without any fanfare nor pomp and circumstance that she could “fix” that easily. No problem. She paid attention and “got it.” That is, she said she could move things around and easily fix them. Again, no problem. I like her.  

Just like that, I was scheduled for nostril surgery to correct the deviation, move some stuff around, and then prop the little holes open so that the much sought after oxygen could wind it’s way to my little grey cells. 

Yeah. I have stitches, some pain, and the faith I’ll have human nose holes instead of chicken slits very soon. Oxygen I’m coming for you!

I’m in a beautiful manic/depressed/agitated/anxiety phase now. I know, seems about normal for me. This is true, but my brain is carrying on like a “stuck pig,” as someone in the family used to say. It fits pretty well. I think some oxygen might be useful about now.

Let’s see, asthma is apparently under control until the next “twitch.” My nose has been enlarged on the inside and the doors propped open. What could possibly go wrong?

Sleep apnea. Twice in the last week, I’ve woken up in a panic, gasping for air. That’s how it works, yeah? The brain gets distracted by… whatever and forgets to do its job and move the “structures” in the back of my throat so I can breathe. About 20 times an hour. Two sleep tests and keeping in line with my “no oxygen” theme… 

Well, you know how people trying to calm me down urge me to take a breath (Robin you’re holding your breath. Breathe!)… Yeah, doesn’t happen.

I’m telling myself that this is too much information, the story is out of control, but it isn’t, not in the real world. This breathing stuff is part of every moment of my life and it reaches every single hit and tittle of my being. Bipolar Disorder does as well. Can it be corrected? That’s another thing about me that gets tricky and isn’t the focus of this story. Yes, it does have a focus. 

I’m struggling. My brain needs a break and let’s face it, oxygen would help. My thoughts, moods, and emotions are busily doing the River Dance on me and on those around me. That last bit. That makes me sick. Hurting those I care about is a very hard thing for me. 

Sometimes an assist comes from bizarre and unexpected places. For me, this first month of 2021, aid has come via nose holes (without the straws). Nose HOLES. No more chicken beak! Have you ever studied a chicken’s beak? Next time look for those nose holes. I think you’ll agree that chicken beak nose holes just are not enough for me. Nope. Need bigger holes.

I sneeze loud. I talk loud. I even whisper aloud. I wonder if my Tarzan yell will be louder? Ooohhh, now that’s something to look forward to trying. 

And my brain having a Bipolar spike… I think it might just enjoy better nose holes too.

These nose holes are my unexpected aid in managing my illness. I’d like to know if you have nose holes that have the potential to help your brain out too. Can’t think of anything at the moment? That’s okay. You might recognize something any time now. 

Be patient. 

I wonder if Bailey could be trained to wake me up when I stop breathing…. Maybe. Oh, that’s not one of my kids. She’s my fantastic dog! 

Nose holes and chicken lips. Ew…