Everyday of my life I have the opportunity to be amazed at this wonderful machine we call the human body. I have been fascinated by it from my early childhood. One of my mother’s favorite stories is from my preschool years. As my brain was churning on the amazing structure of the nose I could not wrap my brain around its purpose and what would happen if it was injured – say you got punched in the nose – sure, it would hurt, I got that but what would happen inside? I was convinced that it was too small for blood vessels and a punch was not a cut so it wouldn’t bleed. Would it turn purple like a bruise? Would it swell like an ankle?
I decided direct experimentation was the only route. Knowing that my older sister would not let me try it on her, and besides I couldn’t wait long enough for her to get home from school, I decided that self experimentation was the only way. Having chosen the best time to catch her when she was not really paying attention I yelled to my obviously busy mother in the other room “Mom! Can I punch myself in the nose to see what happens?” “Uh-hu, whatever dear,” came the brush-off reply. To this day I am impressed by the power I was able generate against my own better judgment and sense of self preservation. It was a hell of a punch. I think that was the first of my many broken noses but the experiment was a success!
Blood poured from both nostrils and my nose was deep purple and swollen to the point that it looked more like a plum stuck on my face. Yes, swollen like an ankle, purple like a bruise and bleeding like a cut – I have spent the next 38 years of my life understanding the physical processes that I discovered that day and I feel as if I have only scratched the surface. My curiosity is just as insatiable, discoveries just as rewarding and my appreciation for this body and the life it gives us grows more with each passing day.