Growing up, I always had a bump on my nose. It wasn't a big deal -- no one pointed or laughed or shot me any horrified looks over it or anything. It just bugged me sometimes, like when I saw my profile pictures or spent a few hours before bed staring at it with a handheld mirror under all possible lighting conditions.
As high school progressed, I traded in my nose fetish for more important fixations, like single-handedly discovering the best big-hair products and cleavage-enhancing bras.
Fast forward a few years to my sophomore year of college. I was 19. I finally had awesome hair and pretty decent cleavage, sans push-up bra. And those old nose worries? Ancient history! I mean, who cares about a little ol' nose bump when I’ve got a C-cup, right? But then one stupid night, we were all goofing around in the dorm and suddenly... *snap!* My nose connected with someone's forearm! Oh, the agony! I was on my knees in an instant, holding my hands over my face, tears flowing, no sound coming out of my shocked-open mouth.
There was a lot of blood. Stars. Piercing pain. And then a reallysuperfast ride to the local hospital, where I spent approximately 8 hours waiting for an intern to tell me that my nose wasn't technically broken, just super swollen. He said I should go back to campus and ice it up for 20 minutes every hour for the next few days. Um, okay. It hurt *really* bad, but this guy was finishing *medical* school whereas I could barely pass my world history class. I shut up. I nodded solemnly. I headed back to my dorm, ice pack pressed to my aching schnozz, tears still fresh in my eyes. Yep. Roomies, let the pity party commence!
Ten days later, I received a call from a nurse at the hospital who was looking over my files…
Warning. This story is about to get *really* ugly. If you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip this whole paragraph. And the next one. Okay? Ready? Turns out the intern misread my X-rays. My nose was in fact broken. And after ten days of icing, the bone had started healing wrong, forming an even bigger bump than the one I’d all but forgotten years earlier. I cried, insisting that I didn’t care, telling a new doctor that I would rather live with a lumpy, bumpy, ginormously crooked nose than deal with any more medical stuff. And this doctor, this sage, gentle, 30-something-year-old doctor, rested his warm hands on my shoulders, met my teary gaze, and spoke softly when he said, “Sarah Ockler, you are the worst patient I’ve ever had. I’ve treated eight-year-olds with more maturity than you. Your nose is broken. The bone isn’t healing properly. And the only way we can help you is to break it again and reset it. There are no other options.”
Between Doctor Tough Love and my mother, I ultimately lost the battle and submitted to the re-breaking, which involved 2 large men holding me down as the doctor jammed a giant needle between my eyes and pressed hard on my nose until the bone snapped while I tried to windmill-punch them all in the nuts, as hard as I could. I mean, I had to do my part in preventing these freaky white-gowned sadomasochists from ever having kids! Ugh!
After the re-breaking ceremony, I swear I cried for like a month straight. My face hurt so bad! Even worse – I had to go around campus with giant, cross-wise bandages over my nose like a washed-up hockey player or boxing drop-out or some other equally unattractive oaf! I tried, but girls? All the great hair and cleavage in the world couldn’t hide those big brown bandages!
Anyway. After enduring two months of excruciating pain and embarrassment, I finally had a straight nose. Despite my earlier insubordination, the break healed perfectly, and the original bump – the one I’d mostly forgotten about in the first place – was totally gone. Yay!
Fifteen years later, I’m slightly less obsessive about my hair, my cleavage, and my nose. But I’ll always be grateful that Doctor Tough Love refused to indulge my worse-than-an-eight-year-old temper tantrum, enduring my rolling eyes and violent threats and failed attempts to sterilize him, all in the name of fixing my broken nose.
And thanks, Sydney, for hosting my guest nose!
About Twenty Boy Summer
While on vacation in California, sixteen-year-old best girlfriends Anna and Frankie conspire to find a boy for Anna’s first summer romance, but Anna harbors a painful secret that threatens their lighthearted plan and their friendship.
TWENTY BOY SUMMER is a debut YA novel that explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer. Buy the book at Indiebound here or at Barnes & Noble.
About Sarah Ockler
Sarah Ockler wrote and illustrated her first book at age six—an adaptation of Steven Spielberg's E.T. Still recovering from her own adolescence, Sarah now writes for young adults. After several years of wandering between New York City and Denver, she and her husband Alex now live in Upstate New York with lots of books and an ever-expanding collection of sea glass. Twenty Boy Summer is Sarah's first novel. Visit her online at www.sarahockler.com.