… that I went into hospital for the first operation that I had on my nose.
Those of you who have met me may be surprised to know that this proud proboscis is almost entirely natural. Over the years I have become immune to the total strangers who feel the need to point out that it isn’t straight and to utter comments like “Ooh, look at your nose, I bet you play rugby” or some other daft thing. And I’ve learned to resist the urge to say things like “Yes, I do, but I’ve never hurt my nose doing so. Now, if you ask me about this two inch scar around my eye…” or even “No, it was a headbutt – like this one”.
The fact is that some of my family have very distinctive Roman noses and I managed to combine mine with a deviated septum, creating a somewhat battered look. On 28th August 1979 I went into Warwick Hospital for an attempt to straighten the whole thing out.
To be honest, at the age of 11, I really didn’t have that much idea what was going on. I just knew that I was in hospital to have an operation on my nose, I didn’t really understand what was going to happen.
The thing that I still find slightly odd is that, at that age, I was on a mens ENT ward. Considering that, two years later, I was back in hospital and on a children’s ward, I am still not sure how I came to be there.
There were two other boys my age on the ward, who had already had their operations. I can’t remember the name of the first, I just recall that he had gingery and slightly curly hair. The other was named – I think – Brian Shirley. It was he who told me all of the dread things that turned out to be true, like waking up from the operation with a tampon up each nostril.
I also remember the day of the operation: The ‘nil by mouth’ sign above the bed, saying goodbye to my mum (I bawled my eyes out) and being wheeled down to the theatre.
I don’t remember anything about the next day, except for the bit where they pulled the tampons out. I don’t think anyone ever forgets that. And I know I must have spent some time in the day room, because that is where I spent all of the next five days, watching the England v India Test match from The Oval. In fact, I remember being slightly annoyed at being discharged from hospital on the final day, and having to watch the final overs at home (for those of you who don’t know the story, India almost made the 438 runs which they needed to win. If they had done so, it would have been a world record which still stood today)
The other thing that I remember is that we actually had a Nurse Nightingale on the ward. After the operation I had to have a course of nasal drops. Nurse Nightingale would position my head over the side of the bed, apply the drops and then lean over and shake my head from side to side. I can’t imagine why I looked forward to the daily medicine round.
And the nose job? Well, it worked well enough until I was 16 and Lee Hancox headbutted me. But that is another story for another day.