What do you think happened to this woman?

Saturday 1408  – 2.08.2013.

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I wonder what your immediate reaction is when you see this face below ?

Does your imagination work overtime and tell you the worst? 

It is me of course.

Did you think I’d been beaten or had an accident? 


Some of you who have been following this blog for a long time will know that I have long-standing sinus problems and have had no sense of smell at all for over 2 years now ( apart from the very occasional waft of delicious breakthrough smell)  So what you see above is the result of having a septoplasty ( where the surgeon straightens the septum between the 2 nostrils ) and functional endoscopic Sinus Surgery ( opening up the sinuses between nose and throat which were blocked. ). The surgery was on Thursday and I stayed in hospital just overnight so today I’m recovering at home.

The expectation is that I will get my sense of smell back, and taste, but also be able to breathe more easily with fewer, if any, of the sinus infections I was so prone to.  Unfortunately the recovery is long and slow.  1 in 500 get eye complications like mine with bleeding into the socket showing as the bruising but this doesn’t affect my sight.  Well done to the 499 who have avoided it now !!

What I really want to highlight by showing you this  (let’s face it it’s not my best look!)   is what people think when they see a woman with a bruised eye and swollen nose ( my nose is usually very small !) 

I live in a village but I don’t know many people here, I live on the edge of it and I’m quite a private person. This morning, though I didn’t feel at all like going out,  I went to the chemist to get some salivary stimulant pastilles to ease the inside of my mouth which feels as though I’ve been rubbing it with old sandpaper.  This is because of the mouth breathing, particularly when I’m sleeping.

They couldn’t find them so skyped the usual chemist, who was elsewhere, to see if he knew where they were. I sat and waited at the counter , feeling too weak to stand up.  Several people , strangers to me, came in and out while I was there. Each person looked at my face and quickly looked away. I guessed what they were all thinking because I probably would have thought the same myself, in their situation.

I felt decidedly exposed and uncomfortable. 

Only one old man in the queue said ” Oh you poor thing whatever’s happened ? ” I was surprisingly relieved to be able to say that I’d had nasal and sinus surgery and when I said that another woman in the queue, who had previously quickly looked away, smiled at me and said she hoped I’d get better soon. I think she was relieved too !!   The old man also wished me a speedy recovery.

What I experienced in the chemist was a taste of what it must feel like to be a battered woman and have everyone look and turn away. Not a nice feeling.

Right I’m exhausted just writing this now so that’s enough.

The upside of this is that I am encouraged to eat a lot of ice-cream and ice-lollies  to sooth my throat !!  It’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good.

As ever this blog is nothing without your thoughts and I welcome your comments below.

Saturday girl signing off ’til next week when I hope to have my full faculties back.


You can find my photography blog Photomania here 



27 comments on “What do you think happened to this woman?

  1. […] and the reaction to how I looked afterwards.. not my finest portrait! – you can see that post here  I had hoped to have my full faculties back this week but alas the recovery is a long slow process […]

  2. Somewhere in the SHpics archives is a shot of me two hours after having a frame screwed into my scalp in four separate places for stereo-tactic radiosurgery..two screws in the temples, two in the base of the skull…..F*ckadiddlydoo, did I look a sight? Black eyes, forehead the size of a house and the WORST hair-do….
    No way in the world I’d have the nerve to display myself to the world in such a pickle…
    A brave post……
    And I admit, my first thought was that someone had ‘clocked you one’…..Relieved they hadn’t.

    Hope you get well soon.
    Put a 2 inch sirloin on your eye, wait until you can smell it and then cook the bugger!

    Cure it, smell it and taste it…

  3. Glad this was nothing terrible, get well. People are curious in their reactions, not knowing how to offer comfort or assistance.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Yes Valentine you are right about that.. us humans are not good at being challenged by something we find uncomfortable and unfortunately we are better at ignoring than offering help.

  4. totsymae1011 says:

    Oh, my! My first reaction made my head jump back. I was scared. 🙂

    You felt a kinship to battered women, huh…Interesting….I don’t reckon I’ve ever felt that kinda connection. Well, I haven’t and I’d want folk to look away anyhow. What a mess to be in….

    Any ole way, you’ll be breathing easy and smelling roses come spring.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      I guess it’s because I’m a Social Worker TotsyMae so my empathy gauge works really well. Or in other words I’m pretty good at putting myself in other peioples shoes ( not those high heels though! )

  5. Feel better Helen! AND, look forward to really enjoying food!

  6. Marleen Vervoort says:

    Hi Helen, Hope you get to feel and look better very soon. My initial thought was that you had a fall or an accident with the bike. Take care and take it easy for a while!

  7. ellyhuizinga says:

    Normally I don,t jump directly into conclusions, but on your blog knowing you are a fighter for people,s rights, your question made me think it would be a household thing, between man and wife. Otherwise I would have thought it could be anything.
    Wish you the best Helen !!

  8. bananabatman says:

    I hope you feel better soon Helen. How you feel is more important than how you look, and I’m sure you will feel much better very soon.

    Can you see through your viewfinder ok with sunglasses on? 🙂

  9. scillagrace says:

    I, too, had endoscopic sinus surgery about 15 years ago. I didn’t stay overnight in the hospital, but it was the most uncomfortable 12 hours of my life…I felt I would suffocate…until they took out the packing in my sinuses. Haven’t had a sinus infection since, happy to report!! Hope your sense of smell returns in all its wonder!

    • Helen Cherry says:

      I didn’t write about the packing.. too horrible for words.. I think it was the septoplasty that required the overnighter Scilla.. great to hear you had no more problems..encouraging words indeed.

  10. A friend of mine’s wife works in a special school and she received a black eye from one the children. When he was walking around town with her he got mucky looks from all and sundry.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery.

  11. It’s funny how appearances can be deceiving and also people’s reactions.
    I’m very happy the operation ordeal is over and that you are now on a way to complete recovery!
    So this is actually a face of a happy person, healing!
    I wish you a swift recovery, Helen.

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