I am very grateful I’ve only got a cold and not the dreaded flu, yet, as the proud owner of a deviated nasal septum, I cannot say that a cold is just a cold. In simple terms, a deviated nasal septum means that the cartilage inside the nose is screwed and does not allow its owner to breathe through both nostrils. Contrary to popular belief, this is a wide-spread ailment. It can be rectified with an operation that takes the excess cartilage out, that straightens the one that is left and that corrects the shape of the nose in case this collapses slightly following internal adjustments.
As one is born with such affliction, I’ve been struggling with my nose ever since I can remember, with colds lasting a good couple of weeks when lucky, with hay fever being light and yet incredibly persistent and with a voice permanently stuck up my forehead, as I can feel my nose’s insides popping and moving around, closing one nostril and opening the other in turn.
Three of my friends had this problem corrected and they all proclaim the usual: I wish I had done it sooner. I was this close to it when I was fifteen and was suffering from a permanently blocked nose that had me gasping for air at night, as if I had been sleeping under water. But no, I chickened out at the last second because of my great fear of being put to sleep.
Fast-forward by fifteen years and I am struggling as much as ever, with a cold never being just a cold. If only I were not so scared of needles and general anaesthetics... if only I could be a normal person in that sense at least. But then, were it not for this built-in terror of all things hospital-related, I wouldn’t just have a normal working nose but also some great tits, a tucked tummy and a very, very small bottom.