Fandango’s Friday Flashback — August 7

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 7th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally published on August 7, 2012 on my old blog.

Nothing to Sneeze at

sneezeHave you ever sneezed after recently suffering a cracked or bruised rib? If so, you know what an astonishingly painful experience it is. If not, take it from one who has had a few such rib injuries: sneezing must be avoided at all costs.

If you feel a sneeze coming on — and the good news is that you can generally sense when a sneeze is about to rack your body — you need to do whatever you can to not sneeze. Or you will suffer intense consequences.

Sneezing is a reflex, something your body does automatically and something over which you have little to no control. Sneezes are usually triggered when the inside of your nose gets a tickle. A message is sent to the part of your brain called — and I’m not kidding — the sneeze center. This sneeze center, which scientists have yet to precisely locate, is hidden somewhere deep inside the most sadistic part of your brain.

The sneeze central then sends messages to all the muscles that have to work together to create the sneeze. These muscles include, among others, your abdominal muscles, chest muscles, and your diaphragm. And there’s the rub.

Fast and furious

Here’s a factoid I bet you didn’t know. A typical sneeze removes air from your body at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. No wonder attempting to stifle a sneeze with that kind of velocity behind it can be challenging, and possibly even dangerous. Yet that is precisely what I’ve been attempting to do for the past three weeks.

Just over three weeks ago, during what was supposed to have been a routine dog walk, I seriously bruised the ribs on my left side after falling hard onto the cement sidewalk. As noted earlier, sneezing when you have injured ribs can be agonizing. And so, since that fateful night, each time the urge to sneeze came over me, I have done everything I could to prevent the sneeze from materializing.

Why not just blow my nose when I felt the sneeze coming on? The mere act of filling my lungs with enough air to enable a productive nose-blowing would put significant pressure on my ribs as my lungs expanded, causing sufficient pain to warrant an alternative course of sneeze mitigation.

I would pinch my nose and hold my breath and pray that I could successfully stifle the sneeze and avoid the intense pain. For the most part, my sneeze prevention machinations worked. But on several unfortunate occasions, the sneeze got the better of me and I would end up with tears welling up in my eyes, writhing in agony for several minutes until the acute pain on the left side of my rib cage eventually settled into a dull ache.

This morning, just a bit more than three weeks after the rib-bruising, dog-walking episode, I once again felt the urge to sneeze coming on. But this time I bravely decided to let it go. I sneezed.

Not once.

Not twice.

But three times.

EUREKA!  While I could definitely still feel tightness on the left side of my chest with each sneeze, the feeling was more annoying than agonizing. And being able to experience a full, robust sneeze was amazingly satisfying.

I’m still taking Advil periodically, as the left side of my rib cage remains somewhat tender. But the worst is clearly over and I am thrilled that I no longer need to struggle to stifle that reflexive sneeze response.

Go screw yourself, sneeze center, wherever and whatever you are. All I have to say at this point is “Ahhhh.”

Or perhaps I should say, ahh-chooo!