Riding the Rhino Rocket

Weather: Irrelevant

Folks have probably been wondering where I’ve been for the past week or so. I haven’t even logged-on since last Thursday morning. I would love to tell you that I was out testing a fabulous new motorbike, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

The squeamish amongst you should leave now.

If any of you have EMT experience, Ssshhhhh! No telling…

The following has nothing to do with my Ride to Work, but since it did affect the regularity of this blog, I offer it as explanation:

My ride on the Rhino Rocket started in the Emergency Room of North Memorial Medical Center. A blood vessel in my anterior sinus had ruptured at about 8 a.m., and by the time the ambulance got me to the E-R, I had been bleeding rapidly out of my nose into a bucket for about an hour. Drip-drip-drip, about three drops per second, with no sign of slowing. This was getting serious.

The original “Rhino Rocket” is a sort-of tampon device put out by the Shippert Medical Technologies Company. But the name was so catchy that it has been adopted by E-R professionals to refer to a range of devices whose collective function is to stop bleeding in the nasal cavities.

The monster they inserted into my nose, after a generous injection of morphine, was made of green rubber, and had two balloon sections in it, fed by two external Leur fittings. Once inserted, the two balloons were inflated, and a dreadful pressure exerted on all of my nasal passages until the bleeding stopped.

This hurt like hell, morphine be damned. They determined that this device would reside inside my head for the next 72 hours. The pain it caused required a fresh shot of morphine about every two hours. I thought I could just live with it, as long as those shots kept coming. But they had a nasty surprise in store…

Friday afternoon, some schmuck of an E.N.T. (ear, nose, throat specialist) decided that he didn’t want to perform the removal and subsequent possible surgery over the weekend. My bet is that he had other plans, out of town somewhere. So the bastard discharged me on Friday afternoon, with a weak-ass prescription for Tylenol 3, and instructions to leave that gawdawful device stuck up my nose until “somebody” could see me on Monday.

The American Medical Industry is going to Hell in a bucket of blood, if you ask me.

Well, I spent a sleepless weekend in pain and misery. I couldn’t sleep because as I began to doze off, inevitably my mouth would close at some point, and I would begin to suffocate. BANG! Wake up time! This happened about every twenty minutes, all night long, for three long nights.

I couldn’t derive any momentary distraction from food, either, because I couldn’t put anything in my mouth that might choke me when I tried to breathe. Little sips of juice, chicken broth, or water were all I got. Here we find the only bright spot in the story: I lost 9 pounds over the long weekend. It’s not a diet I would recommend to anybody.

Monday came, and I was sent to an E.N.T. in the suburbs near work. This guy seemed to know his stuff, and at least feigned some concern at my comfort level. He removed that demonic device from my nose after bleeding off the pressure, and we had some fun with the suction hose cleaning up all the resulting mess.

When he finally got a good look at the source of the bleeding, he did what they could have, and should have done on Friday night. He cauterized the ruptured vessel. That would have saved me three days of agony, and I might have even gotten out for a ride on Saturday or Sunday. By all accounts, the weather was gorgeous here this weekend. I heard the Harley start up and depart from the house down the block.

I never even looked outside.

So, my plans for changing Scarlet’s oil and getting back on the road have been postponed for a bit. If it’s warm enough on Thursday, I may ride to work. But I’m not going to push it. I’m supposed to avoid stress, and get my blood pressure under control. That should probably be my top priority for awhile, don’t you think?

23 Responses to “Riding the Rhino Rocket”

  1. AZ Lucky Says:

    That, in no uncertain terms, sucks. I trust you’ve got some thugs out looking for the first lazy doctor?

  2. Steve Williams Says:

    It sounds as if you are playing on the professional level. It was a bit difficult to read, thank god for your matter-of-fact delivery. Picturing the Rhino Rocket lodged in your gourd even with injectable morphine isn’t a pleasant picture. I’ll have a few cookies now to distract my brain. Glad you are on the mend and found a doc that is moving you back towards the road.

    Is the ruptured vessel related to your crash or is this something else?

    Scarlet can wait. No need to fill any more buckets.

    warm regards and best wishes,


  3. irondad Says:


  4. Bob Kunkel Says:

    As one of your faithful readers, sorry to hear of your travails…but glad to hear you are still with us. I’m sure I’m not the only one who checks the blog daily, and has been a little worried over this latest absence (especially given your spill).
    Take care,

    P.S. I’m surprised you didn’t just yank the contraption out yourself at oh-dark thirty Sunday morning.

  5. Bill Sommers Says:

    Brother, when you go, you always go big. Along with the rest of the faithful, I was beginning to wonder where you were.

    Take care of your hardcore self.


  6. James Says:

    So there are consequences for all those lines you did in the 80s?

  7. Mad Says:

    Ouch! That sounds absolutely horrendous you have my horrified sympathy.
    That’s an experience not to be sniffed at.

    er sorry :p

  8. jim Says:

    Hang in there, this too shall pass.

  9. combatscoot Says:

    Looks like we both were going through something bad over the weekend, although yours sounds a bit worse than mine. Condolences.

  10. fred christiansen Says:

    As my Uncle Bob used to say “that’s gotta hurt!”

    If the stars align correctly, I hope you will get to insert that demonic device up the nose of the E.N.T. that sent you home……Karma, yea baby!

  11. phil Says:

    I’m glad you’re alright. Now we all have something else to add to our “I don’t want to have THAT” list of maladies. Scary stuff.

  12. Gary Charpentier Says:

    AZ Lucky: Well, if I did, I couldn’t admit it here. Besides, why contract out what I would so enjoy doing myself? This, of course, is a dish best served cold. Let me get back to good health, and then maybe I’ll decide to “get my thug on”.

    Steve: I struggled some with this. The matter-of-fact delivery was the only one that made sense for the blog format. I needed that detached perspective in order to keep it from becoming a Stephen King novel.

    The organism simply had a hydraulic failure, due to overpressure in a weak or damaged line. Your theory about that damage coming from my crash is an intriguing one, and quite probable. But it is certainly a wake-up call for me to pay more attention to preventive maintenance, as it were.

    Irondad: Indeed! But in the future, please try not to be so long-winded…

    Bob K: Don’t think I wasn’t tempted. But the thought of the bleeding starting up again held me back, along with those funky Luer fittings. I have nothing to fit on those. I considered just hacking them off with a scissors, but that would have been too obvious.

    Then too, the image of me flying around the room, going “Plfft, plfft, plfft…” like a liberated balloon was just too ridiculous to contemplate.

    Bill: Thank you, brother. I do try to be entertaining…

    James: If only… Do you have any idea what a pitiful salary I earned as an enlisted Marine in Southern California in the `80s? Then there were those random urinalysis to worry about. No, the only lines I dealt with were the ones I had to stand in, and there were plenty of those in the military.

    Mad: Horrified sympathy noted. Thank you. (Don’t try this at home…)

    jim: I know it. But I’m not going to let it pass without taking several valuable lessons from it, and maybe even a change in lifestyle. But that is going to require some thought, and I’ll be certain to share it here in the blog.

    Combatscoot: I haven’t caught up with all the other blogs yet, but I will. Sorry to hear you had a bummer too.

    fred C: Yeah, that would be poetic justice. I remember wondering several times if the sadists at Gitmo had discovered this technique for extracting information. I certainly don’t condone torture, but if it has to be done, this would be one very effective, and virtually undetectable, method.

    phil: Yeah, I know what you mean. When they originally told me I had high blood pressure, I was severely underwhelmed. I had no idea of the implications. This is going to lead me to a healthier, and hopefully happier lifestyle. Always, always try to take something positive away from every negative experience. Life works better that way.

    Ride well,

  13. Rivergirl Says:

    Gary, Hope you are up & out soon. Sorry to hear. But glad U R alright.

  14. Tinker Says:

    If it was all due to high blood pressure, and all you got out of it with was a nose bleed I’d say you got off easy (even considering the Rhino Rocket).

    I’d consider a stroke a bit worse outcome, all in all. I speak from direct experience, I’ve had four of them. Left me mostly confused for two years.

    And treating the hypertension is no walk in the park, either. Can you say side effects? I knew you could.

  15. Dancing Bob Says:

    I thought it must be just too cold up there, and there was little riding and less to say.

    Popular thought has it that this sort of bad luck comes in threes:
    Okay …
    crash = 1
    rhino rocket = 2
    what’s gonna be 3?

    Or have you had that one in yet another venue of your life?

    Love, light, & laughter … Dancing Bob

    PS. Got my scoot back from the shop 10 days ago … and have been riding every day since then. W00t!!!

  16. Dan Jones Says:

    Whew. Glad to hear you are doing okay. I had to take my mother to the hospital last month for the same situation. She’s 83 and it wasn’t scooter crash related so your’s may just be coincindental to the crash. She didn’t need a rocket. The Doctor had this great spray that causes the vessel to contract. She had the old cotton wad stuck up there for a day but has been fine since. Her doctor did adjust her medications so we hope not to have this experience again.

    I used to pack a load of stress and know about high blood pressure and stress related issues. After my heart attack, I found my own route to a less stressful lifestyle. Happy to share some ideas when next we meet or drop me a line.

    Meantime… stay cool.

    Ramblin’ Dan

  17. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Rivergirl: Never fear. I seem to be fairly resilient. Maybe I’m too evil to die.

    Tinker: I’m already getting side effects from the meds. Little bouts of dizziness at unexpected times, etc. Yeah, this is going to be a treat…

    D-Bob: Number 3 has come to pass, but I’ll save that for the next blog entry. No worries, though. Compared to the first two, this was nothing.

    Ramblin’ Dan: I’m sure we will meet up soon, and yes, I’d like to hear what you have to say on the subject. I’m glad your Mom’s alright.

    Ride well,

  18. seagullplayer Says:

    Now that is red face mad!
    Hope your feeling better.
    Did they mention Blood pressure problems?

  19. angie Says:

    I just went through the same thing have to go back to my doctor Tuesday cause I still have some kind of dripping like very light pink probably he said cause it stretched the heck out of my nose that my eye was even swollen and my check it hurt so much I never want to go through that again never…so hopefully I will be over this also and I can be mom and wife and nana again….to my family …hugs angie

  20. inpain Says:

    I have Rhino Plugs in my nose as I write this.When they stuck those things in my nose (no morphine,no nothing),I SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER!!!!!!!!I feel your pain.

  21. Jerry Grey Says:

    Hey dude, I cld have written your blog, minus a few words of course. I had this experience today in Atlanta. I am a pastor and will miss a funeral tomorrow and preaching on Sunday due to this thing in my nose. I am thankful for the folks at Eastside Hospital that got the bleeding stopped. I walked out of another ER earlier because they could not get the beeding stopped. I literally thought I was going to bleed to death in the ER. I left for fear of dying. I went to eastside and got the Rhino. I cannot get it out until Monday but they are afraid it will bleed again so I have to keep it two days. It is uncomfortable to say the least. Your ordeal is exactly what I experienced today. It was tuff man. I have never seen so much blood for a nose bleed but they are dangerous so hopefully people will not take them lightly. Blessings dude.

  22. Tim Says:

    I feel your pain. I have a platelet dysfunction that manifests itself with nosebleeds that, thank God, are anterior. I type having a Rapid Rhino (the short 5.5 one) in my left nostril. Luckily so far I have never had a Rhino Rocket. Also, luckily for me I have a very good ENT that I see on these matters. My recent nosebleeds have all been from an anterior spot on the floor and he is going to do surgery to correct it.

    In my life I have had many nosebleeds and three surgeries. I have probably had almost everything out there to stop them. Unfortunately the doctors in the Emergency Room aren’t that skilled in otolaryngology. For them its a just get it stopped and let the ENT sort it out mentality.

  23. James Says:

    i had this inserted into my nose….and without morphine or any pain killers…most pain ive ever experienced