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Sororities, Bruises, and That One Time I Broke My Nose on a Carnival Cruise

By Hannah | @TypeThreeGirl | December 3, 2018

Long thin tanned perfect legs; every girls dream, right? It isn’t reality for the large population of the world. In fact, most of what we “aspire” to only lives in the inner workings of photo shop. As for me, my legs are far from picture perfect. I have polka-dot legs. As I look down I see leopard spots made by bruises old and new some dark inky black and lumpy others a fading yellow-green. I see a galaxy in a rather large one. It is not your typical picture of beauty but, it is my everyday and I really don’t know any different. To be honest I hardly ever notice my bruises I am so used to them. I cannot, however say the same for other people. I see the way the girl at Target looks at me or the way the boy on the beach stares not at me, but at the bruises. I know what they must think, “Who beats her? Poor girl.” I may not notice the bruises but I cannot say the same for the girl who cannot look me in the eye because I chose to wear shorts that day. I say I do not notice them but I cannot say that they do not bother me sometimes.

I joined a sorority in college. During the days leading up to rush week I was distraught over how people would look at me once they noticed the bruises. I wanted them to see me not the bleeding under my skin. I wanted to look perfect. I thought that I had come up with a great plan; I would buy tattoo makeup! The day before rush week began I decided to give it a trial run. Let me let you get a good picture of this, not only could you still see that there was obviously still a bruise I now had smeared patches of pinkish orange covering my legs. All I can tell you it is that it is a trend that will never catch on. I was sad at first that it did not work. I cried thinking I was ugly until realized I was trying to be someone else. I was trying to cover up a part of who I was, literally. I decided that day, after painfully wiping the make up off, Why would I want to be a part of an organization that didn’t except me for who I was, bruises and all. As I have said before, the bruises are my normal. I sometimes forget about them. After college my best friend and co-worker Hunter and I decided to go on a cruise. I felt like such an adult. It was my first “Big Girl” vacation. No parents and paid for and planned all by me. Hunter of course being my best friend knew about my bleeding disorder and he too, being so used to it would forget.

Once on the boat we could finally relax. It was finally time for our week off of work and time it was time for some sun. The wind picked up after dusk and the boat began to rock. The crew members said they had never seen the boat ride so rough. Despite the rocking boat we were determined to have some fun. We proceeded to indulge in adult beverages, maybe one too many... okay definitely one too many. We struggled our way back to the room that night. How much of the struggle was from the drinks we had consumed or from the ocean waves? We will never know. What I do know is that on the way back to our room an accident happened. I fell. I fell face first against the handrail leading to the cabins. Blood immediately started to flow from my nose. Pinching my nose, we made it back to our cabin. I looked into the mirror. A bruise lumped on the bridge of my nose...

I had broken my nose on a Carnival cruise. Great. Meanwhile, blood is getting everywhere. We are talking mirror, floor, sheets, couch, you name it.... I tell Hunter to get my factor stuff and he gets it out for me. I attempt to start my port while he holds my nose. No flash even though I have clearly hit the back of the port. Perfect. I think, perfect time for my port to stop working. I tell Hunter I have a butterfly needle in my bag and a tourniquet. He finds the butterfly but no tourniquet. I let my hair down and grab the hair tie that was holding it up and tie it around my ankle as a makeshift and ask for the needle. He tells me I am nuts but quickly retracts the statements when blood flashes back into the tubing indicating I had properly hit the vein.

I infused held pressure then fell asleep easily after an eventful first night. The next morning we tried to clean the blood up (it looked like a gruesome murder scene) best we could but there wasn’t much we could do. We left to go get breakfast and returned to a spotless blood free room. Nothing was ever said about the incident and we never saw our housekeeper (we left a huge tip). On the deck of the boat and at the ports is pretty much a parade of people in swimsuits. When I am in a swimsuit there is absolutely no hiding that I am bruised from head (nose now included) to toe.

I could take it very negatively and don’t get me wrong, I have, but I have learned that if people want to look it isn’t my problem and really doesn’t change my day. In fact, I kind of like to pretend I am extremely famous. Head up, movie stars walk with confidence.

My name is Hannah and I have a vonwillebrands - type three - as well as Ehlers-Danlos and POTs. More importantly, I love anything girly, Harry Potter, and a good cup of tea (two sugars and a splash of milk).  Growing up with a chronic illness is definitely not what I would’ve chosen for myself but I have learned that you have to play the cards you were given as if it were the hand that you wanted.

By Hannah

Instagram: @TypeThreeGirl

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