With NHS in crisis, my nasal hair felt like a trivial issue. But I did have a problem! – Vladimir McTavish

A hair-raising episode sees Vladimir McTavish almost become an unwelcome NHS statistic
Some jobs are too big for nose-hair trimmers (Picture: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images)Some jobs are too big for nose-hair trimmers (Picture: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images)
Some jobs are too big for nose-hair trimmers (Picture: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images)

The NHS and the government are continually stressing that we should go to A&E only in a genuine emergency. Yet, after a show in Edinburgh last weekend, I was talking to a casualty nurse who told me that the public are still presenting at emergency rooms with remarkably trivial problems.

While Channel 5’s seemingly endless schedule of reality shows such as “24 Hours in A&E” and “999 Critical Condition” tend to focus on the more dramatIc cases, she told me that loads of people still turn up with implausibly large items stuck in small bodily orifices.

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Last week, I was seriously considering going to A&E because of my nasal hair. Although I’m over 60 now, I am extremely fortunate to have a full head of hair. I am somewhat less fortunate to have an over-full nose of hair.

Electric nasal hair trimmers do not really do the job, as the batteries run out or the blades become blunt so I made an impulse buy for a nose-waxing kit which promised me I would be “hair free for up to six weeks”. All I had to do was heat up a tub of wax in the microwave, dab a plastic stick in the hot wax and insert the aforementioned stick into my nose for ten seconds. As I was in a hurry, I did both nostrils.

The key element in this procedure is timing, and mine was badly off. I waited too long and could not get the sticks out of my nose. No matter how hard I tried, neither stick would budge from either nostril. It felt like I might rip my skin off.

So I seriously considered phoning 999, already imagining the dialogue. “Is that patient still breathing ?” “Not very well, I’ve got a short plastic stick up each nostril.” In my mind, I pictured myself on Channel 5.

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Then the doorbell rang. Rushing to answer it, I stubbed my toe and let out such a roar of pain that one of the sticks flew out of my nose, meaning all I had to do was effect the old Glaswegian snot-clearing procedure of covering one nostril while blowing very hard out of the other. Job done. My toe still hurts but I’m hair-free in the nasal area.

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