The Girl With A Pearl In Her Nose

Yet again I have sinusitis, but it's not all bad, because it inspired this short story for you...

I was in Sick Bay with a cold. Actually, I was in Isolation, partly because Dr Stone said nothing was ever just a cold at St Mary’s, and partly because Leon said he was sick of being snorted and snotted all over and could anything be done or were we looking at end of life care?

Dr Stone said to sit down and he’d take a look. He spent a few minutes peering up my right nostril and describing what he could see. I still object to his use of the word ‘cavernous.’

Climbing out, he switched off his torch thingy and announced it was probably my sinuses. I said I thought as much and it wasn’t the first time my nose had tried to kill me.

Leon said it should stand in line like everyone else.

I enquired why he was here and Dr Stone said he’d wondered that himself.

Leon said, ‘Protection,’ but failed to specify for whom.

Dr Stone disappeared up my other nostril. I waited for comments on echoes, Cheddar Gorge, stalactites and sticky.

‘Oh,’ he said, suddenly. ‘That’s not right.’

‘What isn’t?’ I said, panicking.

He didn’t answer. Humming the dwarf song from Snow White he armed himself with an implement very similar in size and construction to the prong things on a JCB and announced he was going in, adding that he might be some time.

He was some time – firkling away like an Egyptian embalmer removing brain tissue from an embalmee. Except that I was living, conscious, and complaining every inch of the way.

‘There’s something here,’ he said which I think everyone will agree is exciting news when you’re looking for treasure. Less so when you’ve got a doctor half way up your nose.

‘Where were you last week?’ he said.

‘Corn Law riots’

‘Oh, probably not there then. Before that?’

‘Um … Venice. I think.’

‘Nope. Before that?’

‘Um … Roman Bath. Then Regency Bath. For comparison purposes.’

‘Hm … possibly. Before that?’

‘I don’t know,’ I said, wondering if he’d got lost up there and whether I’d have a member of the medical profession dangling permanently from my left nostril like a giant – well, never mind.

‘Got it,’ he said, and began to make preparations to extricate himself. ‘There we go.’

He dropped something into a bowl.

Leon and I both stared at the tiny whatever it was.

‘Is that your brain?’ asked Leon curiously. ‘Because I could believe that. Especially after last Wednesday.’

Dr Stone poked at it. ‘I think it’s a grass seed. Have you been making hay, Max?’

Actually, I had, but a very long time ago. Six hundred and fifty years ago in fact. OMG – I’d had a grass seed up my nose for six hundred and fifty years. It’s typical, isn’t it? If I was an oyster, I’d have produced a pearl. As it was, I’d only managed a rather unpleasant looking … thing.

‘Interesting,’ said Dr Stone.

‘Gross,’ I said.

‘Typical,’ said Leon.

I enquired what now, hoping, I think, for an afternoon in bed with a mug of tea, a monolith of chocolate and a good book.

‘Back to work,’ said Dr Stone cheerfully.

Leon enquired whether he was certain about that.

Dr Stone nodded. ‘Well, obviously bring her back if you discover anything else up there. Really, Max, you’re a little old to be shoving things up your nose, don’t you think?’

I prodded my nose. ‘I’m a bit worried my brain might fall out.’

‘Unlikely,’ said the two of them in chorus and I glared at them.

Leon said he’d be all right with me having an overnight stay. And yes, he’d hoped for a full week’s peace but he’d take what he could get.

Dr Stone enquired if we’d like to take it with us. ‘A souvenir,’ he said brightly, and somehow we found ourselves on the other side of the door.


Please keep well and safe - love Jodi x


  • Ali Rodwell

    Get well soon Jodi! Thank you so much for this unexpected treasure (rather like Max’s grass seed, only very welcome!)
    Keep safe

  • Julie D

    Poor Max. And poor Jodi too! I have dreadful allergies that last all year, so I totally know how that feels. Get well soon.

  • Ursula

    As a fellow sufferer I completely understand Max’s suffering and complaining. I’d rather visit a gynaecologist than having my sinuses examined. And I categorically refuse surgical procedures, once was more than enough for several lifetimes.
    Thank you for the story, I knew there was a reason why Max is my all time favourite investigator of major historical events in contemporary time.

  • Mike Gower

    Liked the story, but doesn’t the grass seed, or whatever it was, count as an item brought back from the past? I thought only the teapot could do that. Stay safe – don’t deprive us of decades of books to come.

  • Mary Lou

    Thanks so much for this, Jodi! Sorry you’re feeling bad, but you certainly brightened my day with this peek inside St. Mary’s. Feel better soon!

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