Man’s runny nose turns out to be leaking brain

A North Carolina grandfather thought a runny nose he had been dealing with for years was allergies. He was wrong.

It turned out to be far worse, and it could have been fatal if not treated properly, WTVD reported.

“I have 14 grandkids. We formed the Brady Bunch me and my wife,” said Greg Phillpotts. “I have a son that’s 20 years old and we have very good relationship, you know what I’m saying.”

He and his wife moved to Johnson County, North Carolina after she retired in 2016.

“You got your family and you know you don’t want to just check out of the picture right when it’s something, somebody could readily fix,” said Phillpotts.

For the last five years, Phillpotts says he has had issues with a runny nose.

“I have an annual allergy that comes around in February. Sometimes it won’t go away, understand. Sometimes I gotta go find some Jamaican roots to drink, anything just to knock the cough down,” said Phillpotts.

He says it got worse last winter.

“I was preparing a meal and you know, standing in the kitchen and it just added itself to the ingredients. You could be anywhere. You could be on the airplane, could be anywhere. You could be talking to somebody and this thing just drains right out of your face,” said Phillpotts.

He kept seeing doctors about the problem. He was diagnosed with everything from allergies to bronchitis and pneumonia. All of them were wrong.

“In February, I got scared because I was up all night, coughing,” said Phillpotts.

Finally, he went to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. They quickly found a cerebro-spinal fluid leak.

“Sometimes when you have this leakage of fluid from the brain, it can evolve into what we call an ascending infection so infection can transmit or bacteria can transit from the nose into the brain resulting in meningitis,” said Dr. Alfred Lloreta.

Doctors did minimally invasive skull surgery to correct the problem and get Phillpotts back to his family.

“You ever been so congested you can’t breathe and all of a sudden you could breathe again? You know what a relief that was?” said Phillpotts.

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