For over a year and a half, Joe Nagy of Arizona suffered from a severe case of runny nose.

It started out as "once or twice a week," he told Phoenix's Fox 10, but "pretty soon it was all the time."

Eventually, Nagy's condition became unbearable — "I got to the point where I had tissues all the time" — and he finally sought medical assistance.

That's when he learned that his run-of-the-mill "runny nose" was, in actuality, a waking nightmare: His brain was leaking.

"I was scared to death if you want to know the truth," Nagy told the Fox affiliate.

According to Barrow Neurological Institute neurosurgeon Peter Nakaji, the body produces up to 12 ounces of brain fluid a day, and leaks can occur.

Dr. Nakaji says the most common causes of brain fluid leaks are head injuries and complications due to brain surgery or spinal taps.

"This is one of the more common conditions to be missed for a long time...because so many people have runny noses," Nakaji said.

Though the fix was fairly routine, a sudden near-deadly outbreak of meningitis forced Nakaji to put Nagy's surgery on hold.

Once the infection subsided, the doctor got to work repairing the leak, which was traced to a tiny hole in the membrane surrounding Nagy's brain.

The operation was successful, and Nagy has been hankie-free ever since.

UPDATE: Seems an Arizona woman experienced the very same worst case scenario just last year. QED: Stay the Hell away from Arizona.

[screengrabs via MyFoxPhoenix]