I feel like we've been spending WAY too much time visiting doctors lately. Know the feeling? If your winter has been anything like mine, you met your deductible for the year before January was behind you.
I know exactly what happened. I opened my big mouth in a conversation a few months back with a friend and shared with her the surprising (but true) fact that in 6-1/2 years of mothering three kiddos, I could count the number of sick visits to the pediatrician on one hand. You would think that I would have learned something from the incident not too many weeks prior in which I offhandedly commented to hubby that our 2-1/2 year old son had never experienced vomiting or diarrhea. Two days later he came down with the Norwalk virus, a nasty bug which can hang on for DAYS (10 to be precise).
So, I made this comment to a friend which she could scarcely believe, being the mother of three little girls who have had countless ear infections, tonsillitis, etc. And no sooner were the words out of my mouth than a chain of events was set into motion that sent my world (and bank account!) into a tailspin and created a well-worn path from my driveway to the Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Clinic.
Here is how it began:
My day was already off schedule. Work had been interrupted several times by phone calls, etc., and then Sara showed up at my desk with a request that I look at her ear. Saturday marked the 6-week anniversary since both girls had their ears pierced and for the most part things had gone well. Both girls had already had their earrings removed several times prior to the six-week point for replacement of a new pair (Rachel) and removal of several corkscrewed hairs (Sara) and general cleaning. While Rachel has left her earrings alone and been content to let me douse her ears with antiseptic a few times a week, Sara has OBSSESSED over her ears night and day and actually dumped an entire bottle of antiseptic on her bed while trying to clean her ears. I’m certain that it’s been her constant cleaning/turning/fiddling with her earrings that has led to several hairs getting wrapped around her posts and twisted through her lobes.
So … all of that to make the point that when she asked me to “look at” her ears, I really didn’t get too excited about it. After all, I’ve been “looking at” them 47 times a day for the last six weeks … what could possibly have changed in the last 24 hours??
It took a second look for reality to register … Her earlobe was massively swollen and the pink stud was completely enveloped within the pus-filled appendage. As calmly as possible, I called to Chief. “Honey … uh, I think you need to come here.” “Can it wait for just a second?” he replied. “I’m working in the kitchen.” The calm was running out as I realized there was no possible way I was going to be able to extract the jewelry from her ear. “NO!” I shouted. “We’ve got a PROBLEM!” He came to the door of the bedroom where I sat on the bed with Sara's head on my lap. Using vague terms and trying not to distress Sara, I managed to tell him that we had an earring lodged in a REALLY infected earlobe which Hercules with a pair of pliers wouldn’t be able to pry free …
It was 4:45 p.m., but he was able to get her an appointment with our pediatrician, Dr. Robinson, for an hour later. As I stood beside her, blonde curls spilling over the edge of the examining table, I mentally kicked myself for ever allowing the piercing in the first place. What in the world made me think she was responsible enough to take care of pierced ears? Dr. Robinson gloved up and took her little ear between his fingers. As he prodded and twisted, I started to feel anxious and a little dizzy. “Umm, excuse me, but shouldn’t we NUMB that first??” He looked at me like I had just asked him to put her completely under. “She’s doing fine,” he said. “Look at her!” There my baby girl lay, so calm and peaceful, completely unfazed by the whole thing. “Okay, maybe I need something,” I admitted. “Maybe you could numb me up??” He laughed. Within a minute or so, the offending piece of gold and amethyst had been pushed completely through the back of her ear, and she never even flinched. I, on the other hand, stood dumbstruck as pus oozed freely from the crimson lobe.
Thirty minutes later, we were back at home with a 10-day supply of Keflex in hand and a story Sara has delighted in telling ever since. I guess if there’s anything at all to be glad about , it’s that this ordeal didn’t involve Rachel … I can only imagine how many nurses and leather straps it would have taken to hold her on that table. It wouldn’t have been pretty, I’m sure of that.