Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Miracle Cures of the 21st Century!

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Junior's school. I always experience a moment of dread when the caller ID announces the school is calling. Oh, no! What happened?

His teacher was on the phone, and she started out very calm and friendly -- always a good sign. Then she went on to tell me that when they came in from the playground, "there was an incident". Gulp!

Just as the heavy entrance door was closing, Junior stuck his hand in to try to catch it...but instead just had his finger mightily pinched in the crack. She sounded calm, and I couldn't hear any screaming or crying in the background, so I wasn't sure what to make of it. She told me his nail and skin were ok, but there was a lot of blood under his nail. Somehow in my confusion, though, I misunderstood and was picturing a bloody mess with nail hanging on by a hair.

"Wait - is he ok?" I asked.

"Yeah, he's actually surprisingly fine! He's here beside me, and he's not even crying; he just keeps holding it out and saying, "Oushh!...Oushh!" she explained.

Now, I know he has a high pain tolerance, but the fact that he was calm and fine confused me even more!

"So - does he need stitches?" I asked.

"No, really, his finger is fine....he just has a very purple nail and it has to be terribly painful. He probably needs to have a hole poked in the nail to relieve the pressure. I think you need to come get him."

Well! Let me just say that I have been around; I mean, we're no strangers to the ER....but A HOLE? POKED IN HIS NAIL?!? (The mere idea makes me feel faint!) I had never heard of this, and still couldn't figure out whether the injury was severe or not.

Junior's teacher is very laid-back; she doesn't over-react, she doesn't cry wolf. She's dealt with crazy stuff at school and simply sent a note home for me later. So I got there as fast as I could. And you know what? He really was fine! He grinned to see me...but kept saying "Oushh!" about his finger.

His teacher repeated her advice that poking a hole in the nail really would provide relief from the pressure. The school nurse seconded the opinion. The secretaries nodded in agreement. The nurse didn't have the proper tool to do it, and I knew there was no way I was going to do that at home! So I called the pediatrician's office and asked the nurse to see if the crazy rumor was true. She said that particular treatment isn't always necessary, but agreed it can be a great thing. She told me to bring Junior in and they'd take a look. I called my husband to bring him up to speed, and he said he, himself, has done it a million times and it really does help.

Seriously, how have I never heard of this before??

Now, Junior has problems sleeping on a good day, and I was beginning to have images of him awake all night due to a throbbing finger...and though the idea of poking a hole in one's fingernail goes against the very nature of my being, by this point a half dozen people had confirmed the treatment. I drove to the pediatrician's office.

The doctor was concerned with how protective Junior was being of his finger. He ordered an X-ray to be certain it wasn't broken. Which hadn't even crossed my mind, but instantly became all I could think! (Stitches! Missing nails! Shattered bones!! Neurotic much?)

It wasn't.

Dr. L. promised making a hole in the nail was completely painless & very quick, and really was a good idea. So Junior sat on my lap and we all braced his arm down, because he was getting scared.*

I should note that through all of this, Junior was an absolute trooper. Despite a few scary moments for him, the entire visit was smooth & easy. He charmed everyone, waited patiently, and was very cooperative. He even signed "thank you" and waved goodbye to everyone as we left! (You've heard the theory that pain provides focus?... I'm thinking it just might be true.)**

But back to the story. They used a special heated tool that melted through the nail in about 2 seconds flat, squeezed out the collected blood, and PRESTO, MAGICO! -- nail fixed. Seriously. The purple? GONE. The pain? GONE!!



As my grandma would say, "Well, I never!"

I'm telling you, that finger isn't even swollen. It's crazy. CRAZY!! Who knew?!

*(Not as scared as he was of the scale, though. To stand on. And be weighed. That! Was scary stuff.)

**(I could insert some joke here about a fashionable tool belt with convenient hammer being the very latest in mommy accessories...but I won't...ahem.)

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