Wednesday 19 May 2010

This post brought to you by the 'A' in 'Our World from A to Z'

Yesterday afternoon at about 3pm I was working away on the computer (surprise). I had just said to Jean-Paul it would soon be time to get Alexandria from school when the phone rang. The voice on the other end said, "Hi, it's Beth* from Place of Learning and Fun* and this is going to sound weird, but I have Alexandria here in the office and she has a cone-type plastic thing stuck on her baby finger." Me, trying not laugh too much, "Oh wow." "Yup. We've tried to get it off with soap, putting in cold water and it's really stuck." "Alright, her dad will be right over to come get her." *Names changed

I relay the story to Daddy-Yo, both doing that this-is-serious-but-we-can't-help-laughing thing (better to get our giggles out now than in front of Alex, right?) Daddy heads on over the school to pick up our little reason-things-get-recalled. I sneak a picture, to which she says, "Don't show anybody. Not even on the computer." *I later got her permission to put this on here, telling her one day she'd like to look back on this story. "Why?" she asked. Daddy's reply as he shakes his head, "I don't know." I told her, "Sometimes, after you're all grown up, you like to look back at things that happened when you were little."

This pink cone-thing was really, really stuck. It apparently is a game piece from 'Snakes and Ladders'. I later learned from Baby Girl she was pretending it was a bell on her finger.

We tried a few more things at home... Soaking in cold water... Elevating... Olive oil... Windex (suggested by her teacher when she called to check on Alex. Look it up. It's all over the internet as a home remedy! Who knew?) I held Alex chest to chest as Daddy tried to get it off. Turned it. Screams. Tried to pull if off. Screams. Tears. Lots of resistance - both from the game piece and Alexandria. We stopped trying and faced the fact Alex and I were headed to the emergency department. (Yes, in Canada, you do stupid things and the government pays for it to be remedied.)
While Alex's hand was soaking in cold water, I showered. Trust me. I needed to shower before I went anywhere. I was still hoping at this point (it was 4:30) to make it to my evening class (starting at 6:00) or at least to Toronto for a Blurb Books meet-up (ending at 10pm.) I know. What was I thinking?

So, at 4:30, Alex and I headed to the ER. Alex thought maybe we could just leave the piece on her finger. I reminded her she was going to keep growing and her finger would eventually just fall off if the piece was left on there. We got there. Filled out the registration form. They were assessing #39 in triage and we were #41. I read one book to Alex and it was our turn. They assessed her and we were sent to the intake desk. Two more minutes there and we were on our way into the waiting room. We weren't there for more than a couple minutes when we were escorted to our own room in the emergency department. I was impressed with how fast that happened. In less than about 15 minutes we went from walking in the door to our own room. Not bad. And that waiting room was pretty full. I don't think they want kids waiting in a big group of sickies.

After a couple minutes in the room, a nurse came in with some lube and an ice pack so we could try again to remove it. No-sir-ee. Even turning the game piece was hurting. About another hour went by fairly uneventfully. We were right across from the nurses station so I could see what was going on. Some people were brought in, but nothing overly traumatic for our Monkles to see.

Shortly after 6pm we had a little action, but that was only because the clip on the ice pack came open and all the water came out. Luckily the bed got most of it. Alex's pants just a little and her shirt a bit. I got a couple towels from the nurse and took off the sheet. The nurse also brought a gown because Monkey asked, "Do you have any back-up pants here?" Alex decided to sit in the chair for a bit instead of lying down. We visited some fun and magical places in our imaginations. Yes, there was a magical birthday unicorn that visits all princesses on their sixth birthday. Alex really wants to be a princess now!

Around 7pm we asked for another sheet so we could lay down again. So, Alex and I cuddled for a while. Around 7:30 the nursing staff changes over and they got the explanation about the game piece on the finger. The whole group turned around and smiled that knowing mommy-smile at us. That part-pity, part-holding back the giggles at how funny it really is. A new nurse came in and brought a cup of crushed ice to put inside the game piece and around Alex's hand. I had to keep her distracted for the next while so she didn't think about her cold hand...

Finally around 8pm the doctor came in to see Alexandria. The doctor looked and touched gently and knew it was going to have to be cut off. (I knew that four hours ago...) She got two nurses and they decided the ring cutter would be the best thing. I was still cuddling/spooning Alex so I just stayed like that. That way I could comfort her and restrain her other arm as the nurses worked. They had to get this fairly thick metal part between Alex's finger and the hard, plastic piece.

That was just killing her. Then the nurse had to turn the wheel manually as it ground through the plastic. She screamed and tried to fight it. She sounded like what every tv mom in labour sounds like. Screaming and yelling. She even yelled out, "I can't do this anymore!" just as any women in labour yells out at some point. I saw the glass door slide closed on the other side of the curtain. Good thing we were in a self-contained room and not just one separated by curtains. She. Was. LOUD! They tried one cut on each side of the piece, but it was so thick it wasn't giving. They tried one more cut and poor, little Alex just kept screaming. I said, "Can we give her a break for a moment?" We thought we were just going to have to keep cutting and cutting all around with the ring cutters until it finally gave. They said to me, "We might have to sedate her." In my mind I'm thinking, "Um, no."

The nurses left the room. I sang the same song I've always sung to Alexandria when she was upset. I held her tightly and sang softly into her ear and held her head. Her shaking and tensing slowly subsided and she relaxed and let herself just melt in my arms. I felt so powerful, yet helpless at the same time.

As I sang, I was also listening to the nurses talk outside. This little break was also needed for the staff. This gave them a chance to re-evaluate things. As they were talking the came up with the cast cutter.

The doctor came back in and pulled over the cast cutter. (We happened to be in the room with all the cast stuff.) She turned it on and showed Alex how it wouldn't cut her skin. I swear this thing is magic! I have NO idea how it can cut through that hard plastic, hit skin, and not cut it...

Anyway, a couple fairly quick cuts and it was off. Wish that has been the first thing tried!! When we saw Alexandria's finger we knew why she's been screaming so much. A little ring red, raw, bleeding a bit... and skin... about a third of the circumference of her finger... just hanging there. Ow! The doctor didn't want to touch it, especially with how upset Alex was, since it would fall off anyway. (The pictures were taken about an hour after the piece was removed and definitely don't do it justice.)

One nurse tried to bandage up her finger (which was difficult since it was still slippery from the lube!) as another brought her a popsicle. A blue, white and red popsicle. Popsicles make everything better. I asked to keep the game piece and they put it in a biohazard bag for us to take home - and of course, for Alex to take to school!
It was about 8:45 at this point and neither of us had had anything to eat or even drink since 4:30. We had Alex eat something on the ride to the hospital, but it wasn't much. They didn't want to give her water in case she had to be sedated. I didn't have anything since she wasn't able to. So, where do you take a kid after an emergency room adventure? McDonald's of course!

We capped off the night with a Happy Meal and then recounting the story to Daddy and Grandpa (who had been there to babysit anyway as Daddy went to work and Mommy had class and a meet-up to go to... Didn't make it to either of those, of course.) Daddy called home a couple times to see what was going on, but there was no news for him. He was happy to hear all was ok when I called him after we got out of the hospital.

I also want to mention how amazing Alexandria's kindergarten teacher is. Mrs Mustin called after school to see how Alex was doing and then again this morning to check in. How awesome is that? Small things. Huge impact.

*Update: Here is what her finger looks like today at band-aid change time. Again the pictures don't quite do it justice. There's still a ring of red around her poor little pinkie.

blog comments powered by Disqus