Sunday, October 07, 2007

Toe trauma

Thursday night is when Rachel practices with her orchestra. (She is viola chair this year.) Thursday is also, not coincedentally, when Daddy takes the kids out for fast food.

This past Thursday I took the kids to Burger King. Matthew rushed ahead. "I want to open the door!" He heaved it open with all his might.

Unfortunately, his toe was in the way, and he was wearing sandals.

He shrieked and kept shrieking. I could see that it had started bleeding but I didn't think it was that bad; Matthew's prone to exaggeration in such things, particularly when he sees his own blood. I carried him inside and put him on a table where I could look at his toe.

It was a mess.

The toenail was shattered and the toe itself was bleeding pretty badly, for a toe. It was bad enough that clipping away the toenail mess myself didn't look like an option.

So I carried him back to the car and bucked him in, still shrieking. Then I went back and collared Melissa, who had run ahead to the slide. She didn't want to go but was fairly philosophical about being caught. "Matthew ow, toe."

We drove down to the instacare a couple miles away. Matthew wasn't in that much pain but he was still freaking out in a big way. I reached back and held his hand, and he made some efforts to calm down by singing, but it was only partially successful.

When we got to the instacare the receiptionist gave him a lollipop and he calmed down instantly. Then some other kids came in and saw his injury, by far the coolest in the waiting room, and started talking about times they hurt themselves. Matthew was pleased with the attention.

It was a good thing that he calmed down because we had a long time to wait. We got there at 7; they closed at 8; we were done at 10. By that point both kids were way past their bedtimes and fatigue was taking its toll on Matthew's composure. It didn't get as bad as my flight back with him from NJ when everything caused massive and noisy hysterics, but it was definitely causing extra crankiness.

First they took x-rays to make sure it wasn't broken. I was sure it wasn't but it's Procedure dammit. At least it didn't add that much time to the wait. Then they got him on the operating table. The doctor took a closer look and didn't like what he saw. "It's deeper than I thought," he said. "He'll need anaesthetic for me to trim the nail. We can either do that with a local here, or you can take him to Primary Children's where they can knock him out through the nose." I'd had needles in my toe when I had a doctor attack an ingrown toenail very aggressively. (He tried to take out the root so it wouldn't grow back. It grew back anyway.) It hurt like hell but I survived. General anaesthetic can have rare but nasty complications, especially if you're young. So I opted to take care of it then and there.

I and a tough-looking nurse held Matthew down while another nurse gave him three barrels of novocain. He screamed again. "I don't like medicine!" Now that I don't blame him for in the least, poor kid. Then it started to go numb and he figured he was good to go home, but we had to wait another 20 minutes or so for the novocaine to be at maximum strength before the doctor could operate. The nurses and I praised Matthew for being Tough.

Fortunately a kind nurse took Melissa into the staff office and gave her papers and crayons at the table during this. She had reached her own limit of how long she was willing to sit still and listen to stories, and we'd exhausted the few child-safe amusements of the OR (tongue depressers and... that's about it), so I was very relieved.

Matthew's toenail was just generally mangled at the front. That needed to come off. But it was also split down the middle almost to the base. The doctor gave me the choice of removing it completely or trying to save it with a little superglue -- the danger being that if he caught it on something it could very easily rip it open along the seam. I opted for the superglue. When he started in, the toe was so numb Matthew didn't even notice, so he put a couple dissovlable stitches in instead of the glue since the stitches are stronger.

Finally we headed for home. That's when Rachel got home, saw the house dark and deserted, and freaked out a little herself. I'd called a couple times but she'd left her phone home. When she called she was relieved that we hadn't been in a car accident or worse.

When we got home Matthew couldn't wait to tell Mom his adventure. Novocaine is wonderful stuff. We gave him some codeine before tucking him in so hopefully the pain wouldn't wake him up during the night. It didn't.

By today he is running around normally, not favoring his toe at all. Kids heal fast.

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