Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Here's why you shouldn't bite your fingernails. Or your toenails.

This post is going to sound a lot like last month's The wart is gone. If it comes back, it can stay.

I don't know about you other parents, but I hear daily complaints about a sore neck or a hurt knee or a blurry eye or an injured finger, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. And like most good parents, I ignore it all. At least until the patient has complained several times about the same thing for at least two days. I followed that rule and then finally took a look at Alli's sore finger. After all, how serious could a sore finger be? Well, I felt pretty guilty when I saw it. The whole end of her finger was swollen and red, but the thing that disturbed me was that the "moon" on her nail was puffy and GREEN! So off we went to the convenient clinic.

The nurse took one look and said, "Oh, boy. We're going to have to stick a needle in and get that drained." One thing you should know is that Alli is terrified of needles. Here's what instantly happened to her face:
- Her eyes got huge and started leaking
- Her nostrils sucked in sealed shut
- The center of her lips poked out and the sides squeezed in
- Her little chin crinkled and shook

The nurse felt badly for making her upset and then broke the news that we needed to wait about 30 minutes for the doctor. Alli calmed herself down by making up a song to the tune of She'll be Coming 'Round the Mountain. The first verse went something like, "She'll be coming with a needle through the door!"

We got a straight-shooting Indian lady doctor. Her worst grade in medical school was probably Bedside Manner 101. But maybe just a C, not an F. At least she tried. She felt she could calm Alli down by explaining every detail of what she was going to do.

After her finger was numb, I held Alli's head and good hand while she laid back. Dr. Indian Lady (DIL) showed Alli the blade, which looked like any Exacto blade. Bigger eyes. Bigger tears. Then DIL said she was going to poke. Alli was freaking out, but I was holding her close, trying to keep her still. DIN asked Alli if she wanted to watch. Really? No.

Then DIN said, "Mom, Mom. Look at dis. Look, Mom!" (It reminded me of the lady who threaded my eyebrows.) I really had no choice, so I looked. And and I got to see DIL squeeze the pus out of a hole she had cut. Boy, I sure am glad I didn't miss that! I realized I was in a difficult situation, needing to choose a reaction that revealed no sign of disgust, that gave the doctor the appreciation she was looking for, and that did not alarm my freaked out kid. It went something like this. "Oh, yes. Oh. Ummm hmm."

It must not have been enough for DIL because she asked if I saw the pus. Alli lifted her head to see, and I gently shoved it back down, out of range of the puss. I tried to better express my reaction, using a little more enthusiasm. Then DIL asked the nurse for the blade and said she needed to make the hole a little larger. Alli paniced and tried to lift her head, but I firmly held her forehead down. She got through it just fine, and DIL saved the little finger.

This is kind of gross, but here's a picture of her finger 24 hours later. The fingernail may or may not make it through.

We think the infection started because she bites her nails, so that's how I came up with the title of this post. Please don't bite!

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