Yesterday afternoon was rather eventful around here. To reward excellent behavior during some boring errands, I decided the three girls in this family deserved some playtime at the river. I parked the car, removed their shoes and socks, rolled up pants hems, and off we went! Ellie ran on ahead, headed straight for a flock of hapless birds that needed scattering. Baby Stephanie and I motored along at baby Stephanie pace...until about 1 minute 45 seconds into our outing, when Ellie began to SCREAM. IN PAIN. I snatched up Stephanie and ran to the spot where Ellie had fallen to the ground, clutching her foot and wailing in agony. If you have any idea of how much Ellie HATES for someone to touch her foot, you have some clue as to the challenge before me. I had no idea what had happened, and of course, it was a massive struggle to wrestle her foot into a position where I could take a look. During the battle, I scanned the area for clues, but there was nothing to see. She was in the sand. There was no blood. It wasn't glass. There was no piece of trash or buried old metal or anything. When I finally got a glimpse of her foot, I could see what appeared to be a splinter near the ball of her big toe. I have no idea how she could have gotten a splinter on the beach, but my task was to soothe Ellie as best I could and get it out despite Ellie's screams of pain and extreme protest against my touching her foot, all while managing to keep baby Stephanie from scooting on her little behind right into the water where she wanted to play. Luckily, there was a larger bit on the end of the splinter that prevented it from going further in. I managed to flick it out with my fingernail before Ellie writhed away from me, but it happened so quickly that it popped off into the sand and disappeared before I could take a look to see what it was. Ellie was still wailing and would not be soothed. The whole situation just seemed wrong somehow. At the swift glance I'd gotten, it did seem to be a splinter, but a splinter should not produce this much mayhem...or swelling. The area around where the splinter had been was starting to swell. I needed to take her home to clean it off better and calm her down. Under extreme duress, I managed to get them both back to the car and strapped into their seats. Ellie was still crying, complaining of pain (which shouldn't be the case since I was sure the splinter was out).
Using her carseat as my aid to restrain her from further foot-touching mutiny, I took another look before I let her out and I was unhappy to note that now the pad of her foot and her big toe were swollen and red. I called our family doctor, who was of course unavailable. The receptionist advised me to take Ellie to the children's hospital emergency room. I could see it now: "Yes, my daughter had a splinter. No, it's not in there anymore. Yes, we can wait for 5 hours to be seen..." I WAS NOT AMUSED. However, the problem remained and I definitely wanted someone else to see it. I had no choice. Off to the emergency room we went. The children's hospital is in an awful location, at the intersection of a busy one-way road and an even busier main thoroughfare. It took me nearly 30 minutes just to find somewhere to park, at which point my frustration boiled over and I started crying too. Fortunately, it was a slow day for trauma, and we saw a doctor very quickly (how old did I feel to notice she was younger than me?).
I have to say Ellie was AMAZING. She didn't fight the doctor for a minute. She let her look at her foot, touch, poke, prod...shine a light on it to be sure there was nothing left of the splinter. Stephanie had a blast too. She loved the spiral cord that attached the light to the wall. The emergency room visit was a non-event, especially when the doctor decided it was no issue since she couldn't see anything, the swelling should go away on its own and we should just go home.
Last night, Ellie slept fitfully at best. She woke up A LOT. She might have been too hot (it was warmer last night than it has been), but I suspected that darn foot. Wouldn't you know this morning it was every bit as swollen as yesterday afternoon when I rucked up at the emergency room? She had no fever, it wasn't discolored (just red), and she could put weight on it (though she didn't want to), so I let her go to school. There, I ran into a grandma who noticed her limping and thus was treated to the whole story. Without batting an eyelash, she calmly said, "She stepped on a bee."
YES! THANK YOU!!!!!
That is exactly what it was. In retrospect, it all makes so much sense! Even at the time she was wailing in the sand, Ellie kept screaming, "It was a jellyfish!" when I told her it was a splinter. I knew the pain was wrong for a splinter, but I also knew a jellyfish hadn't been the cause. Of course, the pain felt the same to her. It was a powerful sting! She stepped on a bee. I'm off to write a letter to Princess Margaret Hospital now, thanking them for their kindness and quick service, but suggesting they might take a lesson in diagnosis from a grandma.
Pronunciation: \ˈgran(d)-ˌmä, -ˌmȯ; ˈgra-ˌmä, -ˌmȯ\
Definition: mama with experience
(all but definition found on Merriam-Webster's online dictionary)