Last night was pretty traumatic in this household. Let me set the stage:
Dinnertime. The boys are sitting on the wooden bench at the table, cleaning up their drawings and markers. I am stuffing crab legs in the big ol’ steamer pot, and laying out frozen fries on a cookie sheet. Bill is putting on his shoes after a shower.
Suddenly: CRASH! Ear-piercing screams ensue, as I turn my head and realize the big wooden bench has just fallen over on Max’s bare big toe. There’s blood. There’s more screaming (Max’s and mine– side note: I am NOT the person to go to in a crisis). He’s in so much pain that he won’t let us anywhere near it, not with ice, not with water, not with nuthin’.
“I THINK I REALLY SMUSHED IT!!!! OW OW OW OW OW OW OW!!!! I THINK I REALLY NEED TO GO TO THE HOBSPITALL!!! OW OW OW OW OW!!!! I THINK I REALLY NEED AN ICE POP! OW OW OW OW OW!!”
I felt like my insides were being pulled out through my belly button. For sure my reaction of jumping up & down with my hands waving saying, “OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD!” did not help to calm him down. I literally felt like a mess of cockroaches that mindlessly scatter all over the kitchen floor when the lights go on. I really had to focus hard to regain my composure. Thank goodness Crisis Bill was there.
We sat him on the counter with his foot in a bowl of cool water in the sink. The toenail was already black & blue. It was bleeding at the base of the nail. It was swollen (although not as bad as I would’ve expected). Not good. He was hysterical. I know there’s not much they can do for a broken toe, but I wanted to take him to the ER just in case. He was clearly in a lot of pain.
“Max, do you want to go to the hospital & have the doctors look at it?”
“Well…. I’m really hungry! I want something to eat. OW OW OW OW OW!!”
Crisis Bill, who tore off his entire big toenail as a child & lived to tell about it, said he’s fine, no ER visit necessary. If anything, they’ll just tape it & send him home. This didn’t sit quite right with me. What if it’s broken? He won’t let us clean it very much. What if it gets infected? What if it turns gangrenous & falls off??
Of course it’s Sunday night, Labor Day weekend, there are no doctors to call, the only options are to stay home and keep an eye on it, or go to the ER, which I know would terrify him further. I decided to refer to my personal advisor for all things medical when I need answers fast: the internet. I know self-diagnosis is bad, but I can’t help it, I’m somewhat addicted. Sadly, though, not much help there; all I got was a mixed bag of “go/not go”. I did find out that if it’s fractured, it really should be reset, and if there’s a lot of blood under the nail, a small hole can be drilled in the nail to relieve the pain/pressure, and also possibly avoid it being lost, which can take 6-12 weeks to grow back. I had already figured he would probably lose the nail, being a victim of a double finger-in-car door tragedy as a teenager myself.
In the end, we decided to stay at home and wait it out. Max calmed down enough to enjoy some crab legs– pretty cool that we just happened to have his favorite dinner planned, which hopefully helped soften the mental & physical anguish a little. I did go to the local Walgreen’s & talk to the pharmacist, who was at least 12 years younger than me and made it clear she didn’t have much experience with a hysterical 4 year old when she told me to clean it with alchohol. Thanks, but I think I’d rather rip out my own toenails one by one than to have to put him through that. We decided to just wash with soap & water, and treat it with neosporin for the time being…. and Children’s Tylenol.
It still hurts him a lot this morning, and walking on it isn’t an option. Right now, he’s resting comfortably with his foot propped up on a pillow and a big bag of frozen peas on top. He’ll now let me wipe it clean a lot more, which is a good sign. He’s such a little trooper!
I don’t know how I’m going to get any shoes on him, but I guess at this point we can wait to go see the Dr. on Tuesday. Wish us luck!