So we're back from Urgent Care.
First up - we're all wearing pants. No - that really is news. It's been so grotesquely humid at times that I wish everyone was as accepting of nakedness as I'd like Tina Fey to be. Although I should add the stipulation that I want all my neighbors exempt from that. I'm not sure I could stomach some of that. Anyhoo - it was cool enough for when we left to wear sleeves and pants, but by the time we had finished our whirlwind tour of agony and scariness it was hot enough for me to slap on a pair of shorts.
I'll cut to the chase though. That whopping great big sliver is out. I called my family doctor to see if he'd have a go and they said nope - go the Emergency Room. Which is demented. If they think it's a waste of time to take this sort of problem to a doctor, then going to a place that saves people from death and dismemberment is a touch silly if you ask me. So I took her off to Urgent Care. If you have no scope for what that sort of thing is - if hospitals were Tesco's then Urgent Care is basically a Tesco Express. I took this photo on the way back out so don't think I'm heartless and callous. But it was just odd to me. Someone had spray-painted this beside the picnic table right outside the building. It's a cross (which I'd wager most people associate with Jesus) with a sad face on it. As an artistic commentary of the Crucifixion it says more than I initially thought it did.
My daughter was refreshingly brave and patient. She let the doctor pick up her foot, hold her big toe between his thumb and fingers and didn't flinch at all as he moved his face closer to look. Then he popped out to get a set of tweezers and she seemed fine. Then he came back in.
Now I should point out that from the moment we agreed that my daughter had to have a professional remove that thing my wife had been repeating, almost mantra-like, that the doctor would send me and my son from the room while he and the nurse did their stuff. That clearly wasn't happening here. And he didn't cater to anyone's favored method of doctoring. My wife would want to know ahead of time all the information - laid out like process-mapping - what would be happening. No - he just had that half-cheery/half-knackered doctor thing going on and was not really picking up on any body language reservations my daughter was quickly trying to convey to him. Particularly when he held up the clutch of scissor-tweezer things up at face-height as he wandered into the room cheerily saying, "let's give it a go then." They looked cold, medicinal and fine to me. To my daughter's expression they probably looked a bit like this (ignore the salt shaker - I think that's for size-comparison rather than to suggest that they were used to cut off a limb and then salt was sprinkled mercilessly into the wound)-:
Then the doctor picked up her foot and moved the pointy end of the scissor-tweezers at her like he was sheathing a sword into her toe. At which point she completely lost it. A nurse came back in to assist but the doctor quickly gave up and merrily stated that this method wasn't going to work. He clearly has experience at this sort of thing (hopefully all professional). My daughter was crying. If you don't have kids you need to understnad it's not the pain or discomfort that is causing the crying. It's not really even being unclear about what is or is about to happen. It's the fact that someone else is stopping/making you do something you don't want to. In this case a strange man was holding her leg and pulling her foot towards him - and she didn't want to. And worse would be she was aware that she would lose that particular fight. It's terrifying in that context. But he gave up - which probably accentuated the fact that he was the one making the decisions (even though legally I was) and she calmed down. But just like her father she aspired to find humor in the situation so asked the nurse why she was wearing pajamas.
As I was agreeing with her that they do indeed look like pajamas the doctor bundled back in brandishing a massive needle filled with novocaine. Then with great speed and precision he picked up her foot and told her that what he was about to do would honestly hurt a great deal. Then he shoved the needle point deep under her toenail. Dear God did that girl scream. She was loosely holding my hand at the time. I know people often say that in moments of pain that a smaller person will grip their hand so tight that they crush it causing damage. Not my daughter. The surprise of the whole thing married to the lack of control over the situation caused all hope and effort to just rush out of her. She went limp in the middle of the scream and gave up. Which is fucking horrible to witness and feel. Thankfully she's just old enough to understand somewhat that I and he can be trusted in the eventual outcome. It's this exact thing that causes parents to turn into pitchfork-wielding seekers of justice when a person in a position of authority (say a doctor, minister, teacher - but especially a parent) betrays that trust without compassion. But as she screamed I held her close to me, with her confused little brother grabbing my leg somewhat shielded from the exactness of what was happening - but aware that something had hurt his sister but Daddy seemed to be saying it was okay and it had to be done. The doctor then gave that sympathetic smile - one he probably makes fifty time a day as he applies discomfort to people to help them - and told my daughter that he could help her properly now and she won't feel it anymore.
Then it got weird. Another nurse came in with a pile of stickers and a plush toy octopus for my daughter. She also brought a few stickers for my son. She was very nice. She also had some water and was well aware that when kids get worked up they can start coughing and their gag reflex starts going haywire. My daughter does that but somehow managed to keep that in check here. But oddly when the nurse came in she said to my daughter, "Hey sexy - the hard part is over now?" I've heard that phrase used like that before. It's right up there with women calling their male partners, "Daddy" for flat-out fucking odd in my view. The nurse then asked my son - whilst pointing at his Spongebob sticker - if he can sing the theme song. Which she then sang with wavy arm motions whilst my daughter sobbed. I know why she was doing it. It wasn't to divorce the prior situation from the current one - thereby putting distance between the shock and pain caused to the feeling now. No - it was to completely divert the kids attention from the fact that the doctor was about to swing back around with the tweezers and get that sliver out as quickly as possible.
And that is what he did. He poked her toe to see if she could feel it. She didn't so he announced to me as a prompt, "okay Dad - we're going to do this the old fashioned way." Which everyone took to mean that it was going to happen now, quickly, so hold her down so it is done as quickly as possible. At least I and the nurse took it that way. It would have one hell of a shock if he pulled out a Civil War surgery saw and started cutting off her foot. Or weirder - clunked two huge pots of animal grease and honey on the metal table whilst using an Egyptian heiroglyphic How To Treat Wounds papyrus. My daughter took it that way too because she started howling like a wounded bear. I bent over her so she couldn't see what was happening properly as a protective measure.
The doctor though felt the need to add some color-commentary right as he managed to pull the sliver out. My daughter was in the midst of a primordial guttural growl at this point. But he still managed to say, "Oh I don't doubt that hurts. After all that is the exact opposite method of how they torture us." The one nurse nodded at this. I can wager a guess at who the "they" and "us" are supposed to be. I didn't think it the time or place to point out "we" are quite capable of torturing all sorts ourselves. But as far as the other part of that point goes - having splinters rammed under nails really is a way that people are tortured. My toe hurts just thinking about it.
She's fine now though. At first she refused to let it touch the ground. She also believed the sun (and any potential rain that may fall) would harm it - like her toe was now a Mogwai or something like that. She held it aloft with more conviction (knowing that letting it drop would lead to disaster) than Daniel Day Lewis would playing her as a man in her biopic. But after getting home she liked the idea of trying out activities to see if she could do them. We called it her Toe Trials to make it more interesting. Basically she feels her toe (as in she's aware it exists now in a way ou don't notice normally). But with shoes on she jumps, rolls and runs around perfectly normally. Here she is before the Trials Of The Toe sat with a Band-Aid on her toe (not really needed - but they hold magical properties as far as kids are concerned) and on her turtle's arm. She is - of course - making a ridiculous face as well.