It was Friday the 13th, and I'm not superstitious. Dear Husband commented that evening about some silly poll on the number of people who are superstitious and because of it do not leave their homes on Friday the 13th. It just happened that the kids and I did not leave the home on this particular Friday the 13th. It had nothing to do with superstition; it had to do with having one fabulously joyous day on which there was nowhere we HAD to go. The house was relatively clean. Even my work for the week was nearly caught up before the weekend. This kind of thing just never happens in my life very often anymore. In fact, I cannot remember the last time. I spent the day not thinking at all about it being Friday the 13th. I schooled the kids peacefully. The phones didn't ring. My only chore for the day was the six loads of laundry that I juggled between Math and Handwriting and Science and Social Studies. I enjoyed some outdoor play with the kids and the dogs as well as some games and silliness in the downstairs playroom. As 5 pm drew near, I was satisfied this had been a very productive and even relaxing sort of day, and I was feeling very little stress or pressure. Days like this are too few and far between.
I eventually succumbed to the kids pleas for television by 5:15 pm while I prepared a meatloaf for dinner and then spent some time in the office shredding sensitive papers, rearranging piles, and filing stuff that has accumulated for the past year. This is how the husband manages things. I stay out of it until I feel like I'm going to go insane or until I worry that one of our children will wander into the office and be buried alive under the sliding stacks and mounds of stuff awaiting sorting and shredding and filing.
I was mindlessly shredding the piles of paycheck stubs from the year 1982 or something, when Dear Son came screaming into the office crying above the drone of the paper shredder, "Mommy! I need a snot rag!" He was nearly hysterical. "I put a sticker in my nose, and I can't get it out now!" and he continued to wail in hysterics. I'm pretty sure I exclaimed something along the lines of "Oh crap!" but probably a tad stronger than that.
I took Dear Son upstairs to put him under my strongest reading lamp so that I could peer up his nose, all the while pleading with him how he could do this after the Trident wrapper thing.
I saw nothing but black way up in the uppermost caverns of his nostrils. He had informed me that it was a black sticker he had shoved up there. I mumbled the derivative of "Oh crap!" again as I went for the flashlight. I peered up there again and saw something black all the way as far back as I could see. I was trying to remain calm, but my mind kept racing between my child's welfare and the steep bill this was going to cost us at either urgent care or the ER.
I did what many hysterical mothers of young children do when they don't know what else to do: I called my mom. She is a (retired) nurse, after all. This means that she can advise on anything from high fevers to amputated limbs to stickers shoved up one's nose. She re-affirmed what I already knew: I would have to take Dear Son somewhere to get medical assistance in extracting the object from the depths of his nasal passages. There was that expletive spewing from my mouth again.
I called the closest walk-in clinic. I don't regard them very highly. They've lost my respect for a variety of reasons. But I was desperate. I explained to them the predicament and asked if they could assist in this sort of thing, and I was told that while they could try, they would probably end up referring us to the ER anyway, and so given that we were going to have to pay for this "procedure" out of pocket, we would probably be better off just going to the emergency room in the first place. Really. I let this sink in. My mind was really racing now. I was worried about my son going through a "procedure" to extract this object from the depths of his nose. I was worried about the cost of said "extraction." And now I was also envisioning sitting for hours in the ER waiting room among hoards of Swine Flu sufferers coughing and sneezing all over my boy child. I had one last option. I called the pediatric urgent care associated with our doctor's office, and they assured me that in the vast majority of cases they are able to extract objects from kids' noses and they rarely have to refer to the ER. Okay then. From our past experience with them, they charge more than the walk in clinic, but less than the ER. Seemed like the best option at this point.
Husband walked in the door just in time to rush off to urgent care. A 30 minute drive (with a brief stop to drop Daughter off at Grandma's house) and 20 minute wait later, we were in. Son had complained of his nose hurting on the drive. I was worried about him, like any good mother would be. The nurse's assistant brought us back to an exam room and asked several questions. She left. A Registered Nurse came in and asked us all the same questions. She left. A Medical Doctor came in and asked us all the same questions again. She left. I nudged Husband and asked him if we were going be expected to pay for each of these people's time when all they had to do was review the first person's notes and we'd all be on the same page. The doc returned. She couldn't help giggling. She sees kids do this sort of thing fairly often, she says. Her own grandson had decided to shove an open tube of Super Glue up his schnoz and squeeze the glue out while it was up there. I didn't ask how that one turned out. She was chuckling, so it must not have been too bad.
She peered in one of Son's nosrils. She peered in the other side. She called me over to peer in. "Do you see anything?" she asked me. Well, no, I don't see anything at this particular moment and now that this very small light is shoved up his nose. She said she needed to check his throat to see if it had moved down there. She gagged him with her tongue depressor. He screamed and squirmed. Nothing. She didn't say much, but she left the room. She came back with two more nurses. I again wondered if we would have to pay all these people for their individual time. Dear Son was clinging to Husband and begging to go home. We convinced him to allow us to have another look. The crew had brought a sheet in to wrap his arms to his sides and keep him from flailing. I was thinking of how much I would absolutely hate this sense of helplessness to have my arms strapped at my sides while someone jabbed around in my nose and throat. We made it sound like a game for Dear Son. He was going to get to pretend to be a burrito. He actually fell for it, and didn't even complain until someone started to stick tools in his nose. Who could blame him? They used something to spread his nostrils wider because they were swollen a bit from his allergies and that made it hard to see up there. They looked in one and then in the other before they decided that it was all clear.
What? I asked incredulously. There's nothing THERE? I asked at least a dozen questions and was told about a dozen or stories of crazy things they've extracted from kids' noses, including a bean that been up a kid's nose for so long that it had sprouted. Seriously. They hypothesized that Dear Son had either gotten it back out himself or swallowed it, and that if there were still a sticker up there, it would dissolve in time and make its way back out. Dear Son had insisted over and over again that he shoved a sticker up his nose. I asked him for the three hundredth time if it felt like there was something still up there, and he was SURE he put something up there. He first said "Yes!" and then said that maybe it had already come back out. While thankful that everything was okay and that my boy child was healthy and nothing worse was wrong, I was also beyond exasperated. The staff handed the boy a Thomas the Train sticker on our way out, and I told them it was a sick joke and a ploy to keep kids coming back in. I quickly warned Son not to dare consider shoving this sticker up his nose. They also gave him a purple Popsicle.
The boy slurped happily and obliviously on his Popsicle, and the husband and I exchanged bets on the way out as to how much this visit, that could have completely been avoided, was going to cost us. We agreed that it would probably be somewhere between $200 and $300.
It was Friday the 13th. Turns out it didn't matter that I didn't leave the house all day. I suddenly felt a little superstitious after all.