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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The popped finger

Four year old KP wanted to play outside with her older brothers and sisters who had just built a see-saw from some old boards, a tree stump and who knows what else.  Apparently she got just a little too close at just the wrong moment because it wasn't long before there was screaming, crying and running.  Oh yes, and blood.  I learned something very quickly that day.  Smashed little fingers don't flatten like a pancake.  They pop open like a grape.   It was immediately clear that we were going to spend the afternoon at the hospital getting stitches.

When things like that happen, there is no question what is needed to do.  Not so clear are the times when you just don't know if an injury is bad enough and if it will get better on its own.   The same is true with illnesses.  No one wants to take a sick child to the ER and find out she just had a cold.  But no parent wants to miss something that is truly an emergency.  It is a judgment call and personally, I think it's better to err on the side of caution than have regrets later.   The decision is ultimately up to you and your gut instinct. 

If you're unsure what to do, a quick call to your doctor's office can help determine whether symptoms can wait or should be seen immediately.  They are a wonderful resource for parents, especially unexperienced ones!  They also can prevent an unnecessary trip to a crowded ER.

At the hospital with KP that day, the doctor wanted to give her a general anesthesia because of her age and the procedure.  I told him that I thought she'd be ok with just a local.  The doctor told her not to watch.  She held perfectly still and stared intently at the doctor's face.  I watched her closely and realized what she was doing.  I asked her if she was watching her finger get stitched through the reflection of his glasses.  She nodded slightly and continued watching.  I guess we didn't have anything to worry about  :)


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