Keep Calm and Carry On


After an intense, pain-filled day with my six-month old, I was reflecting upon the importance of keeping calm and carrying on, they say, as a parent. The Brits are on to something with this keeping calm and carrying on thing. So, let me explain just exactly what this intense, pain-filled day included. (Warning: you may never want to put a sock on your child again!). The night before last, I noticed that my six-month old had a somewhat swollen middle toe. It appeared to me that maybe there was some lint or hair stuck around it, or maybe that that lint I thought I saw was fungus. I didn't know, but what I did know is that my six-month-old screamed when I touched it. This was particularly alarming considering she hardly ever cries. The next morning, I gave her a bath and washed off what did appear to be lint, but I noticed miniscule hairs still strangling her poor little toe. As hard as I tried, I couldn't seem to get all of the hairs free. Worse yet, her toe was getting more and more red and swollen, as well as the rest of her foot. It also started to ooze puss (gross, I know!), and I was seriously getting concerned about losing her toe as the hairs were strangling the life strangled out of it. After the pediatrician told us we should be able to solve this problem at the office, rather than an urgent care or emergency room, we rushed to the first appointment of the morning. Things did not go as smoothly as I had hoped, however. It was so bad that a physician's assistant and host of nurses were unable to free her toe. To my horror, they recommended we rush to the emergency room where they would paige a surgeon to do the job who could numb her toe in the process. My anxiety continued to build duirng the ordeal and hearing that my little baby might need a needle in her toe to numb it did not help matters! As we were walking out the door, the offic assistant said that the dermatologist across the hall could maybe be of help. I breathed a tentative breath and let her skilled hands work with my baby's foot. As I held my screaming infant still, my heart was breaking. She was delirious with pain, and I was helpless to make it stop. A couple of tears slid down my cheek, but I knew I had to keep calm and carry on. Meanwhile, my three-year-old was sitting in the corner, staring wide-eyed at the scene playing out before her. After 30 more intense minutes, the dermatologist had managed to remove hair on not just one, but two toes. Another toe was slowly being strangled by miniscule hairs as well and I didn't even realize. The laceration around the one toe was deep, but thankfully stitches were not needed. It would need continued monitoring, however, for infection. I finally breathed the breath I had been holding all morning. She would be okay...With a prescription for antibiotic ointment in hand and a now sleeping, exhausted baby, I walked out the dermatologist's office, feeling so thankful. Thankful that the ordeal was over, thankful we didn't have to go to the emergency room, thankful that my baby got the help she needed, and thankful for great behavior from my three-year-old. Throughout that harrowing experience, I was reminded of a coule of things. First, I may never put socks on her feet again for fear of stray hairs! More importantly, though, I was reminded that as much anxiety as I may feel, I had to keep a strong front. If not, I would not be able to think clearly and my three-year-old could become alarmed and scarred as well, and of course my infant's fears would have also intensified. Children learn more by what they see us do than what we tell them to do. Our actions have to match our words. In addition, kids want to feel safe and know that the adults in their lives can figure it out. Even if we don't have it fgured out, we can fake it til we make it, as they say. So, I did just that. I breathed prayers for peace and healing and then knew that I simply had to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!


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