Two weeks ago Michael walked up behind my mom when she was closing her sliding door and managed to get his left index finger caught in her sliding door. By the time he got home that evening, the tip of his finger was swollen and the nail was black. I considered taking him to the pediatrician, but he seemed to be in decent spirits. However, by Thursday evening the nail was very swollen and I was starting to get concerned about an infection, so I took him in.
The pediatrician prescribed antibiotics and ordered x-rays. X-Rays? It never even crossed my mind that his finger might be broken. The doctor strongly recommended that we have the x-rays done at the local Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) satellite or to go to Bryn Mar.
I was just sick at the thought that my little baby’s perfect little finger might be broken. As a parent, you know that your child will get scrapes and bruises, and after your child starts walking and running you even get used to them. But, a broken finger, a deep cut, or heave forbid, something worse, is just the most heart breaking, hepless feeling in the world. Every time Michael would hold his finger up and say, “kiss it better,” I just wanted to cry. He’s too young to learn that mommy can’t always kiss it better.
On Friday I spent an hour on the phone trying to actually speak with someone at CHOP to schedule an x-ray. After breaking down in tears I finally got someone to explain that they don’t do walk in service and they are booked solid for weeks. I wanted to scream, “Don’t you people now how important this is? My child’s finger might be broken!” To be fair, the receptionist at the doctor’s did try to warn me that CHOP wasn’t the right place to go. But the doctor insisted that we needed to see a pediatric radiologist. Note to self, if the receptionist is questioning the doctor, I probably should too.
Fortunately, when I called Bryn Mar, they told me to come right in. My mom and I drove right down for the x-rays. What a wonderful hospital. I’ve never been treated with so much respect and speed in a medical office before. They actually treated me like a valued customer. I was impressed with their care, and saddened by what this says about most of the medical service I encounter.
The doctor ordered x-rays for both hands so they could compare growth plates. Have you ever tried to get six x-rays of a two-year-old’s hands? It’s almost impossible. Three of them required both me and the tech to hold his hands still. He screamed the entire time. I tried to explain that this was for his own good, but he’s too young to understand. For him it was just a torturous 10 minutes.
As it turned out, his finger is broken. It’s a clean break, the bone is aligned, and no growth plates are effected. The pediatrician directed me to wrap his finger with medical tape for 3-5 weeks. I’m not entirely sure that the doctor really understands two-year-olds very well. I tried wrapping it in three different kinds of medical tape, and finally gave up after Michael removed the tape in under a minute. What are you going to do?
It’s two weeks later, and Michael seems to have bounced back fine. He did lose his nail, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering him. I really hope that the nail grows back, but there’s not much I can do to help it. At this point, it’s clear that both my mom and I are more upset about the whole ordeal than Michael is.
This past weekend, I had some electrical tape out to fix one of Michael’s toys. He walked up to me and insisted that I tape his finger with it. After all of my battles to tape his finger with medical tape, I was actually annoyed that he wanted me to wrap his finger with plastic tape. I considered it until I realized it was the wrong finger. Little stinker.