Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No (Broken) Bones About It

Today I've been home with Precocious Daughter, who does not have a broken pinky toe.

Or any other color toe.
Yesterday she was playing at a friend's house, and then there was something about building a fort and climbing on a sofa, and whammo. That's the story I got from her about how she hurt her foot. What I got from Beloved Spouse, when he walked through the door with her, was "OUR CHILD HAS BROKEN HER TOE."

This is BelSpouse's standard diagnosis for everything. Not "broken toe," per se, but "worst thing I can possibly think of based on my gut reaction to minimal information." I try to avoid telling him when I have pre-menstrual cramps, because he typically wants to schedule an appendectomy as soon as possible. In this case, PDaughter reported that she had banged her toe, and it hurt, and it was hard to walk. That could have meant "broken toe." It also could have meant she had been slamming margaritas all afternoon. Unlikely, but on the other hand, her father had her halfway to gangrene and amputation already.

There was only one way to discern the truth, and that was to actually look at the toe. Which I'm sure BelSpouse would have gotten around to, you know, eventually. After a couple more tragic soliloquies.

Hey, Olivier, that's not even her toe.
I took off PDaughter's shoe and sock and did a quick examination. Her pinky toe and the area around it were undeniably swollen. But there was no bruising and no sign that the toe bone had dislocated, or splintered, or shattered, or any of the other horrible things that would have had me rushing her to the emergency room. PDaughter said it hurt to wiggle the toe, but other than that, if she didn't try to put weight on it, the pain wasn't excruciating.

Meanwhile, BelSpouse was standing at the door with our insurance card in one hand and a DNR order in the other. I gave him a silent Look of Death and calmly suggested we try putting ice on the toe to relieve the swelling. Reluctantly he set down his bone saw and agreed.

He keeps it handy, because you never know
when somebody might get a slight headache.
So I iced down the toe and gave PDaughter some ibuprofen. Then I wrapped her foot in an Ace bandage to immobilize the ouchy-toe. By bedtime the swelling was negligible and the toe pain was manageable. BelSpouse was still shouting "X-ray!" every 20 minutes or so, but I think he just wanted to feel useful.

I'm satisfied that she just gave herself a good stinger, at most a mild sprain. Today I stayed home with her because she's still hobbling and was worried about getting around from class to class. We've been keeping her foot elevated and applying more ice, and I think by tomorrow she'll be limping but mobile. She's mostly bummed that she can't play Wii Sports for a few days.

BelSpouse has decided to follow my lead on the diagnosis. He understands that it's parents' responsibility to be calm, supportive, and reassuring when their child suffers an injury. He also understands that I will inflict actual pain on him if he starts making up dire consequences and airing them in front of PDaughter. Finally, I think he suspects that I know where he keeps the bone saw and how to use it.

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