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How To Get Something Out Of Your Nose

On Saturday evening I was lounging around in the woods outside of Monticello, trying to visualize success. Within the hour I was to take the stage as the alpha rooster in our version of this ballet (video forthcoming). I would risk everything, lay it all on the line, and leave it all on the stage.

But it was not to be. Not that night. For presently a great wailing arose from the craft tables. Who else but my son? My impulsive progeny, with a pony bead jammed way, way up into his nose. Now, the question How to get something out of your nose? might sound like a simple one, and it usually is…unless it’s gone up there so far that the naked eye can no longer detect it.

We ignored the folksy remedies being shouted in our ears by well-meaning relatives, drove to nearby Monticello and found the hospital. By the time we got into the car he had stopped crying and started asking for Popsicles, so I suspected that he had probably swallowed it at that point.

The doctor, who was in a perversely good mood, “let us in on a little secret.”

He said it is often possible to dislodge anything from the nose (from miniature racecars to Legos to Barbie shoes, as he told us), no matter how far up there it has gone, with this simple* trick:

Close the nostril that does not have anything crammed into it.

Seal your mouth over the child’s mouth and blow lightly. Watch with delight as the offending projectile rockets out onto the thigh of your jeans. He said this is where many ERs start with this particular problem, and I can see why it would work.

Now that asterisk I attached to “simple” above. Simple does not apply to the wiry three year old who does not want you to look into his nose, clamp it shut, et cetera.

I was able to overpower him with the help of his mother and the doctor and one nurse and a passel of threats and beseechings. They all said “We’ve never seen anything like this. He’s the strongest kid we’ve ever had in here.”

A fine compliment, I suppose, but one that I couldn’t appreciate as I tried, again, to clamp my mouth over his bloody, snotty, nose.

Nothing came out except what you’d expect, which was good news–the doctor was convinced that the bead wasn’t in his nose, but said it could be in his palette or in his lungs, so he recommended an X-ray.

This was a sleepy little town. It took 40 minutes for the radiologist to arrive. In the meantime we all watched an indescribably lovely sunset and wandered around the hospital. I tried briefly to read on my Kindle but my son demanded that we dance instead.

The first X-ray proceeded without calamity or riot. He simply had to stand in front of a machine and smile. His valor was above reproach.

For the next X-ray, he needed to lie on a table with his head in profile, pressing his ear against what looked like a plate-sized piece of chalkboard.

And this is when Mayhem reared its scaled head again.

I shall spare you the details of all but the X-ray itself. I’ll be posting the pictures of it as soon as I can get them into my computer.

95% of the X-ray is of my long fingers, which are struggling to hold his stubborn head down to the table. You can see his nose peeking out between my metacarpals.

10 seconds after we were done he was running around the room demanding that everyone give him five.

They all did, and the doctor slapped his palm as if there was nowhere in the world he would rather be.

That was the only unusual part of the evening. The rest just felt like being a parent who had escaped his rooster dance by the slimmest or margins.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Todd July 20, 2011, 5:37 am

    LMAO That was an awesome story. Thanks for sharing, Josh. Kids–gotta love ’em. 🙂

  • Summer February 17, 2012, 8:50 am

    That happened to my kid only with a dog bead.