Danger Where We Least Expected It!
Sunday we attended Dan’s family reunion. The reunion was held in the large party room of a senior living center and was hosted by Uncle Ross and Aunt Karen. The little boys played baseball on the Wii and Aunt Diane facilitated a craft time for the little girls. Into this dangerous situation we naively walked. Elizabeth and Miss P and Annie were delighted to decorate their own flower pots with markers. Decorating flower pots may at first glance seem like a harmless activity for young girls, but have you ever noticed that little finger sized hole in the bottom of the flower pot? While flower pot makers may claim that little hole allows for drainage of the soil, it in fact poses a great risk to little fingers everywhere.
We were driving happily home from the reunion when we heard a wail beginning in the back seat:
“My finger is stuck in a flower pot!” Elizabeth sobbed.
One second later:
“My finger is also stuck in a flower pot!” Miss P joined in the wailing.
We zoomed home to apply lotions and oils in an attempt to remove the offending pots.
We managed to remove Miss P’s pot in the privacy of our own home, but Elizabeth’s finger had begun swelling and turning purple and no amount of pulling and twisting gained us even an inch.
Dan and Charlie stood around scratching their heads and strategizing about the best tools to shatter the pot without shattering the finger (Dan was thinking drill. Charlie was thinking hammer), while I ran her two doors down to consult neighbor Sarah, a nurse practitioner at Children’s Hospital, for a second opinion.
Neighbors Cam and Sarah live in a duplex. They enjoy the comfort of two living rooms and the convenience of an upper and lower kitchen. If I need to borrow a cup of sugar, and neighbor Sarah doesn’t have it in her lower kitchen, she runs upstairs to check her upper kitchen.
Unfortunately neighbor Sarah has a permanently broken doorbell. Fortunately she also has a permanently broken lock. Since I never know if she is living up or down, I usually just barge right in and run around in her house until I find her. I am usually accompanied by a crying child who announces our presence.
On Sunday, Elizabeth and I barged in and to my relief I heard Sarah in her upper kitchen, who heard Elizabeth crying in the lower living room, yell, “Uh oh!” and come running down the stairs to our aid.
She took one look at the finger and said, “Change of color means straight to the E.R. Best not to break the pot at home. “
So away we flew to the E.R.
As we ran through the waiting room, we were received in triage by my neighbor Michael: backyard chicken farmer by day, E.R. nurse by night.
I met Michael when Tonja and I were scoping out other peoples chicken coops. He was a wealth of information on chickens and other things, and even though we had just met, gifted Tonja with a beautiful baby sweater he knit himself with organic cotton, replete with buttons he carved from nuts he harvested down by the Mississippi River. Very South Minneapolis. (See what you have to look forward to Melissa.)
It was a brief but joyful reunion for Michael and me, as we bypassed all paper work and raced at top speed down the hall with Michael calling for help to save the finger.
The finger was saved. It was saved by a couple of men in scrubs standing around scratching their heads and discussing at length the best tools to use to break the pot without breaking the finger. There was also a lot of rummaging around in the tool drawer. At the end of the day folks are just folks making their best guess. Except some folks go to medical school and then get paid a little more for their best guess.
I think we could have managed it at home.
Each time the hospital staff commented on how rare it is to have a patient present with a flower pot on her finger, I thought to myself how close we came to bringing them two patients with identical flower pots on their fingers. How narrowly we escaped that unfortunate reality.
Just a minute more of swelling would have done it. What a spectacle we would have been. Even more than we already are.
Below: 1. Attempting removal at home with Charlie’s help.
2. Tools men use for flower pot removal.
3. Elizabeth relaxing post-removal.