Another Childhood Rite of Passage

Thursday afternoon, just as I’m finishing a coffee with a friend, Annie’s Kindergarten teacher calls my cell. She was speaking her hesitant English, I guess so that I would better understand the situation.

“Annie is crying a bit. She has put something up her nose and I can’t get it out.”

“Is she O.K.?”

“Yes, you can see it. I just can’t get it out.”

I could tell by her voice she was nervous…I guess not the favourite call to make to a parent…but not terribly worried about the sitiuation. Although I chuckled a bit filling in Nicole and Markus, I still left right away. I wasn’t sure what I would find. Screaming child? Pouring blood?

Obviously, there was no huge stress. Annie greeted me at the door with a smile on her face, ready to tell me about her predicament. Melanie tilted Annie’s head up and I could indeed see a small plastic bead from her favourite craft toy she plays with every day. I’m sure with the correct tool it would take 2 seconds to get out. But not having the correct tool, and not about to start shoving knitting needles up my child’s nose, we went to the hospital.

Annie was completely fine. I, however, got turned around and lost at the small city that is the Innsbruck hospital. This teaching hospital is one of the best in the world, in a country that has one of the best health care systems of any country. Part of that system is individual emergency areas for different problems: back, respiratory, even a separate emergency for the many skiers that are helicoptered daily to the hospital. All well and good, until you find yourself going to 4 of them in different buildings before you comprehend enough of the German to understand that there is a special ER for ears, nose and throat.

Once in the right place, everything went smoothly. There is never more than a few minutes wait at any of the ERs (I’ve been to the Innsbruck emergency, either for myself, Markus or Rebecca, several times over the last 10 years.) We were called in after two minutes of registering into an area filled with equipment attended by several doctors and nurses. A young female doctor helped us out, letting Annie sit in my lap. She was so lovely, speaking to Annie in a friendly voice, always showing her and explaining the instrument (light, suction, pokey thing) before using it. And she spoke perfect English, thank the dear lord. Annie was great, not fussing over anything. The doctor removed the bead and made sure there weren’t others to be found. She even gave Annie a sucker on the end of a tongue depression stick. Yellow, to match the extracted bead.

Rebecca did the same thing, I believe with a frozen pea, back when she was Annie’s age. And Melanie said one of the little boys put something up his nose last week, but she had been able to get it out herself. What is that tendency in children? Putting things in your mouth, I kind of get. But the nose? Where is the satisfaction?

But anyway, alls well that ends with nothing permenetly lodged in the brain. On to the next adventure…

One Response to “Another Childhood Rite of Passage”

  1. Jen Hayden says:

    Owen did the same thing. Same thing! A bead… so when he blew it just came out the whole. I pinned him down… Liam helped… grabbed a paper clip and went to town. Kid was going nuts. I had to go “old school” because a trip to the ER in California would have cost a fortune. Health care bastards.