11.22.2008 | By: Alisa Callos

Of Beads and Ears and Gratitude



I was in the shower when Sami burst into the bathroom. “Mom! Zach stuck a bead in his ear!” I don’t know if all seven year olds have a propensity for drama but it is Sami’s forte. “You have to come right now! He can’t get it out!” I heaved a sigh of exasperation—peaceful, uninterrupted showers had vanished at her birth, right along with my serene and tranquil life. “Go tell Zach to come see Mama.” I said hurrying now to finish my shower.

A few minutes later, three-year-old Zachary wanders nonchalantly into the bathroom. “Hi Mom.”

“Zach, did you put a bead in your ear?”

“Nope. Sami did.” Yeah right, I think, wondering if this is all just a story or if he really does have a bead in his ear.

“What color is the bead?” I ask. Details are good. The more consistent they are the more likely the story is to be true.

“Red.” He states very unconcernedly.

“How big is it?” I ask.

“Like this one.” He hands me a tiny white bead about two or three millimeters long. Great! I thought. Where there is one bead you are guaranteed to have more. He most likely does have a bead in his ear.

“Why’d you stick a bead in your ear buddy?”

“I didn’t. Sami did.” Likely story. I smile.

A short time later, I was dressed and ready for battle with flashlight in hand. It is practically impossible to see into a child’s ear canal without an otoscope but I was going to give it my best shot. Zach had consistently pointed to his left ear when asked which ear the bead was in so fine—we would start with the right. A few long moments filled with squirming and squiggling and I caught a glimpse of a shiny tympanic membrane. Good. Now I had something to compare the other side too. Over we go. “Zachary James! Hold still!” Nothing but darkness.

I went in search of a brighter flashlight. After about ten minutes of looking, and a holler at my husband asking if he knew of where the ‘good’ flashlight was, I gave up. The ‘good one’ could be anywhere. My littlest child has been fascinated with flashlights for some time now and was infamous for stealing and hiding them. I asked him if he knew where the flashlight was.

“I think…maybe…at Nana’s house?” He has the ‘I’m just an innocent little child’ look on his face and anything missing is always at my mother’s house. Ha!

Resignedly, I sat him back on the table and gave the left ear another go. Eureka! For a split second, I glimpse a red bead sitting cross-wise in the ear canal. OK. We’ve verified there is a problem and here is where I felt profoundly grateful. I am an emergency room nurse. My training in the ER had prepared me for just such a dilemma. We did not have to go to the emergency room, which is 32 miles away. I grabbed a small syringe and a glass of warm water and a few minutes later out popped the little red bead. Crisis averted.

A big sigh of relief—he hadn’t even cried. How grateful I am when little solutions like this work as they should.

18 comments:

Stan Ski said...

I can imagine the relief - kids always seem to manage such amzingly dangerous feats.

Granny Smith said...

What is it that prompts small children to put things in their ears? Your story is well told, and how lucky that you knew exactly what to do.

Linda Jacobs said...

I love your writing style. It captured my interest right from the start and held it all the way through!

Rinkly Rimes said...

What a relief! When things o right we always feel grateful.

tumblewords said...

Well written story! I think I held my breath all the way through but it was difficult to do because I wanted to laugh - your writing has a wry sense of humor that I truly enjoy!

"Sunshine" said...

That was such a cute story! Glad it had a good ending. Your son must be tough--I cried when I Elmer's glued my hands together as a child...

Lilly said...

Loved the story!

latree said...

IF that happened to me, I'd still rather go to ER and let the doctor or nurse do it.I wouldn't have the gut to.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

So how do you flush it out with the water and syringe without pushing it further in? My daughter is 12, so probably not much danger, but I do know other tots. ;)

Alisa said...

It really just depends on the size of the object. (i.e. beads, bugs etc.) If the water can get past the object, most times it will flush it out. I also attached a tiny catheter to the end of the syringe to focus the water. If it is wedged in tightly, of course, this most likely won't work. (I also probably wouldn't advise trying this at home without proper training. =D )

Quin Browne said...

sean's went up his nose, and down his throat by the time we did the $900 er visit (1989, so, it was cheaper)

brought back memories...

rosey said...

You had me really worried for a minute! I am glad it turned out so well. Thank you for being so kind about my piece. I've only being doing a blog for two weeks and people like you make it all worthwhile.

keithsramblings said...

That brought back so many memories of things my kids stuck in various orifices when they were growing up!

BJ Roan said...

I remember those days well. At least you knew how to handle the situation without panicking.

anthonynorth said...

A nicely told true story. It's amazing what can end up in the ears of children - and even the occasional adult's :-)

*~sis~* said...

thank goodness you were calm and knew what to do!! and the syringe idea is a great trick, i will file that away under "just in case" :)

niyo said...

hehe. gratitude indeed! a fun read, especially considering i don't know the first thing there is to know about children!

Karin RN said...

Ha ha. My son stuck a bead in his ear, too, I tried to get it out with your same tools but they did not work. I took him to the clinic and they had trouble too (almost got the EENT involved). It finally came out with some handy microscopic tool.

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