In nearly ten years of being a physician, I have pulled foreign bodies out of every orifice of the human body. I have washed bugs out of people’s ears (and peas, and corn) and pulled bits of foam out of nasal passages. I will not even begin to address the other orifices and the things I have found there. This is not that kind of blog.
Every time I have pulled a popcorn kernel out of a toddler’s nose as their mortified parents protest their embarrassment, I have been smug. I have smugly informed them, that it is really common and a “lot of kids stick things in their nose or ear.” Inwardly I was thinking, “Yeah, stupid kids. Not my kid.”
That was until today.
Z has been picking her nose for about two weeks. We have been trying to discourage this behavior, and we thought it was just something she was going through. We tried to not make a huge deal about it. We hoped she would grow out of it. Finally, I had it with her today when she kept her finger in there for about an hour straight, and being the competent physician I am, I dusted off the old bulb-suction and went to town.
I saw something back in the back of her right nostril. I thought to myself, “This is the mother-load of boogers.” I suctioned several times, and it moved forward, but not enough to get out, but enough to make it apparent that this was a foreign body. I asked her if she stuck something in her nose, and she giggled, “Yeah, Mommy.”
This is where my expert medical training came in. I grabbed a set of curved Kelly forceps from the manicure kit, and told my two-year old to “hold still”. With the illumination of a flash light, and a couple of fishing expeditions, I was rewarded with a chunk of styrofoam, and a smiling toddler saying, “Thank you, Mommy.”
I found myself examining this, thinking to myself, “When was the last time we had a package delivered with foam?” and, “How long has that thing been in her nose?” She has been having trouble sleeping at night and now I am second-guessing if this was the problem all along. Oh, and don’t forget the amazing diagnostic skills that allowed this physician to overlook a giant piece of foam in her toddler’s nose for at least two-weeks. Mommy fail. Doctor fail. I guess it why they recommend not treating yourself or your family.