Family Magazine

Eleanor and Her Fingernails

By Sherwoods
Thursday morning started out very well.  Chores were finished quickly, school went smoothly, and we were almost finished half an hour early.  As I read through the last few grammar exercises with Kathleen (please label the subject pronouns and object pronouns in the sentences), I considered what to do with my extra time.  Maybe I could start lunch early and get an extra-long nap.  Or I could work on some organizational things for school.  And of course there's always Facebook.
Then the screaming started.  
I've acquired a fine tuned sense of screams throughout my nine and a half years of parenting.  There are the irritated screams when one child has taken another's toy.  And then the frustrated screams; this toy just won't come apart they way it's supposed to.  Screams of fear when the daredevil car ride is just a little too fast.  Pain screams when a finger gets pinched or a face accidentally kicked.  
But this screaming was none of the above.  It was the scream of pain that meant blood, and lots of it.  
I bolted across the floor to Eleanor, who was sitting next to the running treadmill screaming and screaming and screaming while blood dripped from her fingers to the floor.
Eleanor and Her Fingernails
I scooped her up, rushed her to the bathroom, washed the fingers, and inspected them.  The tips and fingernails of her pinky finger, ringer finger, and thumb were bleeding and torn.  They appeared to be unbroken, or at least without any visible bones sticking out, so I bandaged them up, gave her a double dose of ibuprofen, and called Brandon.  He told me to call the doctor, so I did.  If she's still unconsolable in the afternoon, give them a call.  Otherwise, buddy tape the two fingers and keep everything clean.
Eleanor and Her Fingernails
After Eleanor's nap I consulted with Brandon, sending pictures, and he agreed that she would probably be okay.  Eleanor had calmed down by then so we decided to wait until the morning and see if any swelling had set in.
Eleanor and Her Fingernails
She wasn't any worse in the morning, so we said thanks for keeping us out of London and the surgeon's office and I went on with my day.
Eleanor and Her Fingernails
By Sunday the fingers had scabbed over enough that we stopped taping them (have you ever tried to tape a baby's fingers?  They're very, very little) and declared the crisis over.  The fingernails had fallen off Eleanor's ring finger and thumb, but we had hope that they would grow back.  
Tuesday was International Women's day.  We took the children to the botanical gardens and everyone had a nice picnic.  I noticed that Eleanor's finger looked pretty swollen and could tell that her temperature was rising.  We put her down for a nap and when she woke up a few hours later, her temperature had spiked to 103.  So Brandon called the long-suffering local doctor (yes, these things always happen on a holiday, on the weekend, or at night) who met him at the embassy.  She attempted to lance the finger, but nothing other than blood came out, so after some poking and spraying with antibiotic, she sent Eleanor home with oral antibiotics and an appointment for the next morning.
I took Eleanor in for the next three days, and by Friday she was declared to be on the road to health and free of her dressing.  As the doctor looked over Eleanor's poor thumb, she shook her head and sighed.  "I'm pretty sure that thumbnail isn't going to grow back.  The nail bed looks too damaged."
And so, at the tender age of twenty-two months, Eleanor has lost her thumbnail forever.  When she gets her nails done for her wedding one day, she'll have to tell the tale, one that she will have told countless times, of how she stuck her hand in a treadmill as a baby and the nail was ripped off.  And then her irresponsible parents let the thumb get infected and she was disfigured for life before she even turned two years old.  Both she and the manicurist will shake their heads at such derelict parents - who would do that to a baby? 
So for the count, we now have four out of the five children scarred for life; two chins, one eyebrow, and now a fingernail.  But no broken bones.  So I guess we're not doing too badly.

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