Previously, Isaac's Aunt Kim A. held the family record for earliest trip
to the ER. She split her head open at about 10 months on a cradle-shaped
ceramic planter that Wendy was using for her dolls. Isaac, however, has
her beat. Thursday, March 9 started out as a crazy day. We arrived at the
baby sitter's to discover the house dark and unlocked. Not having received
a call, we were concerned about what could have happened to Lisa. Isaac
went with Craig to class and around lunchtime, Wendy's office phone rang.
It was Lisa--who had left a message on our answering machine the night
before (we are very bad about checking messages)--to say her son was ill.
They had been at the doctor when we arrived. Luckily, Lisa was able to
arrange for Isaac to spend the afternoon at another home-based center in
family housing (where, incidently, Isaac will begin going when Lisa leaves
this summer). In the evening, Wendy picked him up. Isaac seemed unphased
by the unusual day. Wendy, however, was looking forward to finally
relaxing at home.
Isaac had been fussy for several days. His previous love for his
exersaucer had turned into a hate-relationship. To calm him (and to get
rid of all of the drool and spit-up), Wendy decided to give him an early
bath. A month or so before, she had noticed one of her hairs wrapped
tightly around Isaac's toe, cutting into the skin a little. Since then,
part of Isaac's bath routine involves checking him for Wendy's hair (which
has begun falling out en masse). Wendy discovered that the middle toe on
Isaac's right foot was swollen to nearly twice its normal size and was an
angry red. Against great resistance, Wendy managed to get a closer look.
She knew immediately that a hair had gotten wrapped around it--very
tightly. She tried for awhile to remove the hair, but with Craig out at
choir practice and the toe grossly swollen, she soon gave-up and paged the
pediatrician on call. The doctor advised her to take Isaac to the ER
The pediatric ER was completely full. We were given a bed to sit on in the
hallway. A P.A. came to see us almost right away, thinking that a quick
snip with scissors would relieve Isaac's discomfort. He gave-up pretty
quickly. Wendy and Isaac passed three hours in the hallway reading,
talking and playing. Isaac was surprisingly happy all things considered.
Finally around 11 p.m., the P.A. came back with the attending physician.
The attending actually cleaned out a newly-emptied exam room herself so
that she could get to the toe more quickly. She and the P.A. put Isaac on
his tummy on the bed and numbed the toe. He howled the entire time, his
face bright red and his nose streaming. Wendy tried to distract him with
talk, but he was too unhappy to notice.
An incision was made down the length of the toe on the bottom of
Isaac's foot. This released the hairs. Almost immediately, the swelling in
the toe began to go down. The P.A. removed a large amount of hair with a
The attending tried to stop the bleeding, but eventually a tiny stitch had
to be put in the incision to stop the flow of blood. After they were
finished, Wendy picked up Isaac who almost immediately calmed
down--evidence that tummy time is worse than surgery!
Isaac post-op, his foot bandaged, fell asleep on the hospital bed. The
doctor sent them home with instructions to check the color of the toe and
the capillary refill (when you press on your skin it goes white, then the
color should quickly return) throughout the night. Wendy hauled the baby
through the endless hospital corridors back to the parking garage. She
stopped by security to have her parking ticket validated and to ask if the
parking garage took credit cards--after living in the Cincinnati ghetto we
have never carried cash. The two security guards took pity on her and
pulled their pocket change to get her out of the garage.
At 2:30, Isaac woke-up to nurse and Wendy unbandaged his foot to check the
circulation. Having missed both lunch and dinner the day before--thanks to
all of the craziness--her blood sugar had gotten low. Wendy started to
black out. She was able to wake Craig to come watch the baby who was
waving a bloody foot on the changing table, while she went downstairs to
drink something sugary. Being a bit of a health-nut, the closest she could
come to sugary beverages in the refrigerator was tomato soup. While
sitting on an armchair drinking tomato soup and eating a granola bar,
Wendy heard Craig call, "I think I'm going to throw-up." Craig is
notoriously weak-stomached when it comes to anything medical. Eventually
Isaac's foot got rebandaged and he got to bed.
On Friday, we returned to the ER for a recheck. Both doctors on call
thought the toe was improving nicely, though the color was still a bit off
and the temperature of the toe was elevated. The stitch comes out in a
week and the doctor will take a look at the toe at Isaac's four month
well-baby visit on the 15th of March.
Return to Baby Isaac page.