Friday, January 31, 2014

PSA: What Happens When You Go To the Doctor Because of a Smashed Toe (or Finger) (Updated)

WARNING: This post contains pictures of a purple toenail and swollen toe.
On Monday afternoon, I was walking past Jeffrey with my arms full of things to put away, when I noticed he was messing around with a bar stool, tipping it back and forth. I paused on my way and said, "Please don't do that; you're going to get..." *WHAM* Bar stool to the toe.

Not even 5 minutes later
His toenail immediately turned purple, and he cried for quite a while and didn't walk around much for the rest of the day. I asked around, and the consensus was that the way to treat this sort of injury was to have a little hole drilled in the nail to release the pressure. Given the amount of screaming that occurred at Jeffrey's last shots, I knew I did not want to try this at home. Also, I wasn't sure if this was one of those things that, if I took him to the doctor immediately, they would just roll their eyes at me and say we needed to watch it for a couple days, so I decided to skip that experience and just watch it for a couple days. I did give him some ibuprofen for the pain.

EDITED TO ADD: If he had broken the skin/nail, I would have taken him in right away because foot wounds like that are notorious for getting infected.

I tried to go to bed early that night but, a couple hours later, I got out of bed when I heard heartbroken, frantic sobs of, "I don't want to die! I don't want to die!" coming from the hallway. It seems Joseph a helpful brother had matter-of-factly commented how sad it would be if Jeffrey died from his toe injury 2 days before his birthday. It took an hour or so to calm him down. It took me a LONG TIME to get to sleep.

Thank you, helpful brother.

The next day, the purple had spread, the toe was definitely looking a little puffy, and he said it hurt to wear a sock.

The third day, his toe was so swollen that I expected his toe nail to pop off at any moment from the pressure.
The picture doesn't do it justice; it was really bad.

But it was his birthday, and I didn't want to ruin his birthday with an unpleasant trip to the doctor, so we went in the next day.

While we drove, I told him a little bit about what would happen when we got to the medical clinic. I tried to explain things to him a little ahead of time so he would know, generally, what to expect. I presented a calm and unworried face so he wouldn't become alarmed. (I truly wasn't worried; by boy #4, I'm pretty resigned about these things.)

When we checked in, a couple people made comments about this having happened DAYS ago and what did I expect them to do about a broken toe AT THIS POINT. I told them I was worried about the swelling, not the possible break.

While we were waiting for the doctor, I told Jeffrey that the doctor was going to need to look at his toe, and that he was probably going to do something to it to make it feel better. He asked me what the doctor was going to do, and I told him I didn't know, which was true! I didn't know...exactly...what he was going to do. As soon as the doctor came in the room, I told him it would be best if he did NOT tell or show Jeffrey what was going on. (At his shot appointment, Jeffrey was so terrified about the shots that there was no reasoning with or bribing him, so I knew it would not go well if he had a specific idea of what was coming.) The doctor looked a little puzzled but he followed my lead. He went to get some back-up and whatever the tool was that was going to burn a small hole in Jeffrey's toenail.

When he came back, I laid Jeffrey on the bed and leaned over him, pinning his top half down and blocking his view. He asked what was going to happen, and I told him that the doctor was going to do something to his toe to make it feel better. He asked what they were going to do, and I told him I would tell him that after the doctor was done. The other guys held his legs while the doctor did his thing. Of course, the first tool broke, so the doctor had to go get another one. Jeffrey looked a little apprehensive, but stayed pretty still and did not scream! When the doctor used the 2nd tool to make the little hole, Jeffrey didn't know exactly what was happening but laughed nervously and said it tickled. It hurt a little bit when someone pressed on his toe gently to help the fluid come out, but it was quick, and then it was finished!

The doctor had made a tiny hole in his toenail, about the size of a pin head. Since Jeffrey wasn't screaming or flailing around, it was VERY FAST. His toe IMMEDIATELY looked and felt a lot better! 24 hours later it isn't draining and still looks good.
4 months later, the toenail fell off to reveal a new, bumpy toenail that had grown in about halfway; I assume it will keep growing until it covers his toe again.


Swistle said...

This is the kind of thing I find VERY HELPFUL. I have filed it away, and feel better for the filing.

Doing My Best said...

When this happened, I thought, "I should write a post about this like Swistle does because the posts she's written about various experiences are so helpful!" =)

Liz said...

Thank you for this!!!

Sarah Anne said...

I am SO glad that went way better than expected! Poor guy!

d e v a n said...

I didn't know they would drill a hole in it! I hope I remember this when the time comes (since it probably will) that I need it. It sounds like it went pretty smoothly, so PHEW on that!

shin ae said...

Yes, this happened to me. It really didn't hurt at all when they drilled the hole.

My (at the time)todder-aged son dropped a ukelele on my foot from a height,which hurt, but was no big deal. I thought it was healing, but about a month later out of the blue it started hurting terribly and throbbing so I couldn't sleep. That's when I went to the clinic and they drilled the hole. It was amazing to me how it made everything feel all better so quickly. I'm glad Jeffrey's toe is feeling better, too.