Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The $150 Pencil

She's usually the Girl Who Cries Wolf, but this time her shrieks seemed more than the typical over-exaggeration of a minor pain.

In between the screams, we made out "I stepped on something" and "It's bleeding a lot."

Now "bleeding a lot" to this particular 9-year-old could mean that she saw something red in the next room a couple days ago. She is prone to hyperbole and hypochondria and probably any other behavior that starts with "hyp."

But it was bleeding. A bit. Esteemed Husband took a look at her foot, while I went to the couch (where she had either stood on or jumped on whatever-it-was) searching for the guilty party. Didn't see anything - not even a pine needle.

EH thought it looked like a splinter - and I'm pretty good at removing those. Needles, tweezers, rubbing alcohol. Target-dollar-aisle reading glasses for super-sharp close vision. Soaked her foot in warm water to clean it off. Got my needle and prepared to work whatever out of her foot.

The 1/4-inch cut has a grey edge. Graphite. Esteemed Husband finds the weapon wedged in between the back couch cushion and the seat. Pointed upward, with our daughter's name on it. Literally. It's a personalized pencil, without its point.


I'm prepped to operate. I know what I'm looking for. But I can't see the actual point in her foot. Chuck the cheap glasses and remove contact lenses for better close vision. Still can't see anything except a gash that looks deeper than your typical splinter. Start to feel woozy; luckily I was already sitting on the floor.

This is above my surgical skill level. Call pediatrician's office. It's 9 PM and the office is closed. Is this an "emergency" worth tracking down a doctor on the phone or an "emergency" worth a visit to the emergency room? Foot is slightly swollen, so the answer is ER.

Esteemed Husband is the hero in the climax of our story. He carries daughter (who he later finds out weighs 94 pounds) off to the car and to the hospital while I stay at home with the elder sibling - a tween who spends most of her day attached to mp3 player and/or Nintendo DS and interacts with the family in a most disaffected way. She bursts into tears when I tell her what happened. She's so used to her sister's, um, vocalizations that she didn't even come out of her bedroom to investigate the earlier drama.

While Tween and I wait for news, I employ a diversion tactic: The Simpsons Movie DVD she got for Christmas. It works, and she's laughing and asking for popcorn. Instead, I let her eat limitless Xmas stocking candy while I collapse gift boxes and barely notice Spider Pig. Even Homer cannot distract me from my worry.

Anyway, a mere hour (a millisecond in ER time) later Husband and Daughter are on their way home. A minor surgical procedure removed what we hope is all of the pencil point. The doctor wasn't sure he got everything and sliced around a bit, but did all he could without causing "further tissue damage." Doc said she'll most likely have a residual "tattoo" from the graphite for the rest of her life. (If I can restrict my daughters to tats on the bottoms of their feet for the rest of their lives, I'm good...)

Esteemed Husband marvels at how our histrionic daughter barely whimpered during her ER treatment. Daughter shows off her gauze-adorned foot. I look over the antibiotic and gauze-changing schedule and wonder if the pain shot she was given will wear off during the night.

Anyway, so here we are. Her foot hurt a lot this morning, but hopefully Motrin will be the trick. She gets to be a princess today and be waited on hand and foot ;)

Oh yeah, the post title -- our co-pay for the ER visit was $150. Luckily, they take Visa.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Jesus Wants My Soul Back

Oy vey!

My aggravation quotient is way up there. I usually try and ignore negative blog comments (actually, I get so few comments I kinda enjoy the negative ones.) But the tone of some recent ones was getting too judgmental for me to leave unchecked.

See the comment thread at Spending Christmas with Jesus.

Anybody who would like to defend me, or even condemn me more, as long as you do it intelligently (FYI to Anonymous #2 -- it's supposed to be "too" when you use the phrase "too late") feel free to jump on the bandwagon.

I've said my piece, though, so don't expect a tete-a-tete.

Oh, credit for the blog title goes to Jackdaw4:

Jackdaw4 - Jesus Wants My Soul Back

Friday, December 05, 2008

Looking for a Savior Underneath the Mistletoe

It's Christmas again
December is here
Hasn't it been
A wonderful year

With all the plans you're making
And all the time you're taking
Greet the next one with good cheer
Won't you dear
As you ring the chime
Just because it's Christmastime

And on the tree all the ornaments go
Tinsel will cover where the branches don't grow
There's lights on all the houses
Spouses with their spouses
Children playing in the snow

One in the sleigh and one upon the horse
Keeping on track's another matter, of course
That's the great divisor
You are now the wiser
Maybe just a bit less so
Touch and go
Til you stop on a dime
All alone in Christmastime

Christmas again
December is here
What did you wish for
What did you fear
Look at your behavior
Looking for a savior
Underneath the mistletoe

You should know
It is less a crime
To be all alone in
Christmastime plans were to post something about Christmas songs, my husband's huge collection of said, and some good (imho) non-traditional ones. It was to be a happy post -- penance, if you will, for my last cranky-ish one.

Starting out with "Christmastime" -- the song written by Michael Penn & Jon Brion; recorded as a duet by Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, and by Aimee solo. (Three guesses as to which recorded version I prefer.)

Yes, Virginia, some people should be legally barred
from using Photoshop.

But -- I got so engrossed with making sure the Christmastime lyrics I was posting were correct to the word that I've run out of my allotted blogging time. Although we can only guess what horrors would await me if I chose the incorrect of "divisor" or "deviser" (upon reflection, the "great" preceding tells me it's likely "divisor," as in the 'greatest common divisor'... ) It all adds up to more time spent on trivial stuff, time that I will never ever get back. Story. Of. My. Life

Anyway, Arianna Huffinton (charmingly shilling her book about blogging on The Daily Show the other night) says blogging should be off-the-cuff and unpolished. The first unedited thoughts out of your head.

Viola! I will oblige her here.

Last Christmastime, Esteemed Husband and I decided we would work up a little rendition of "Christmastime" and bestow our singing talents upon the unenlightened masses (that would be our respective families.) Granted, we barely ran through the song twice at home beforehand - still - who would have guess the room-clearing power of our rendition? At both my family's gathering and the gathering with my in-laws.

We'll have to dust off our version again this year for when we want a little alone time at the holiday get-togethers.

Granted, it's a song nobody there knew...and a wee bit dark at that. But one of the things I love about "Christmastime" is how it turns minor with the second verse, as the lyrics start to reveal the shadows cast by the holiday sparkle...okay, maybe it's not all quite that melodramatic, and I'm most likely mixing metaphors wildly. But I enjoy the little journey the lyrics take from "a wonderful year" to "all alone."

My favorite line, or at least the one that sticks with me, is the "Look at your behavior, looking for a savior, underneath the mistletoe." It's nearly a chastisement, and maybe that's why I like it.

And now it's your turn -- feel free to comment, oh ye vast legions of readers (all two or three of you...and that's including husband) with any favorite Christmas songs, lyrics, or room-clearing hints.