The Littlest McMains has Rocks in her Head

Monday at school, for reasons that only make sense to a six year old, Maggie shoved a piece of gravel into her ear. We weren’t aware of this until Tuesday morning, when she mentioned it to Kathy, who verified its presence, but was unable to remove it.

We sent Maggie off to school where she only stayed for an hour or two before complaining to the nurse about the rock. The nurse wouldn’t let Maggie return to class (which I thought strange, given that the incident happened there at school the day before and no fuss was made about it then), so Kathy picked her up and brought her to the doctor.

The good news: the doctor’s office had the right equipment to get the rock out easily. The bad news: the equipment was broken. Their efforts with the other tools at their disposal only pushed the rock further into Maggie’s ear canal. After interminable fiddling, they declared that we would need to go to an ENT. (We still had to plunk down our copay, of course.)

So on Wednesday, Kathy and Maggie tromped off to the ENT’s office. This doctor looked things over, informed us that the stone had worked its way all the way to Maggie’s eardrum and was resting against it now. As a result, Maggie would need surgery to have it out.

Now, to my layman’s mind, surgery equals cutting. I had visions of them flaying Maggie’s little head open to extract the rock and then sewing her back together like some little Frankenstein monster. Fortunately, the procedure turned out to be much less dramatic: Maggie would merely be anesthesized and then a little suction probe would be used to grab the stone and extract it. The only reason for the anesthesia was because putting the pressure on the eardrum would cause a good deal of unavoidable discomfort.

For some reason, the doctor wanted to schedule this first thing in the morning. I’m not sure of the wisdom of going into surgery before one has had a breakfast taco and some tea, but the doctor presumably knows his cycles better than I do. Kathy and Maggie arose this morning at 5:30, and were at the hospital by a little after 6:00. By the time I’d gotten the kids off to school and made it to the hospital myself at about 7:40, Kathy was chatting merrily away with the doctor, who had already concluded the procedure and presented Kathy with a specimen jar containing a very expensive piece of gravel.

Five minutes later, we got to go see Maggie, who was happily watching cartoons and sucking down apple juice. I stuck around long enough to help open the Littlest Pet Shop play set (packaged at Fort Knox, evidently) that Kathy had bought to help put Maggie’s mind at ease about the procedure. (I told Kathy that I was going to shove a rock in my ear a week before the Nintendo Wii comes out to see what I’d get. She wasn’t particularly amused.)

So, Maggie’s done, and should be back at school tomorrow, where a whole playground full of little stones wait for her further attention. Next time, the hospital bills come out of her allowance.