Small girl, plus tin foil, equals ER trip

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 23, 2011

As she wiggled on my lap, the shiny-whatever-it-was she had shoved up her right nostril glinted dully in the bathroom light.

I pinched the bridge of my nose.

“It’s not coming out. We need professional help,” I said.

I was always taught that you never call someone after 8 p.m. It’s bad manners if you do and some one is not bleeding – or in our case, has something large and shiny stuck up her nose.

So, when I got the call from her daddy a little before 9 p.m. Wednesday, I knew it wasn’t good.

The first question out of his mouth was, “Has Mia been complaining with her nose?” I knew I was in for it.

He said she started complaining it hurt after coming back from church. He was the first to get a look at the obstruction and ultimately decided to call for back up.

When I arrived, she was bent over backward over his knees, and he was about to go in for it with a pair of tweezers.

I interrupted him to begin the inquisition.

“What did you do?” I asked her. “Did you put something up your nose?”

I got a nod of affirmation.

“Where did you do it? At school? At Daddy’s? At church?”

Dead silence.

“Is there something up your nose?”

A nod.

I sighed, “Let’s see.”

After copious amounts of nose blowing, there it was – something silver.

“Is that a Mardi Gras bead?”

She shook her head “no.”

No amount of trying was dislodging the object, so off she and I went to the ER.

When we arrived at the local hospital, I felt bad looking around the waiting room, which was filled with the usual assortment of people who are in the ER at 11 p.m.

The admitting clerk was on the phone, so I waited until she hung up before sitting down. Mia was dozing with her head down on my shoulder.

“Awww, is she sick?” she asked.

“No. She has something stuck up her nose.”

She smiled. I smiled, and we both laughed.

We did our paperwork and were ushered to the triage room. It was the same conversation – something’s up there and it needs to come out.

It took a while to get a room, and another spell for the doctor to come in. I’m not sure if anyone briefed him before he came in, but when I told him the problem, he looked at me quizzically and then laughed.

“OK. Let’s see what we can see,” he said.

And what did he see? Nothing. He saw nothing.

Off we went for X-rays. And what did those show? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

“I promise I saw it. It’s silver,” I told the doctor.

“I think you’re going to have to see the ENT in Birmingham. I can’t see it. Could be she expelled it,” he said.

“It’s there. Let’s try one more time before you send us,” I said. “Mia, blow.”

For a good two minutes, she blew like she was trying to push her brains through her nasal passages.

The doctor grabbed another light and there was the glint.

“Well, I’ll be,” he said.

Two sets of tweezers and 45 minutes later, he pulled it out – a wad of tinfoil the size of a nickel.


When it came out, she perked right up. “Is it morning time? I want breakfast.”

“You know what I want? I want you to never put anything up your nose again.”

Why would a small girl put tinfoil up her nose? I’ll never know, because she won’t tell me.