Conversations about getting Emily’s ears pierced were always happening in our house when she was younger. Jay and I agreed when she was born that they were her ears, and therefore getting them pierced would have to be her decision. We didn’t care if she wanted them when she was 2 years old or 50 (like Oprah), we wouldn’t take her until she wanted to. We didn’t care one way or the other, but whenever we were at the mall we’d ask her if she was ready since the piercing place was right there. She consistently stated every time that she would get them pierced when she was 10. Then one day, right before she started Kindergarten, we asked her again and she said that yes, she was ready. She was 6. And I cried and she cried and then we bought ice cream.
She’s had her ears pierced for almost 3 years now, and although she’s amassed an impressive collection of earrings she doesn’t like to change them out too often. It’s pretty normal for her to wear the same pair for as long as 4 weeks at a time before moving on to something else. Obviously it makes no difference to me how long she wears them, but I’ve become a little more enlightened to the dangers of leaving them unattended for so long thanks to the craziness we went through this week.
Last Sunday morning, Emily asked me to change her earrings before church. I went to take them out – and while the first ear looked normal, like this…
…the second ear definitely did not:
The edges of the back of her earring had somehow gotten themselves tucked into her earring hole to the point that it was stuck. I tried wiggling it out and pulling gently on her ear to stretch the hole a bit, but it was really hurting her. We also tried putting ice on it to numb it first, but that didn’t work either. I talked to a few mom friends, and although I’d never heard of this before it had actually happened to a couple of their daughters too, but they were able to successfully wiggle theirs out. We weren’t getting anywhere, so I made an appointment at her pediatrician’s office, thinking at least they could numb it properly first.
On Monday her doctor took one look at it and immediately sat down and wrote a referral to a local pediatric surgeon, saying there was nothing he could do about it without the proper tools and not to worry because there was another little girl who came in a month earlier with the same thing. What? How have I never heard of this problem? Emily wasn’t in any pain as long as no one was messing with her ear, so we made an appointment for Tuesday after school.
The pediatric surgeon took one look at it and decided he was just going to yank it out with clamps. I’m not one to question doctors, but I could see panic spread over poor Emily’s face so I spoke up and insisted on some sort of numbing agent, even convincing him that it was worse than he originally thought. In the end he agreed to use some sort of freezing spray and a local anesthetic (via a shot right in her ear), and although she was shaking and quietly crying during the whole procedure, she later admitted she didn’t feel a thing. He also decided to make a small incision on her ear to make a larger opening for the earring back to slide out. No yanking needed – whew!
I don’t know if it was the warm room, the fact that I wasn’t feeling well already, or watching someone cut into my daughter, but near the end of the procedure I felt lightheaded and dizzy and began to fear that I was barf. I must have been wearing the feeling all over my face, because the doctor told me to sit down and the nurse opened the door, turned down the air conditioner, and brought me some water. It killed me, but I had to let go of Emily’s hand. Hashtag mommyfail.
Then she got a Bandaid (at which point Julia started jealously pointing to 400 invisible boo-boos on her body), and we were on our way. We cleaned it with alcohol over the next 24 hours, then cautiously stuck a new earring in the hole, unsure if it had closed up. Thankfully, it hadn’t, although I was shook up enough over the whole experience to make sure the next earring backs would NEVER get swallowed up by her ears! Can you blame me?