"Uh, Mom? You know the seed inside the cherry? It is stuck in my nose."
Thus began the Cherry Seed Saga.
She is the youngest of five children and I have never had a child who favors sticking small, round objects in their noses or ears. While I consider myself lucky there, I also found myself inexperienced.
many, many years ago on an episode of ER, a patient came in with a button up his nose. The doctor simply had the guy plug the unaffected nostril and blow. Pop! Out it came--like magic.
That was the first thing we tried. "Blow," I instructed my daughter.
She sniffed. Hard. "No, the other way," I explained and then emphasized the point with a snotty demonstration.
After several failed attempts at blowing out instead of sniffing in, she finally got the idea. "BLOW," I cheered.
I always seed my cherries with a pair of tweezers so I grabbed the pair I had been using and had her stretch out on my bed. The tweezers were much too fat for her tiny nose. I could see the seed clearly, but grabbed a flashlight just to verify. Yup, there it was, hanging out just at the point where the soft tissue joins the harder cartilage. The bigger problem was the size of the seed. It was barely smaller than the hole making a tiny escape route for air, mucus and water. Her blowing was never going to put enough pressure on the seed to force it out.
What does one do when one must solve a problem one has never before solved? That is right.
One goes to one's internet--the source of all truth.
The fountain of knowledge.
The answer to all questions.
Over the course of the next several days, here is what we tried:
- Induce a sneeze. This is harder than you might think. When we finally got the sneeze to come, it was impossible to plug the unaffected nostril. Ineffective. And, plus, gross.
- With a bulb syringe, try to grab the seed with suction to pull it out. I could not get a good suction connection. Ineffective.
- With that same bulb syringe, squirt water up the unaffected nostril to try to flush the seed out the plugged nostril. Not only was this ineffective, but it made a terrible mess and I nearly drowned my youngest daughter.
- Per instructions found on this exhaustive manual called The Internet, I placed my mouth over my daughters mouth, plugged the good nostril and tried to force the seed out with my own breath. Completely hilarious! Unfortunately, also completely ineffective.
- On two occasions, we tried swimming--specifically jumping into the water repeatedly. With all of the water that flushes through the nose and mouth during splashy, aggressive water play, we were very hopeful that some of the water would loosen the seed, allowing it to fall out on its own.
- Getting the child to laugh with pop in her mouth--forcing the fizzy drink out her nose. She swallowed before she laughed. Every time.
- Because I could see the seed so clearly and knew that if I could just get her to hold still, I could pull it out. I gave her Benedryl and waited for her to fall into a sound sleep. Taking the tool I fashioned out of a bobby pin and with the flashlight in her mouth to provide peripheral light, I began my attempt. She jumped awake at the first brush of the metal on her skin. I enlisted the help of her father and her brother. We papoosed her to the bed and I once again attempted removal. I got the tool in the right place and began to pull on the seed. It rolled. Try again. Rolled again. Try, roll, try, roll. Giving up, I felt a sense of relief that I didn't lobotomize my daughter. Of course, she still had a cherry seed in her nose.
- Theorize that the seed couldn't be grabbed because it was too slippery. Try squirting dry baking soda in her nostril to absorb some of the slippery stuff. Fail.
- This is about the time I hollered at everyone in my family. I was frustrated because I'd tried everything I could think to try and when I turned around, the house was in mayhem. Why, do you suppose, was the toilet seat off of the toilet? I may never know. Then, I felt bad about losing my temper and sat down on the couch with my super drowsy little girl, apologized to my family and quieted my crazy brain. There I thought and thought and came up with one more crazy scheme.
- My husband put the smallest attachment on my new vacuum cleaner and we stuck the thing up to the plugged nostril. This, as you have probably already deduced, did not work.
The next day, my husband and I went to the temple. As I sat in the quiet, reverent place, I prayed for an answer. Do you know what I was told? "Go to the doctor." Seems obvious, but it was more of a demand than a suggestion. Knowing a visit like this could be expensive, I kept hoping for the next great idea. I am a DIY gal, after all! But, no. I was instructed to go to the doctor.
So we did. Two doctors, actually. Three hours and $423 later, there is no longer a seed in my daughter's nose.
Thank goodness for those golden pliers.
May there never be a sequel.