The Danger of Eating Popcorn

On Monday, our next-door neighbor, Nicole (age 6), was off of school. Through some very important conversations through the slats of our fenceline, it was determined that we would all go to the park together. Which we did. But then the park seemed rather hot and muggy, so we thought it would be a great idea to camp out in my family room and watch “Enchanted” together. Nicole brought her lunch over, and since my girls ate their lunch prior to the park escapade, I popped popcorn.

Somewhere midway through the movie, the popcorn was gone and all that was left was unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl. Next thing I know, Mickey’s going “Look, Mommy!” and pointing to a kernel she has perched just inside her nostril. I removed it quickly and deftly, and informed her that NOTHING including popcorn kernels were to be put in her nose. You would think she already knew this, based on the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese incident of last year that necessitated a trip to the pediatrician just to find out that it had made its way out on its own.

At any rate, when the movie was over and Nicole had headed home, I was turning off the movie and telling the girls it was time for a nap. And Mickey said, “Mommy, there’s something in my nose.” To which I replied “Is it boogers?” And she said “No.” And then it dawned on me what might have occurred, and I picked up the bowl of kernels and said “Is it one of these?” and she says “Yes.” GREAT!!!!! FABULOUS!!!! Just what I wanted to hear!

So here’s the thing: it’s so far up there that I can’t even see it when I look in her nose. Lacking a flashlight, I lay her on her back on the end table, turn on the light, and tilt her head. Lo and behold, waaaaaaaaaay up there I see the light reflecting off something. The kernel.

We tried blowing while closing her other nostril. No go. I tried sucking it out with the nasal aspirator. No go. So we called the pediatrician and get an appointment for 4:10. In the meantime, Mickey gets a one hour much-needed nap.

At the pediatrician’s office, the nurse practitioner attempts removal via a syringe filled with water and some tubing… trying to flush it out I guess. You can probably surmise how well that went over. She was NOT a happy camper, and all her supportive sister could say was “Mommy, she’s being really loud.”

Next, we were referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor in Round Rock, but seeing as how it was already 4:30 on Monday, we would have to wait until 3:30 the following day.

The next morning (Tuesday), I was really and truly convinced that the kernel had come out based on the following evidence:

1.) Mickey said it wasn’t in there anymore.
2.) She seemed to be moving air just fine through the affected nostril.
3.) Her nose had ceased to run on that side.
4.) She wasn’t in any discomfort anymore.

But since I didn’t want to be the mom who just canceled her appointment and then found her child with a festering infection the following week, I took Mickey back to the pediatrician for a looksie. Looksie results: maybe it’s still in there, maybe it’s not; you should still go to the ENT. Ugh.

So I had a friend come watch Carebear while I took Mickey to the doctor. Luckily, the waiting room was child friendly (she had a blast with the duplos!) and the doctor has little girls in preschool also, so he knew just how to talk to her, etc. Unfortunately, even with the best bedside manner and treatment available, a 2-year-old has the tendency to freak out when someone starts putting long metal thingies up her nose. 😦 The doctor attempted to take the kernel out once without success, then administered a local anesthetic up Mickey’s nose to hopefully make it easier. Once she recovered from the indignity of the spray, he came back in and had me restrain her to try one more time. No go. She flipped, and I have never heard her scream so loud. 😦

The doctor decides this isn’t worth the emotional trauma it’s causing, and suggests we have her sedated at the hospital for removal of the “foreign body”. He also informs me that Mickey’s tonsils are “+3” (+4 would be touching) and that this could be the cause of her difficulty staying asleep at night. Then he says that although he can’t see them, enlarged tonsils typically are a sign that the adenoids could use some works as well. And he throws in that her ears are chock-full of earwax, way more than is typical for a child of 2 years. The solution? Knock out the foreign body, ear way, tonsils and adenoids ALL AT ONE TIME.

Whoa. That’s a lot to absorb. The procedure he will do is really just a shrinking of the tonsils, not a true tonsillectomy, and he’s not removing the adenoids, just “shaving” them. So her recovery time will be fairly short, but it will necessitate an overnight stay at the hospital because she is under three years old.

So that’s where we will be on Friday. I know it’s routine, simple, and not that big a deal. But I’m still freaking out a bit despite reassurance from my pediatrician.

This will be a hysterical story to tell Mickey when she’s older… how her incessant desire to stick things up her nose resulted in a hospital stay. Ha!

2 thoughts on “The Danger of Eating Popcorn

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