Special needs

Ouch! How to deal with medical non-emergencies?

After her daughter hurts herself, Anchel Krishna wonders how other parents handle these situations.

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Syona’s pierced ears. Photo: Anchel Krishna

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.

We pierced Syona’s ears when she was six months. At her first birthday my cousin gave her a pair of little white gold hoops (the same style she got for her own girls). Syona never paid much attention to her earrings and we really hadn’t had any issues.

Read more: The debate: Would you pierce your baby’s ears? > 

However, over the past few months she’s started to notice her earrings and occasionally pulls at them for no apparent reason (we even went to the doctor to get her ears double-checked). On Friday, Syona came home from nursery school and I immediately noticed that one of her earrings was missing. Dilip called the school to let them know and then headed out to the car to see whether luck was on our side.

In the meantime, I decided to take her other earring out. I figured that even if we happened to find the missing hoop it was time to switch out to a different style that she couldn’t pull off. So I tried to open it. It wouldn’t open. I tried again, this time a little harder, but was very careful not to pinch her skin. The little hoop would not budge.

We ate lunch, cleaned up and Syona’s caregiver arrived. She tried and couldn’t get it off. So I attempted to do it again, only this time the thicker part of the earring shifted into the hole. Syona screamed. I swabbed the hole with rubbing alcohol and moved the earring back so the thin part of the post was in the hole. At this point I realized I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. This wasn’t an emergency and a trip to the emergency room or doctor seemed really unnecessary. Syona’s first therapist showed up. She tried to help us brainstorm what to do. In the meantime, we called Dilip’s brother (an emergency room doctor), who had no idea what we should do. His suggestion was to go to a jeweller (he thought maybe they had a tool to cut the earring off). My idea was to take Syona to the place that pierced her ears in the first place (maybe they had done this kind of thing before). But we were all really just perplexed about what we do when there’s a non-emergency. When Syona’s second therapist showed up she was able to open the earring (it turns out the post is a little bent and we need to get the earring fixed. We later found the missing earring in the laundry room).

The funny part about parenting a child with special needs is having really complex things become the norm. Parents get used to wheelchairs, equipment, monitoring for seizures, administering medication, tube feedings, and even more serious things. I know what to do in the event of an emergency and don’t think I would hesitate calling 911 should the need arise.

Read more: How do you deal with the tough days? > 

But this in-between, non-emergency left me so confused and perplexed. All it took was two therapists, one professional caregiver, and two parents to remove one little earring. I guess it really does take a village, doesn’t it?

What are your tips for dealing with “non-emergencies” with your kids?