Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Glass Splinter Through My Heart

Well. OK, it wasn't glass and it wasn't my heart or indeed my anything or even indeed anyone's heart, but you'd have thought it was given the drama it created :-//

Yesterday morning Emily got a large splinter in her palm from an adventure playground. She was only a bit upset at the time but was worried about having it taken out so we said we'd leave it and see if it worked itself out after a bath. It didn't - in fact the area around it started to swell up, turn a funny colour and generally look nasty. Oh dear. It had to come out. It was one of those right under the skin jobs, there was no free end to pull out with tweezers. So how were we going to get it out, she asked apprehensively. The word needle was mentioned. Cue apocalypse.

A full two hours of hysterical crying and near asthma attacks later, the splinter was finally removed thanks to Jon's deft work once Emily was finally too exhausted to scream and pull away any longer. It was extremely traumatic for all concerned :-(( At several points we had to seriously consider taking her to hospital as she could barely breathe with fear. It was going to get infected if we left it there - what were we supposed to do? We'd already searched the net for tips and tricks and tried everything advised. Well, once it was all over of course there were cuddles and snuggles all round and she'd forgotten the trauma within minutes. I daresay it will stay with we two adults a goodly while longer. We had this same thing last time Emily lost a tooth, too.

Once she'd settled to sleep, we had a serious chat about it. The fear and panic Emily displays when she's in any way injured or in any way confronting even relatively minor pain is completely beyond normal. She's absolutely terrified, can't breathe, can't control her screaming, can't be reasoned with, can't be comforted. It's horrible; makes us feel like such useless parents and it breaks our hearts that we can't reach her at those times to get her through it gently. After a lot of research last night we think she may genuinely have a fear disorder/phobia centered on blood and injuries. Although she's got slightly better over this last year - for instance, a nettle sting no longer produces this reaction where a year ago it definitely did - it seems she's in for a very long haul of abject terror for some while yet. It can't be fair to just leave her to go through that. I know a lot of people would just consider her extremely babyish to react that way. Some of her "friends" have been known to laugh at her (and God knows what she'd be facing if she was at school). In other ways, however, Emily's incredibly mature. Whatever's going on in her head when she hurts herself is far, far more complicated than being "silly" and "babyish" or whatever other labels those of an unkind disposition may wish to attach.

So: we're currently mulling over whether to seek a professional opinion from a child psychotherapist or similar. Haven't reached a decision yet, but we'll see.

Aside from the drama - which happily, at least, she can see the funny side of once it's over - we had a good day yesterday. I was furious with something I'd read and really not in a very good mood but on the spur of the moment we decided that Emily and I would head out for the morning whilst Jon caught up with some work. We went to visit the Waters Edge Centre in Barton on Humber, which was OK if rather smaller than I expected. Emily enjoyed playing around with one of the cameras on the Humber Bridge, lol. It was the playground at Waters Edge that provided us with the splinter, thanks very much. From there were also went to the Ropewalk Art Gallery in the same town. That was really good; they had a big exhibition of pictures of the Humber Bridge from a BBC competition earlier this year and we had a looooonnng look at those discussing what media everyone had been using and which we liked most and why. By the time we left I was in a much better mood, having had a lightbulb moment that made me finally understand that what was bothering me is actually the other perons's problem, not mine :-)

Yesterday afternoon when we got back, Emily did the last of the three pieces of artwork she has to send in to be marked for the first section of her course. She had to draw and shade her favourite object, so she chose her favourite soft toy, Uni. He's the one that used to comfort her on her return from school each day, bless him, so he has a place in all our hearts. Here he is, famous at last:
She found this one much harder than the other two, at least partly because with a soft toy it's hard to tell where the light and shade falls and difficult to convey the texture too. She's not as pleased with it as she is the others, but she's working soooo hard on it all!

So: splinter aside, it wasn't a bad day after all :-)

Thursday was taken up with tai chi and drama as usual, so everything's jogging along nicely there. Today was the last ballet rehearsal before the opening night's dress rehearal on Tuesday afternoon. And, despite her dire warnings to any of the children who dared not to turn up....the teacher wasn't there!!!!!!!! That'd be really funny if it wasn't so infuriating. Anyways. Emily's well prepared and now can't wait for Tuesday, so let the show begin!


4 girls and 3 boys said...

Two of my dd's did the OTT screaming over injuries that seemed quite trivial to everyone else. They have grown out of it now but it was awful at the time. One used to scream til she was sick. They still do not like needles. The picture of the toy is lovely.

HelenHaricot said...

oh, poor thing. my nephew also gets into a complete state of panic.
no advice though

lucy said...

Weve had some very similar situations with Daniel over the years regarding splinters or, even worse, ticks! I find the best way is not to mention any 'taking out' methods until just before you do it and try to do it fast so it's over before he gets worried about it. Easier said than done though I know. He is much better now he's older.

Nikki said...

Thanks for your comments; it's comforting to know we're not the only ones. I've never met another child who does this and I've sadly grown used to the contemptuous looks we get from others when it happens, so it's a relief to know we're not alone.

Lucy, yep, that's what we've tried too, not mentioning it at all until it's just about to happen and trying not to let the anticipation build up. Not easy though, when Emily refuses to hold out her hand or will only allow you near it for two seconds at a time! :-// Boy am I glad we're not facing ticks!!!!