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I have been reading all the headlines about the crisis in the NHS [in addition to the normal fare of gloom, doom and imminent catastrophe]. I have inferred that part of the problem is people taking a trip to A & E instead of going to their GP so when daughter three slammed her thumb in a car at the weekend and was still sobbing with pain on Monday morning, despite copious doses of Calpol and cuddles throughout Sunday night, I thought the best option was to ring the GP.
I didn’t think it was broken given that it had got better before it got worse and she was able to bend it slightly, but my next door neighbour said he’d done the same thing and the doctor had drilled a hole in his thumb and drained the blood that had built up behind the nail and that had relieved a lot of the pain.
The GP rang back about three to four hours later and asked some questions. I mentioned that daughter three had not slept much. She had begun in our bed and then she and I had decamped to the sofa where we spent about six or seven hours with her writhing about in agony between Nurofen and Ibuprofen doses. The GP said to come in to see the nurse. The nurse had a look and recommended the blood draining process, only they didn’t do it for children at the GP surgery. She said we should get to A & E. Daughter three looked slightly panic struck at the whole drilling a hole in the nail process. I said I thought there would be some form of local anaesthetic involved and that it would definitely be worth it because it would mean she could sleep that night.
We headed over to the hospital after I had asked my partner to pick up only son. We arrived at the children’s emergency unit where a man was waiting with a form. He looked at us suspiciously, possibly thinking I was one of those parents who brings their child to A & E at the drop of a hat. We showed the blue nail and I mentioned that the GP had sent us. We waited. About an hour later we were called to see a nurse who told us to get an x-ray even though I was pretty sure the thumb was not broken. We went back to children’s emergency ward and some time later were called in to see the doctor. She looked at daughter three’s finger and gave some sort of potted science lesson about thumb physiology. It wasn’t broken, she said, which we had mostly guessed. The only thing we could do was take Calpol, hold it upright and put some ice on it [which we had already done]. So around four hours later we went home no better off than we left and having added to the A & E numbers completely unnecessarily even though we were trying not to. Daughter three was sobbing because her thumb was still extremely painful and she had rustled up all her courage to undergo the drilling process, anticipating that she would be relatively pain free that evening.
We spent the night on the sofa bed with me trying to get daughter three to do the ante-natal breathing exercises that saw me through the first half hour of the 10-hour birthing process with only son [gas and air saw me through the proceeding nine and a half hours]. Only son joined us around 1am. Daughter three returned to school the following day pumped full of Nurofen. Her thumb is now twice its original size and we are waiting for the nail to drop off.