"Jackson put gum up his nose." Lauren said as she entered the house.
She was returning home from, what was clear to me, a frustrating trip to the store with the three boys. I have a sixth sense for these things. I can sense, well it is not really sense but more of just know, that anytime you try to take three boys to a store it will be frustrating. I also can tell the level of frustration based on how Lauren enters the house. When the first words out of her mouth are one of the kid's names or the phrase "You will not believe what THIS one did" it usually is not a good trip.
"Did you get it out?" I asked from my reclined spot on the couch. I lowered the volume of the football game that was on the TV. My Sunday afternoon plans were to lay on the couch, eat chips, drink a couple of beers and watch football.
"No. I was driving when he did it." She said. "He says it came out and he swallowed it."
Wyatt bounded into the room. "Dad, Jackson put gum up his nose."
"I told him not to do it." Max said as he followed Wyatt.
"I heard. What kind on gum was it?" I asked hoping to get an answer from Lauren.
"Just gum, Dad." Wyatt answered.
"What difference does it make?" Lauren asked.
"Well, if it is a Chick-let type of gum, it would be small and could really get up there. But if it is a big piece of Bubble Yum, or something I should be able to see it."
I called Jackson over, leaned him backwards over my lap, and looked up his nose. I could see a very small white blob of snotty gum jammed way up into his right nostril. I was afraid that the gum might make its way through the nasal passage and to his throat, which could cause him to choke. It looked bad and I knew we needed to get it out.
The football game, the chips, the beer and the laying on the couch would have to wait.
The gum was lodged too far up for his fingers to be able to reach it. We made many failed attempts at trying get him to blow his nose. I tried snatch it a few times with a standard pair of tweezers but between fidgeting, screams and tears I could not get the gum out.
Our neighbor, Lisa, is a nurse (I like to think of her as Jackson's personal ER consultant) Lauren called Lisa to see if she had a larger/longer pair of tweezers. Lisa did not have larger tweezers but she came down to take a look up Jackson's nose. She agreed that the gum needed to be extracted. Lisa called Amy, who is also a nurse, to see if she had larger tweezers. Amy did not have the tweezers but she was in the area and so she stopped by to look up Jackson's nose. Everyone agreed that Jackson would need to go to the ER to have the gum removed.
The football game was already half over. After looking up Jackson's nose so many times the chips and beer lost their appeal. Laying on the couch would have to wait.
Lisa agreed to take the older boys to her house so Lauren and I could take Jack to the ER.
We got into the car and started the 20 minute drive to the hospital. I was feeling kind of annoyed at the whole situation. Gum up the nose is not a priority in a hospital. I knew, that even on a slow day we would be waiting for a really long time. I also knew that they would probably have to strap Jackson down, a scenario I did not want to witness, so they could get gum out.
I looked into the rear view mirror at Jackson who was feeling a bit frightened at the idea of going to the hospital. He looked worn out. Lauren was upset with the whole ordeal. I started talking to both Jackson and Lauren hoping to take every ones mind off of the ER visit, besides I needed to vent a bit.
"Jack, this is why you do not put gum in your nose. We now have to take you to the hospital. Hon, you should make sure we have our insurance card. They won't hurt you Jax, but it will be scary. Are you going to put gum up you nose again? Are you? I know you didn't mean to get the gum stuck but if you don't put it there in the first place, it will never get stuck. Do we have enough money in the checking account for the co-pay? I think the co-pay is a 100 bucks. Jackson, one small piece of gum is going to cost me at least a hundred dollars. Do you know how many trains a hundred dollars could buy? I can't believe a stupid piece of gum is going to cost us 100 bucks. That's a lot of trains. You know Jax, if you could get that gum out of your nose before we get to the hospital I would give you money to a buy a train. I won't give him a a hundred dollars but I would sure as hell buy him a train. We could go right to the toy store right now if that gum comes out."
"A Thomas train?" Jackson asked. He suddenly perked up.
"What ever train you want pal."
What happened in the back seat is kind of hard to describe. There was grunting, snorting, hocking, huffing, puffing, sniffing, slurping, blowing and all kinds of other noises. Lauren and I could not believe he was working so hard at getting the gum out. I pulled the car over so Lauren could get in the back seat to help him. She held his unobstructed nostril as Jack blew. Within a minute or two a long piece of snot covered chewing gum was dangling from his nose. Lauren, with only a deft move a mother could pull off, used her nails to remove the rest of the gum.
We cheered. We clapped and congratulated Jackson. Yes, we cheered for a three-year-old's ability to blow gum out of his nose.
We went directly to the toy store and bought a Thomas train as trophy for his accomplishment.