When my middle child was five years old, she managed to get a popcorn kernel stuck in her ear. However, she didn’t tell anyone that she had stuck one in there until later that night when her daddy went to clean her ears. She started to complain that her ear hurt when he swabbed it and Daddy took a peek. He could see the popcorn kernel and tried to rescue it himself. After a few attempts, he feared that he would only make it worse if he were to escalate his attempts. So I grabbed some pants that were not made of flannel or featured Homer Simpsons as my current pair did, and took her to the Urgent Care. They tried a few things including the bubble wand and a good old-fashioned digging in the canal with angled tweezers. My daughter was frightened and in the squirming she managed to get nicked in the ear and the small trickle of blood sent her into a fit. Nothing worked and we were referred to an ENT office which required a referral from our pediatrician. Of course she managed to do this on a Friday night so we got to listen to her complain about the kernel until Monday.
On Monday morning our pediatrician gave us a referral to an ENT at Children’s over the phone. The good news (according to them) was that we only needed to wait two weeks. So we endured two more weeks of slight pain and trying to keep water out of her ear during bathing. When the day od the appointment finally arrived, the physician’s assistant at the ENT office was not even allowed to look in my daughter’s ear. Her fear from the urgent care ordeal had her terrified and all she could to was scream and squirm. My mommy heart broke, yet I tried to hold her down but ended up with a bruised foot and chipped tooth. The specialist came in and took a different approach. She decided that since we could see the kernel, but not get to it, that my daughter would go under anesthetic to gently have it removed…in two weeks.
After another two weeks we arrived at the surgery center. The staff made her feel very comfortable and no one stuck anything in her ear, which calmed her greatly. The explained the process in terms she could understand and let her pick the flavor of her “sleepy air.” They wheeled her into the room and about fifteen minutes later the doctor came out and showed us the huge kernel that had been stuck in her ear. Now they just needed to wake her up for observation and we could take her, and the kernel, home.
When we were allowed to go back and see her, she was full of smiled and giggled about the foreign object that was just removed from her ear. She even requested that I photograph the kernel for her scrapbook. Soon, we were allowed to take her home. By the time we arrived home, she was feeling back to her normal self. She played happily in her room and was asking for homemade vanilla ice cream.
Fortunately, we have not had this problem with any of our children since.