February 28, 2011

Getting to Know the School Nurse

My kids rarely get sick, and even then it's usually nothing but a minor cold and they don't miss school.  They usually get the "Perfect Attendance" award at the end of the school year.  I never get calls from the school nurse.  That is until last week.

There was no school on Monday (President's Day), but on Tuesday just after lunch I got a call from the school nurse saying Mary had a temperature of 103 and a pounding headache.  I was surprised, but I picked her up and she spent the rest of the day in bed.  She stayed home again on Wednesday because she was still feverish and lightheaded and achy.

BUT about 10:00 I got a call from the nurse saying Jack had something in his ear.  She had tried to get it out with tweezers, but couldn't reach it, so I was needed to come look at it and decide whether to take him to the doctor or urgent care.  When I arrived, Jack said he had a piece of a pencil eraser in his ear.  Sure enough, I could see it, but it was just out of reach.  Here is how our conversation went:

Me:  Jack, what happened?
Jack:  (shrug)
Me:  Jack, what's in your ear?
Jack:  An eraser.
Me:  How did it get in there?
Jack:  (shrug)
Me:  Did you stick your pencil in your ear and it broke off?
Jack:  No.
Me:  Then how did an eraser get in your ear?
Jack:  (shrug)
Me:  Are you sure it's an eraser?
Jack:  Yes.
Me:  How do you know?
Jack:  I just do.
Me:  (trying not to laugh) Jack, did you put an eraser in your ear?
Jack:  (shrug)
Me:  (trying REALLY hard not to laugh) Jack, you just need to tell me what happened, even if it's really silly.
Jack:  I don't know.
Me:  Jack, did you find a broken piece of eraser and stick it in your ear to see what would happen?
Jack:  (nodding yes)
Me:  (I couldn't help it, I laughed out loud, and I couldn't stop for a minute)

I hugged him and made him promise to NEVER stick anything in his ears or nose ever again (he never has before), and then tried to decide what to do.  He wasn't in pain or even uncomfortable, and I really did NOT want to spend the day at Urgent Care and spent $40 just to have some PA take 10 seconds to pull it out, especially since Mary was home in bed, still sick.

So, I asked the nurse for some peroxide, poured a little in Jack's ear, let it sit for about 30 seconds, flipped his head over and let it drain out, and sure enough, the eraser had come down far enough that I was able to reach in with the tweezers and pull it out.  It was wedged in there pretty good and stuck to some ear wax (ugh), but the peroxide did the trick.  The nurse said, "That was genius!"  Yes, it was.  A mom does what she has to do.

My experiences with the school nurse don't end there.  The next day, I got yet ANOTHER call from the school nurse.  Mary was back at school and seemed find, but this time it was Jack with a high fever and headache.  He spent the rest of the day in bed.

The next day was Friday, and it was a half-day.  Jack and Mary were back at school, and Collin seemed fine, but I was holding my breath all day, hoping my kids could just make it to noon!  They did.  Whew!  And everyone was fine all weekend.

It's Monday morning and the school nurse just called again.  When I answered the phone we both just laughed when she announced herself, and I said, "You've got to be kidding me!"  Still laughing, she said, "Well, this time I'm just calling you to let you know that Collin fell and hit his nose at PE.  It was bleeding, but now it's stopped and he seems fine.  I just wanted to let you know so that you can keep an eye on it when he gets home."

Oh boy.  Our school nurse is a really nice lady and I like her a lot.  But I REALLY don't want to talk to her for a long time!

How often to you get a call from the school nurse?


  1. I used to have a frequent flyer to the nurse's office. I think she got bored sometimes, and the nurse (especially the regular substitute nurse) was a very sympathetic person. The nurse at our new school is male (and maybe ex-military). No more frequent flying :)

  2. Thanks for making me smile, and laugh a little too...I needed it! In Southern Utah, there are no school nurses. The office ladies just call home anytime a child complains of sickness or erasers:). They have a VERY small room near the office with a single bed in it and band-aids just in case of an EMERGENCY! I guess there is not enough $$$$ to pay for nurses at school, but frankly I would prefer it! When they have vision screenings and such, someone from the "outside" visits the school......I MISS SCHOOL NURSES. Add that to your list of reasons why you love it where you live - SCHOOL NURSES!

  3. I hate those weeks! I once got a call from the nurse telling me there was a stick stuck in Emily's big toe. I figured it was a splinter, but when I got there, it really was a stick. She had flip-flops on and a stick went through the flip-flop and into her toe, then boke off. It had retained the body fluid and swelled. I had to take her to the Dr. and he had to surgically remove it...thank goodness he was willing to do it in office. Most Dr's wouldn't have. Then just a month later, after we had banned our children from wearing flip-flops to school, I got a call from the nurse saying emily fell and cut her eyebrow open and would need stitches....I hate those calls from the nurse too. I've had several, these are just a few.
    I'm so glad your kids are feeling better. I hope you don't get another call from the nurse either.


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