The Procedure

Miss Becca Boo was awake, off and on during the night, crying and wailing, cradling her sore hand. Mr. Handsome spent the night with her, and once when I walked over to re-tuck-in The Baby Nickel, I heard him singing to her.

When she came downstairs this morning, she lay on the sofa and cried from the pain. Nonstop.

Something clearly had to be done.

So I got on the computer and googled “relieving pressure to a smashed finger”. Up came several different articles, all of them consistent with each other, so when Mr. Handsome came downstairs, I filled him in (speaking in my hush-hush voice) on what we needed to do. He only slightly raised his eyebrows at me, surprised that I was up to such a plan, and then he quietly went about helping me set up shop:

First, Mr. Handsome put a DVD (BBC’s Planet Earth) in the computer and arranged the kids on stools in such a way that Miss Becca Boo, who was sitting on her stool at the kitchen table, had a clear shot of the computer screen.

Second, I laid her hand on a clean rag. She refused to stop holding her sore hand with her good hand, so…

Third, I gave her a candy cane to hold with her other hand.

Fourth, Mr. Handsome sterilized the fingernail, using a Q-tip dipped in alcohol.

Fifth, I fished a metal paper clip out of the Christmas ornament box and straightened it out.

Sixth, using a pair of pliers, I held the paper clip over the flame of a votive candle.

We were set to go.

But then, when Mr. Handsome saw how I was heating up the paper clip, he said, “It will take forever to get red-hot that way. Hold on a minute.” And out the door he dashed, back in a couple seconds with … Oh, good grief! A blowtorch!

Miss Becca Boo took one look at the evil-looking weapon in Mr. Handsome’s hand and freaked out. I didn’t blame her. My innards were already in a twist. Just the thought of what we were about to do made me feel ill, like how you feel when you get to a bad scene in a movie. I sucked in my tumultuous tummy and played Calm As A Cucumber.

Mr. Handsome fetched a towel from the bathroom, and I held it up by Miss Becca Boo’s face, creating a shield between her and the Scene of Surgery, just like how they did for me when Yo-Yo was cut out of my tummy.

Then, Mr. Handsome lit up the blowtorch—Whoooosh! Miss Becca Boo wailed, the kids yelled that they couldn’t hear the movie, and I whispered loudly into her ear, “Look at those bison! Suck your candy cane!”

More whooshing. Then all was quiet. I could smell burning hair, or rather, fingernail. After a second, Mr. Handsome tapped my arm and told me to look. And there was her purple fingernail, blood oozing out through the hole.

Mr. Handsome poured some hydrogen peroxide into a bowl and I added warm water, but Miss Becca Boo refused to put her hand in the water.

“It won’t hurt,” I told her.

“Did this ever happen to you?” she asked me.

“No,” I admitted. “But it happened to Shannon when she was little. Would you like to talk to her?”

So I called Shannon and held the phone to Miss Becca Boo’s ear, and after the phone call, she slowly eased her hand into the water.

And thus ended the morning’s medical procedure. We put our professional surgical instruments whence ere they came: the alcohol and peroxide to the bathroom cupboard, the dirty rags to the laundry, the votive candle to the center of the table, and the blowtorch to the back of the pick-up truck. I wiped down the table (I think), and we pulled up our stools and dug into our bowls of granola and Corn Chex.


  • Julie

    now that i have met you face to face I can just picture you sitting there doing all this and I can’t stop laughing!! the blow torch is killing me – the image I have in my head (can you tell i am a very visual person) is enough to keep me going for a couple days….thanks for that!!!!

  • Anonymous

    yes, we need some followup as to the success of the procedure with photo documentation. Then you can publish it as a case report in some hippie medical journal.

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    Nice work, you two. Reminds me of the many “procedures” I’ve watched Jamey do on his toe nails after races. Has it provided some relief for her?

  • 40winkzzz

    I am trying to think of something clever or at least interesting to say here, but all I can come up with is, “Ouch!” And, “Blowtorch? No wonder the poor kid freaked out!”

  • Zoë

    Oh JJ, my innards are twisting too. You are too good at describing these things!

    Is it going to puff up the same tomorrow, making you drag out all the necessary surgical tools again?

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