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EHR 4: Explore the Iceberg

29-10-2017

Introduction…

A couple years ago, Megan and I were outside playing. I think Megan was 2, maybe she was 3. Either way, she was barefoot. Suddenly, she said, “Ouch!” and she sat down on the deck steps. I came and looked at the bottom of her foot. I saw 3 little, dark lines on the ball of her foot. She had 3 little splinters from some plant.

I was able to grab one of the splinters with my fingers and pull it out. That didn’t feel good! Megan started to withdraw her foot. I told her she needed to hold still. Then I tried getting the next one. I couldn’t get it.

So we came inside. I got some tweezers. At this point Megan was starting to cry. I tried with the tweezers to get the splinters. I couldn’t get either one. Megan started to cry even more.

I texted Amy. She came home. We took turns holding Megan, trying to calm her, while the other person tried to get the splinters out. It didn’t work. We tried icing her foot. Didn’t help. Eventually, we decided we had to take her to a walk-in clinic.

At the clinic, the Doctor put a cream on the bottom of Megan’s foot to numb it. At this point, though, she was totally freaked out when anybody came near her foot. She kicked and screamed. We held her hard. Amy tried to soothe her while I tried to hold her. The Doctor had special tweezers he was trying to use. Eventually, he had to get a needle to poke into the skin to get to the splinter. Finally he got one out!

But there was still one in there. Megan was beside herself. Amy and I felt so guilty. We asked the Doctor if we could just leave the splinter, if it would work itself out. He commiserated with us, but said no, we had to get it out now. Otherwise it might get infected. It might work its way in deeper. Eventually, it might require surgery.

So Amy and I steeled ourselves again. We held Megan. Megan cried. The Doctor worked away on her foot. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, he had the final splinter out! We all cheered. Megan looked at us like we were the enemy. The Doctor gave her a couple lollipops. We went home, relieved that it was over.

It was difficult for Amy and I to make the right decision- to let the Doctor keep working on Megan’s foot. It was difficult for Megan to undergo the work. It was difficult for the Doctor to keep digging away at Megan’s soft, tiny foot with no callouses. But, as hard as it was, it was the right thing to do. If we hadn’t gotten those splinters out, there was no guarantee they would work themselves out, especially in a kid who would be walking and running around. There was a real danger of infection. The reality was that it would have been uncomfortable for Megan to walk on that foot as long as those splinters were in there.

This was a case of physical splinters in a child’s foot. I believe we all have spiritual and emotional splinters in our hearts. These spiritual and emotional splinters have worked their way in. They were not removed right away and they have caused infections and discomfort within us. I think most of the time we are not even aware we have a splinter in there. We just know there’s something tender, something swollen and sore, and we don’t let anybody or anything touch it. These splinters manifest themselves in anger, deep sadness or depression, anxiety, explosive behaviour or destructive behaviour.

When it comes to dealing with these splinters, it is very uncomfortable, even painful for us. We often panic like Megan did when we tried to remove the splinters from her foot. We often choose to live with these splinters instead of going through the trouble and pain of removing them. Because we usually don’t even know the splinter is in there, because it’s usually just a tender spot, we don’t even know that having the splinter removed is an option.

 

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