M’s Foot

Happy 4th of July! Yes, I’ll be telling you about the week ahead. But I figured that I should get this vacation story out of the way for those who have expressed concern.

Before our Lake Placid vacation together, I was chatting on the phone with my sister. “I bought all the kids water shoes because it seems like a ‘water shoe place’,” she said. “Yeah,” I replied. “But I just never buy water shoes.” I don’t know why, really. It’s a combination of my cheapness, my aversion to shopping, and my optimistic nature.

Within one hour of arrival, M jumped off the dock and onto what we theorize was a mussel shell. She swam for a moment or two, complaining that her foot hurt, until we insisted that she exit the water for an inspection. Blood, blood, more blood. I applied direct pressure, Cute W called someone medical (thanks to our hosts there was a number on the fridge), J hid in terror, and M sobbed that she was sorry that she’d ruined everyone’s vacation. I promised that only the afternoon was ruined. Cute W drove while I held onto M’s foot. We arrived at the medical center and Cute W carried M in while I parked the car. As soon as they were out of the car, poor J, who’d done a good job staying composed sobbed that she was worried about her sister. We got inside the very quiet medical center and the lovely guys in the waiting room switched the tv to cartoons for J while I caught up to W and M. They’d wrapped a cozy warm blanket around poor M, who was shivering in her wet swimsuit. The verdict was two stitches.

Cute W went to hang out with J while I stayed up by M’s face, a couple of nurses held onto various extremities, and a very personable physician’s assistant stitched her up. M felt quite bitterly betrayed by the guy, who implied that the pre-stitch shot was going to hurt when, really, it HUUURRRRRRT. I told her that I knew that it was going to HUUUURRRRRT, but I didn’t think that complete honesty, in this case, would have been helpful, and she agreed. The PA immediately swaddled her up in bandages and advised us to keep her wrapped up pretty for 24 to 48 hours, and we managed to keep her together for a day before checking her out.

After a day, we looked at the wound and thought to ourselves that maybe there should have been 4 stitches, if it were up to us. And it seemed like there was a bit of a gap between the sides of the wound, but perhaps that was because the skin was callused, anyway? (It’s on the pad of her foot, near her pinky toe.) Anyway, we are not medical professionals, and we haven’t seen a lot of stitched-up wounds. M hobbled about as best she could and got wetter than she should have here and there, but we changed bandages frequently and were looking forward to getting the stitches removed in a week.

Guess what we bought as vacation souvenirs?

I made an appointment with our doctor so that we could actually stop by on the way home from vacation, since we were returning just before a 3-day weekend. M played happily outside all morning, but in the car, as we got closer to the doctor’s office, I became more and more tense. I turned to M in the back seat and saw her completely working over a bug bite. “Stop!” I said, “We have to go see the doctor, and we’re both going to be in trouble if you keep scratching those bites.”

Well, sure enough, my doctor and her assistant were appalled. They couldn’t believe the awful stitches, and our doctor made M remove all of her band-aided bug bites for inspection and discovered one that was horrifying. I was both shocked at how horrible a mere bug bite could look and humiliated at my crappy mothering skills that I did not think to detect the new band-aid and demand a look-see. Our doctor went to work removing the stitches (declaring them “worthless”), then taped it all together and sent us home with orders to (1) apply Hibiclens to all the bites, (2) wash off any traces of soap along with general camp dirt while attempting to keep the foot mostly dry, (3) apply bacitracin liberally just about everywhere, and (4) band-aid her all up. Followed by at least a week of avoiding water.  Oy. We were all discouraged. We’d hoped to be pronounced healed, and instead it was all bad.

At home, I had M call me directly from the bathroom after Step 2 so that I could proceed with Step 3. I inspected her foot, and the bandage had come undone! Ack! A phone call, then another trip to the doctor. The doctor applied twice as much tape and more bandaging, upped the ante to no-showers-only-baths-with-your-foot-hanging-over-the-side, plus socks and/or socks and shoes at all times until the follow-up this Thursday. And if we don’t look good on Thursday, we’re headed to a podiatrist.

Poor M is not psyched. At this point she’s decided that her entire summer is ruined and her entire vacation was horrible.

Which it isn’t, and it wasn’t. But for the last day or two, it’s understandable that she thinks so.



  1. Sara

    Oh, poor girl. My 6 year old got a mosquito bite on Saturday night and you would think it was a shark bite to listen to him.
    I absolutely love your writing style, Katie; this may be one of the best mom lines ever: “I told her that I knew that it was going to HUUUURRRRRT, but I didn’t think that complete honesty, in this case, would have been helpful, and she agreed.”

    I hope she feels better soon, and avoids further catastrophe for the rest of the summer.

  2. Meghan

    Have you tried Steri-strips to hold the wound together? I would smack a few lines of steri-strips and then a good waterproof bandaid over it!

  3. Thanks, Sara!

    Meghan, I think that’s what my doctor used–I couldn’t remember the name, because she was joking that it was like packing tape. That’s what M’s wearing now, and it’s held since the Friday app’t (knock on wood).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *