The Fastest Way To Get Laughed Out Of The Emergency Room

For the first time since November of 2011 (but who is counting…oh wait, I am!) I was away on a girls’ weekend. That is right, y’all, I was with almost all of my besties, wearing our cozies, staying up late, talking, eating, making goal sheets for 2013, and sleeping until noon ten.

It was, and I don’t think I exaggerate when I say this, heaven.

That is right up until I got a text message on Sunday from Robert about Emma’s (still newish) pierced ears. It should be noted that before I left on Friday, Emma revealed to me that she had not cleaned her ears for three days straight. A bit of a problem considering that she A) is supposed to clean them three times A DAY and B) she has thicker than average lobes, making her more susceptible to potential issues. After I finished reading her the riot act gently reminding her that she needs to be responsible and clean her damn adorable ears to avoid an infection, I practically left tire marks in the driveway to get out of town.

Robert assured me that he had been monitoring the cleaning process Friday and Saturday, and all was well.

Sunday, as I sat sipping coffee, I got this text message:

Robert: I need your help with Emma’s ear. It is really swollen.

Me: What? I told you guys to clean it really well. Lift up on the earring and pull it away from her lobe, so you can really get the alcohol around it.

Robert: I can’t lift up on the earring to clean around it, because I can’t actually see it. Or find it.

Me: WHAT? I am calling you right now.

It's actually in there


Let’s just say that a conversation occurred and pictures were exchanged over text, and it was determined that yes, in fact, there was no visible diamonique stud anywhere on her ear lobe. However, the earring was in fact still in her ear. Basically, from what I could tell from the comfort of the beach house couch, it was obvious that something needed to be done.



Given that it was a Sunday, there were not a lot of available options. And the parent who would normally handle any kind of medical crisis was eating her weight in lemon cookies hundreds of miles away. This left Robert in charge, and me advising from the sidelines.

Thankfully, there is a brand new Children’s Urgent Care center just a few minutes from our home. Abby was successfully passed off to her grandparents, and Robert and Emma headed to the Urgent Care. And I sat waiting for an update. Feeling nervous and anxious that I was so far away and could not control the situation myself. Which of course led me to realize that one of my 2013 goals should definitely be to stop trying to control everything…a post for another day, obviously.

Brace yourself here, people, because what I am about to tell you is going to sound shocking.

The next call I receive from Robert is telling me the doctor at the CHILDREN’S Urgent Care does not feel comfortable removing Emma’s earring, and he should proceed downtown to the Children’s EMERGENCY ROOM.

So that the doctor there can remove my child’s earring.

You honestly cannot even make this kind of stuff up.

I was kind of surprised she also didn’t suggest traveling by ambulance, you know just in case the paramedics needed to do some sort of ear-saving, emergency procedure. No one needs a nine year-old Van Gogh, after all.

Needless to say, Robert thought that sounded like overkill, and I agreed.

As someone who spent a fair amount of time in medical lounges talking about patients behind their backs (yes, your doctors and nurses do it, too!), I could already see where this would be headed. In the height of flu season, on a Sunday no less, a man shows up at the ER to have a doctor remove his daughter’s earring. Let’s be real here, y’all, the medical professionals would barely be able to make it out of the curtained area before doubling over in laughter.

Then they would attempt not to actively laugh while they took two minutes to remove the earring and then sent us a bill for three million dollars.

It was agreed instead that he would take her to a different, regular Urgent Care first. You know, kind of like a second opinion sort of deal. For an embedded earring.

At the end of it all, with a quick, numbing shot and a competent, capable, physician the earring was out, and Emma was on her way to a McDonald’s Happy Meal reward.

Start to finish, Robert said it took ten minutes. She can even leave the earring in her other ear and have this one re-pierced in a few months.

And Emma learned a valuable lesson, which is that unless you want to spend three months looking like an elementary school-aged pirate, you should probably take better care of your earrings.

shiver me timbers



The Fastest Way To Get Laughed Out Of The Emergency Room — 104 Comments

  1. OUCH that hurt my ear.. I have really major issues with a LOT of filler metals so I totally understand the ear swelling up. I can have that happen in 20 minutes if the metal is filled with some weird crap I am allergic to. Although I have never had the whole earring disappear like that. Poor thing.. Hope she can get it healed up and repierced soon and lesson learned for her I am hoping.

    • That is super scary and also helpful to know! I hope that is not the case with Emma…because her other ear is okay, I am thinking it is not an allergy, but obviously will pay close attention when we get the ear re-pierced.

  2. Wait a minute. A Doctor didn’t feel COMFORTABLE removing an earring? Wow. I’m glad that everything turned out ok though…and Daddy gets an A+ for handling the situation like a champ!

        • I gotta give MAJOR kudos to ROBERT!!! My hubs would have handled it too…but who knows exactly “how” he would have handled it! I am so happy also, that Emma is such a brave soul and so damn adorable in that picture!!! Now Ashley… next time you go to the beach and eat lemon cookies and drink and talk and set goals etc and sleep til noon, no wait, ten….For the LOVE of GOD, would ya PAAAAAAAAAAALEEEEEEEEEEEZE call me? Thank you. πŸ˜‰

  3. Wow! That was hilarious AND disgusting!! Yet another reason I’m glad I have boys. They can get earrings – after medical school or law school. Kudos to your husband. He was much calmer in this situation than I would have been.

    • He was very calm and is actually probably better in situations like that than I am! And yes, I am wishing I had waited until college to allow the piercing! πŸ˜‰

  4. Sounds like the dad was an absolute rock star and handled the situation perfectly on his own! Let’s here it for the daddy-o’s out there!

  5. I am literally laughing my behind off over here. I cannot believe that we have the same luck with pierced ears! For all three times that Belle has had hers done, though, this never happened so you win by a long shot but OMG, it’s the post that makes it so hilarious! And Emma’s picture at the bottom makes it even funnier. She is so flipping adorable. One earring and all!

  6. Ouchie! And so typical – when mom’s away, the hubby and kids will play, and of course have at least one “disaster!” Way to go, Robert, for taking care of things, and glad you got to have your mom’s weekend away, Ash! Glad Emma is ok!

    • We are so glad she is okay, too! πŸ™‚ And yes, you are right…I should have known before I even finished zipping my suitcase that something like this would happen! πŸ˜‰

  7. When I was seven, I had my ears pierced. Once the piercing studs came out, I was given two tiny gold Christmas wreath earrings to wear during the holiday season, and I LOVED them. I loved them so much that I was terrified that I would lose them, so I kept pushing the backs on tighter and tighter and tighter. Until one of them was so tight that my earlobe started growing around it and my poor mother had to use pliers to pull it off of my screaming self.

    Needless to say, those earring holes closed up and were repierced when I was about 11. Good times.

  8. Funny article, but I feel bad for Emma, also Robert. You mentioned earlier that Emma suffers from the heartbreak of thick ear lobes. They should run a 10K for thick lobe victims. Those Urgent Care centers are good, it was smart to go to the second one instead of the emergency room, that would have been much scarier. Glad all is well now, and I hope you still had a very fun weekend.

    • They totally should. I mean, thick ear lobe children need love, too, you know.
      I totally had a fantastically fun weekend…I knew she was in fully capable hands! πŸ™‚

  9. I am at work and my jaw is dropped, like I can’t believe this! As a girl who was way to scared to get her ears pierced (didn’t get them done until adulthood) this is terrifying! Oh my goodness, and why do these things always happen when you are getting some YOU time?! Its like the universe is saying wait–something is not right here–LOL smh Glad she is okay though!

    • Right? Isn’t it just totally crazy that these sorts of things happen when moms are away! Thankfully, my hubby was fully capable of handling everything! πŸ™‚

  10. Oh my! I don’t know who to feel worse for – your daughter or you?!?! Hard being away to not control everything:))) glad it’s all good now!

  11. My 9 year old daughter just asked me last night if she could get her ears pierced. Seeing as how she still has problems getting all the tangles out of her hair by herself, I’m going to go with “NO!” Reading this just makes me more secure in my decision that she is not ready yet.

  12. What a good mother, didn’t panic, kept your cool, didn’t stop eating lemon cookies. Reminds me of the lemon cake at Cheesecake Factory – its excellent. Speaking of, Mashell made a nice lemon thing this weekend, bought angel food cake and made like a lemon pudding to put over the top of it. Good and good for you.
    Seriously, Robert and Emma did good, that must have hurt. Funny picture, thanks.

    • YUM! Tell her to send me the recipe please! It sounds DELICIOUS!
      Robert and Emma handled the situation fabulously! πŸ™‚

  13. Oh my god that sucks! And yeah, what the hell, the doctor didn’t feel comfortable?! Ummm he’s a doctor….isn’t that what he signed up for?

    Glad everything worked out. That’s funny she’s just rocking the one earring. I hope it heals soon, my ears swell up really bad when I get them pierced (allergies).

    • Robert said that he felt like she was clearly very young and inexperienced (probably a resident) and just did not seem comfortable at all in her role.
      I am hopeful that this is a one time deal and not an actual allergy! Eek.

    • I am kind of surprised that she is open to having it re-pierced, but she definitely seems to be…of course, we will see what happens when the time actually comes! πŸ˜‰

  14. Wow-poor Emma! I’m going to have to tell this one to Charlotte who is starting to make noises about ear piercing after a 4 year old friend at church got hers pierced. I’m trying to scare her out of it for a few year!

    And damn it about the urgent care. I was so happy a children’s one opened here. We’ve had great luck at the children’s one in Cotswold. What kind of certified Dr isn’t “comfortable” removing an earring. Seriously!

    • Oh yes, definitely tell Charlotte…in fact, Emma will happily share her tale of woe if you need her to! πŸ˜‰
      Good to know about the Costwold location…honestly, I feel like the other one would be fine for regular stuff like strep, etc. But we will not be back there.

  15. Geez…I’m glad she didn’t need general surgery to get that bad boy out! I try to avoid Urgent Cares at all costs…you never know what kind of resident is moonlighting that day! I can say that, because Mr. Hubs is an anesthesia resident, and I sure wouldn’t want him as my doctor in an urgent care! Don’t tell him I said that. πŸ˜‰

    • LOL Jamie! I was glad, too! πŸ˜‰
      Too funny about the Urgent Care…Lisa said the same thing…flashing back on her own medical resident days! πŸ˜‰

  16. OMG, I am not exaggerating when I say that I was on the edge of my seat! I will remember this story when my six year old begs me yet again for pierced ears, and I will stand my ground! She is nowhere near mature enough to handle the responsibility of cleaning them! Kudos to your brave kiddo and hubby for handling it, and I am beyond jealous about your girls weekend! Sigh…someday! And I had to giggle about you eating your weight in lemon cookies! HA! Loved this post…

    • Make a mental note. Dude, maybe Emma can become one of those urban legend stories that moms tell their kids! πŸ˜‰

  17. My first earring holes got infected as a child, and had to be repierced later, but my ear didn’t EAT my earring! My girl is only three, but I have, just this very second, decided she can get her ears pierced when she gets her driver’s license.

    I’m glad everything turned out fine, even with a trigger shy Dr and mom out of town!

    • Definitely go with the older and wiser school of thought on this one…unless she turns out to be super responsible! πŸ˜‰
      And the ear eating the earring line made me burst out laughing!!

  18. Oh, I found myself playing with my earring a LOT while I read this – ya know to make sure they had not gone missing anywhere inside my ear? I am glad it was a quick and almost painless fix for your girl. However, now, I may have to rethink getting my oldest girl’s ears pierced this year for her birthday…

    • LOL Ilene! Glad your earring remained where it is supposed to be, even during the reading of this post.
      I have a feeling my child is a rarity! Just remember if you do have your daughter’s done to stay on her about cleaning them! πŸ˜‰

  19. This happened to my sister, but to hear her tell the story, they ripped it straight down, leaving her earlobe ripped into two flappy sections. Obviously not what happened. I think she must have assumed that at 6, and then never questioned the memory.

    • I am sure it probably felt like they ripped her earlobe…that is so crazy that it happened to her, too! Honestly, though, it makes me feel better to know we are not alone in this! πŸ˜‰

  20. Your hubby really stepped up to the plate on this one. I’m glad you didn’t have to race home to take care of things or you’d probably never feel safe to leave again. This way you know he can handle anything while you’re gone (thank God for cellphones so you could almost feel like you were there!). You were able to inject humor into a potentially frightening event. Your daughter sounds like a trooper and no doubt it’s a lesson she will NEVER forget!!

    • Aww, thanks so much! She was a trooper…and yes, cell phones in this situation definitely saved the day! πŸ™‚

  21. Crazy, but it closed up around her earring. Totally scary no doubt. Wow. Sounds like you all did well. Good job to you for remaining sane, for hubby for being calm and for your Sweet girl for being a good patient! I must not show this to my husband who says my daughter can get her ears done at age 18!

    • Keep it away from your hubby for sure! Although, by 18 I am sure your sweet girl will be responsible enough to care for her ears! πŸ˜‰

  22. Oh gosh your little pirate is adorable and looks none the worse for wear for spending her Sunday morning shuttling between urgent cares.

    Two stories for you:

    1. My youngest got her ears pierced and we did so well with the initial cleaning/turning period. It was a piece of cake. We got to the point where she could change her earrings and again it was pretty easy. In the spring she decided to mess with her earrings during her Kindergarten rest time. She came home with the earrrings in backwards. At first I thought it was very cute until after about a week of this treatment her ears started to get all swollen and goopy. Right they were so infected because obviously a 6 year old doesn’t have the cleanest of hands and fiddling with a new hole in your body with dirty hands is probably not the best choice.

    2. I was out for a rare Girls Night Out. Our movie was just rolling the final credits when I got a text from my husband. He was rushing my 9 year old son to the emergency room because he got his finger stuck in a sprite can. Seriously. Talk about laughed out of an emergency room.

    So I probably just shared too much about my family there.

    • Oh my Gosh, both of your stories are CRAZY!! The Sprite can made me giggle, only because I can COMPLETELY see something like that happening in my own home!!
      Your poor daughter…who would ever think that wearing them backwards could lead to an infection!?!?
      There is no amount of oversharing here, by the way…we welcome any and all sharing!!

  23. Ashley, please forgive me for laughing but this was the wildest story I have heard in a long time. Your girls keep me laughing a lot. They are just precious. Robert did good and you got to have a halfway decent time away so things are good.

    • Yikes, being allergic to anything but gold would be a total bummer…you miss out on cheap earrings that way, huh?! πŸ˜‰

  24. Wow…doesn’t the most unbelievable things happen when you’re not there for like even half a second? Heheheh, but it sounds like your husband did good.
    One question though, at the rick of sounding awfully stupid, how does an earring get embedded so much that you can’t locate it? I mean was it like tiny?

    • Umm…that’s supposed to read *risk*. The letter c is nowhere near s. I don’t know how that happened. I’m going off to get a typing lesson now :$

      • The earrings were pretty small, honestly. Think tiny stud like diamond and thick ear lobes and well, there you have it! πŸ˜‰
        And I laughed out loud at your c and s comment! So funny!

  25. How in the world did that happen? When it comes to my daughter I’m an anxious, overkill type of a Mama and would have demanded she be flown by helicopter to the nearest emergency room. Shame on me…lol. As a clinician, I can vouch for that talking about patients thing…oops!

    • Ha, ha, ha!! The helicopter sentence is hysterical! And yes, we clinician types might as well fess up to it! πŸ˜‰

  26. Oh no! Sounds like your husband and daughter handled it like champs! I have never seen and earring disappear into and ear like that. Glad she is ok and glad you didn’t have to rush back from your weekend too! πŸ™‚

    • It was really crazy! I had never seen anything like it either. So bizarre! We are definitely glad she is fine now! πŸ™‚

  27. aaaahhhhhhhh!!!!! ::runs away screaming from this post:: i already have an irrational fear of pierced ears!!!! you’re trying to give me a heart attack! no pieced ears until my munchkin is 20 and she won’t be left unattended (translation: left home with dad) until she’s 30!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I am SO SORRY Nicole! I should have added a warning label to this post for those who are earring averse! πŸ˜‰

  28. Yikes! My piercings are still working on the whole ‘healing’ thing (after getting them done in September) but I feel much better about them after this!! That had to hurt. Poor Emma!

  29. {Melinda} Awww… poor girl. I am so sorry. I had that happen to me once when I was in middle school. Scared me to death. And believe it or not, I removed the earring myself! Perhaps I should be on staff at the wimpy Urgent Care Center who couldn’t handle such a complex procedure!

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