Kids and orifices.

I am not even sure if orifices is a word. In fact, I’m more than certain it’s not. So lets just rephrase this to: kids and the multiple of orifice. It’s spelt wrong too – oriface might be more accurate.

Our youngest is a bit different to our older two, they’ve always been strong and healthy with matching appetites, with plenty to “fall back on” (which sounds so incredibly awful to write, but that’s what people say when you have children on the 90+ percentile: “that’s good, they’ll need it if they’re sick”). Our youngest isn’t. She was born early, was a reflux baby and developed asthma symptoms at about 12 months old. She’s slight, isn’t so fussed about eating and refuses to participate in any form of physical exertion. When she presents a bit pale, lacking energy and whinging a lot, it’s not exactly out of the ordinary.

The smell emanating from her nose on the weekend wasn’t normal though. In fact, it was quite putrid, and I insisted a couple of times she brushed her teeth again. Her sister kept yelling at her to wash her hands after going to the bathroom. By bathtime on Sunday night it was still there after she had been scrubbed from head to toe. I called Healthline.

“Have you called before?” “Er, yes, just once or twice”*

(*= many times, Healthline are great, 0800 611 116, I recommend adding them on speed dial)

So on their advice, at 5.30pm on a Sunday evening closing we headed off to the local doctor’s clinic. Who were full so were on hold, and suggested we tried the one ten minutes away as they only had 3 patients in the queue. By the time we arrived, they were also on hold but squeezed us in as we’d been sent there. An hour and a half later… the Doctor confirmed a “Foreign Body in the Right Nostril” and sent us to the hospital to get it removed. I pleaded for mercy from a Sunday night in the Emergency Department and he said it would be okay if we went the next morning. Which we did.

Seven am trek across town to the hospital.

“Emily, is there anything in your nose?”


“Emily, did you put anything in your nose?”


“Emily, why did the Doctor say he could see something in your nose?”

“I don’t know”

“Emily, how did the thing that the Doctor saw in your nose get there?”

“I think it was a mean guy”

“Emily, did a mean guy put something in your nose.”


“Emily, when did a mean guy put something in your nose?”

“I don’t know”

“Emily, what is in your nose?”

“I don’t know.”

“Emily, have you put something in your nose by accident?”


“Emily, if you had maybe put something in your nose, what would it be?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, guess.”

“Maybe, a pom pom.”

“A pom pom? Emily, is there a pom pom in your nose?”


“Emily, please tell me, what is in your nose?”

“There’s nothing in my nose”

We arrived at the hospital and they (eventually) looked in her nose to discover there was nothing in it. Crisis averted, we were sent home, confused, but relieved. Emily was shipped off to preschool for the remainder of the day and we lived to tell the tale of the mysterious nose smell.

By bathtime that night it was long forgotten. Except when she lay back to be a mermaid, there was clearly something in her nose. We took a photo.

(“Emily, is there anything in your nose?”


“Emily, there IS something in your nose. What is it?”

“I don’t know.”)

Back to the local GP, who, again, were on ‘on hold’ because they were full, and unable (unwilling) to even advise if we should go back to the Hospital. So, after a bit of dithering, Emily and I fronted up again to the ED. The triage nurse assessed her. It was kind of pink, and shiny and looked more like a piece of gunk, so she kindly got her colleague to take a closer look because if we’d been admitted we’d have been bottom of the pile and there was a massive wait as it was. So, with his long pair of tweezers he reached into Emily’s nose to give it a wipe, and pulled out a greeny, pink, festering, slimy, soft ball. The smell was one of those rank and lingering smells so thick and foul it coats the inside of your nose and throat.

A small pom pom from the art table at preschool.

The nurse threw it in the bin, took our details, Emily’s colour returned, and we were sent home, out of the glare of the fluorescent lights in the bustling ED into the cold night air.

“Emily, why was there a pom pom in your nose?”

“I don’t know”

“Emily, how did the pom pom get in your nose?”

“I don’t know. I think it was a stranger.”

“Emily, strangers don’t put pom poms in people’s noses.”

“I know. But this one did.”

“Emily, if you knew there was a pom pom in your nose, why didn’t you say?”

“I didn’t want you to be mad.”

Two GP visits, two hospital visits, two days, one four year old, and one pink pom pom turned green and rancid, a foreign body in the right nostril.


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