Having children provides a steady supply of small medical mysteries. Some are easily solved. Others linger for days, weeks, even years. A few weeks ago, my daughter Annie presented me with what I consider a mini-medical mystery.
That morning, she awoke with a strange bubble on the nail bed of her right forefinger. “It hurts really bad,” she told me. And indeed, it looked bad too. It was white and puffy and encircled her nail bed like a small pillow. It looked as if it were about to burst.
My husband suggested she pop it with a needle. Annie balked. I cringed. What if it got infected? Instead, I suggested that Annie ask the school nurse.
The nurse told her it was a paronychia, an infection of the nail bed that occurs when bacteria gets under the skin. She suggested applying a warm compress, an idea that was much more palatable to my needle-phobic daughter.
That day, we wrapped her finger in a warm towel and within seconds, the paronychia burst open, and fluid gushed forth. The pain lessened almost immediately. I swabbed on some anti-bacterial cream and wrapped her finger in a bandage. We repeated the routine again the next day, but the fluid was gone. The swelling eventually eased up, too.
Mystery solved. Mom’s job is done.