My son managed to get his sucking thumb infected. Back in my thumb-sucking days, I'd switch off from one to the other but Lucas will only suck his left thumb, unless the situation is dire, as it was last night, and nobody slept much as a result.
Today the swollen digit and the child carting it around had to be taken to the doctor. Lucas had asked me about 100 times if the doctor was going to 'poke' it, and I tried to be equivocal, but I knew the truth. I tried a nausea analogy, telling him how much I hate to vomit, and will do almost anything to avoid it, but when I finally get around to barfing I always feel better. Same thing with the thumb- a brief poke, and almost instant relief. No more howling pain just brushing it against something.
When the Zero Hour arrived, Lucas began to freak out. The doctor asked him if he was a man or a rat, and without hesitation he said the latter. I realized I'd have to force him down and restrain him, and he started to howl. He howled long and loud, through the whole procedure, and everyone in the hospital heard him, probably thinking he was being tortured. This in spite of the anesthetic. He howled right through the bandaging, and didn't stop until he was off the table, when he started grinning. The doctor said she thought he was indeed a rat.
No thumb-sucking tonight, not on the big swaddled thumb at least. I told Lucas not to get the bandage wet. "Why?" he asked, a nearly constant question these days. I asked him if he wanted his thumb to get worse, if he wanted to go back to the doctor and have her poke it again. "Yes" was the instant reply.