2 Nephi 26:22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
Members of my church are very familiar with this scripture from the Book of Mormon. For those who aren’t familiar, a flaxen cord is very thin–very easy to break. But, if you put several of them together, it can quickly create a strong cord that isn’t easily broken. From a doctrinal sense, it is meant to illustrate the fact that repeatedly committing little sins creates an atmosphere for evil to take a strong hold in your life.
Yesterday, I got to witness the concept in the practical sense.
Since the weather has been somewhat unseasonably cold lately (insert Al Gore joke here), E~ has been hanging out in footie sleepers most of the time. Yesterday was one of those rare occasions where his feet were exposed. Around three o’clock, I was playing pat-a-cake with him while his brothers napped. As I kissed the bottom of his foot, I noticed that his middle toe didn’t look right.
Let me try that again: I noticed that the top half of his toe was really swollen and angry-red. And there was a thin, deep depression all the way around at the knuckle. Something was wrapped around his toe. And I couldn’t get it off.
As thoughts of docked puppy tails ran through my mind, I headed next door and asked my neighbor to watch the other kids until my dad got home so I could go to the pediatrician right now.
Two different pediatricians worked on E’s toe. They didn’t have anything to numb it, so he screamed in pain and looked at me with the most horrible pleading look as they tried to free his toe. They managed to get a couple of loops off and determined that it was a hair tourniquet.
OK, it is bad enough to realize that something has been cutting off the circulation to your child’s toe that you hadn’t noticed for goodness-knows how long. But to realize that it is a long, golden strand of your own freakin’ hair? Yeah, I was ready to pull a Britney Spears and shave my head right then.
Since the (two!) pediatricians couldn’t get the hair completely out, we next took a trip to the ER at the local chidren’s hospital. I had to laugh when the pediatrician that I don’t normally see asked if I knew how to get there. Um, yeah. I have four boys–I’m familiar with the place. Anyhow, we drove there and had a wonderful doctor decide immediately that the hair shouldn’t be removed without the toe being numbed (ya’ think?). Anyhow, a shot, a scalpel, and a few minutes later, and the hair was finally removed completely. He came home with a huge grin and a war bandage.
His toe still doesn’t look normal, but it is improving. I couldn’t get a clear picture of it for some reason, but here is a blurry shot of what it looked like about six hours after the hair was removed.
Everyone that saw E~ (doctors, nurses) kept telling me that this is really common. At our follow-up this morning, the pediatrician told me that it could have been so much worse–they have had parents not notice until the toe is literally on the verge of falling off. What a horrible thought. And it doesn’t just happen to toes. They see it on fingers and, um, little boys.
So this is my public service announcement for the day: Watch for flaxen cords. Because even a single strand of hair can create horrible consequences.