In my mind leaving at 3:30 for a 40 minute drive to the airport for a 6:30 flight with herself already checked in and boarding pass printed is plenty of time. At 3:30, as she packs the last few items in her necessities bag, she opens the door under the bathroom sink and somehow lodges a long splinter of wood deep under fingernail. With a howl of pain she jerked back breaking off whatever tip there might have been for me to grab with tweezers. The pain is constant and excruciating, and I cannot get it out although I can clearly see it under the nail. 30 minutes are wasted because I think I know where an Urgent Care Center is. I give up, hand her a bag of ice, finish throwing stuff in her carry-on, and head for the airport at 4:10. I make a frantic phone call to Jeff who uses the wonders of technology to tell me that yes, indeed, there is an urgent care place at the airport. Meanwhile, I am playing word games with Liz to take her mind off her pain which is making her nauseous.

We make it to the Lufhansa desk at 5:05. Her face is streaked with tears, and I am trying to look in control. With perfect German calmness we are told that she cannot check her bag unless she is ready to go through security, and they will be closing the counter at 5:30 (no need to say promptly, this is Lufthansa). We leave the suitcase and rush to the third floor of the Atrium. Fortunately, the nurse heard the hysterical tone in my voice and the sobs from Liz when the receptionist said no one could see us until we had filled out paperwork. Time is now 5:14. The doctor is cool, calm, collected, and competent—but can’t get the splinter out. He decides to numb the finger so he can dig deeper under the nail. One shot at the bottom knuckle, another halfway up, another on the side. Time is now 5:22. She still has feeling in the tip of her finger. 5:25—I make the call hoping she can find a doctor in Frankfurt. She runs ahead of me back to the desk downstairs. 5:29—she checks her bag in. She still has to go through security and make the hike to her concourse. The Lufthansa attendant is not at all optimistic that she will make the boarding call. Oh no–her backpack is in the exam room. She books it
back up to the Urgent Care Center. Attendant is shaking her head at me. I follow her at a much slower pace. When I get there, the doctor has given her at least another five injections, sliced open her fingernail, pried it up, and gotten the splinter out. Now it gets really chaotic because it’s about 5:47. He wants to dress the finger and then write a prescription for antibiotics. I take over dressing duties (and do a really pathetic job). She grabs her backpack, some extra gauze and band-aids, her carry-on and heads for the security line. I wait for the drugs, grab them, pay the bill, and run to security (6:01) where she has just gotten to the head of the line and throw her the antibiotics (and some vicodin!). She makes her plane.