The buzzing noise from the game Operation freaked me out as a kid. Don’t judge. I have an exaggerated startle reflex. So I was relieved that when my kid received the game for his birthday, the game he got was actually defective and doesn’t buzz if you hit the metal sides. (Yes, we could just take out the batteries, but this one also has sound effects the need the batteries.) But after tonight, I think a healthy fear of this game is needed.

My kid was playing Operation today and decided…I really don’t know what. I have no idea what when through his mind when he stuck a game piece up his nose (the booger piece, for those of you familiar with the new version of the game). Being the caring mother that I am, I immediately thought of this:

After my kid realized that he had made a mistake in putting the green plastic booger up his nose, he tried to remove it and gave himself a nasty nose bleed. I wonder if he tried using the “surgical” tweezers from the game. I haven’t checked them for blood yet. So we go to the emergency room because I have no idea what else to do when my kid has a plastic booger up his nose and is gushing blood. All the way there, I keep thinking of this and hoping that this isn’t how the doctors are going to get the game piece out:

In the emergency room, I was alternating between laughing and crying. Because Oh my God! My poor  baby can’t breathe! And Oh my God! This is so funny that he stuck the booger game piece up his nose! The doctor, nurse, and med student were all very good at not laughing too hard at my son and at removing foreign objects from noses. First, they used a suction thingie. When the piece was dislodged, the doctor went up his nose with tweezers. I had to bite my tongue from buzzing loudly like the game. But tweezing didn’t work. It pushed the plastic booger back up his nose. So after more suctioning and tweezing, my kid sneezes and out flies the game piece.


The doctor handed me the booger on a bit of gauze, figuring that we would need the piece so that we could play the game again. But I think we’ll be putting Operation away for a while. At least until I can bring myself to disinfect this booger.

Edited to add: I think my favorite part about this story is that when I was explaining what happened to my dad, he was telling me it was the green frog piece that belongs in the throat of Cavity Sam. First, no, I saw it, he didn’t. Second, why would you put a frog up your nose?

About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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12 Responses to Operation

  1. One of my kids shoved a pebble up her nose on the playground when she was in preK. Thankfully she was okay. Good times. (By which I mean, disgusting times.) Glad your son is all right! 🙂

  2. sj says:


    Dude, Home Movies is THE BEST.

  3. When I was young (3 or 4, maybe?) I had a magic set. It came with these little foam pellets you were supposed to squish between these plastic cups to make it look like they’d *POOF* disappeared. I thought it would be a REALLY cool trick if I could make it disappear elsewhere. The elsewhere being up my nose. When I couldn’t get it out, I attempted to dig it out with these plastic tweezers from another game, and when my mom came up to see what was happening and why I was playing so quietly by myself, I had an epic nosebleed and was weeping copiously over the loss of my very good foam piece that I had, indeed, made permanently (or so I thought) disappear in my nose.

    I don’t even remember how we got it out, but I know we didn’t go to the emergency room because I didn’t go there until I was 7 for a very high fever, so I assume she got it out somehow. She was apparently a lot more magic than the foam pellet was. Mom magic trumps toddler magic set magic every time.

    • emmawolf says:

      You are such a fantastic storyteller.

      When your mom got the foam pellet out, was it, um usable? Did you play with it again?

      • Aw, thank you! That made my day!

        No, it was gross to begin with (it was the 70s, toys were not well-made back then) and after the nose-adventure, it was both bloody AND boogery. It was tossed. And I’m pretty sure the tweezers and the magic set got taken away from me. Rightly so, too.

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