WARNING........ DO NOT PRESS
Ladies and gentlemen, today I bring you a warning. This piece of advice may (quite literally) save your ass.
I went to see a patient in A+E. 4 year old guy with a viral illness. I'd told him to take his top off and jump up on the examining trolley. Now, when I go to examine a kid's tummy, I very often do one of a few "set routines". Every paediatrician does this....I think! Usually when they're lying there, I'll look shocked and point to their belly button. Then I say "what is that?????, there's a hole in your tummy". Usually they have a giggle, tell me that I'm silly, and explain that "it's my belly buckkon".
Anyway, I started the routine for the 4th time in one morning. I looked my usual surprised and shocked self when I asked about this gaping hole in the middle of the boy's belly. His reply was given in hushed tones..."It's a button, but don't press it". "Oh right" says I, "What happens if I press it?". "me bum falls off" he replied, as both his parents went bright red and looked at their feet.
His parents had told him this when he was about 2 years old, apparently, to stop him picking at it, and he'd steadfastly avoided pressing his belly button since then. Sensible kid.
So there you have it. If you've ever wondered what belly buttons are for, now you know. You heard it here first.
This public service blog entry was brought to you by Dr. Thunder.