you'd probably poke it too
July 27, 2011 3:08 PM   Subscribe

My fiance poked at a squishy bump in his forehead about two days ago; it squished and sort of dispersed, he said, and now his head has hurt really bad ever since. What could this have been, and do we need to be concerned now?

For reference, a day or two previous to that he'd whacked the shit out of his head, like right above his forehead, on a shelf or something at work. Then two days ago he felt the squishy bump, about the size of a nickel, under the skin of his forehead with no visible bruising anywhere, so he poked it and he said it felt like it "dispersed" under the skin along with a lot of pain.

The headache he has had since then is not on par with the mild migraines he normally gets, but is close to it, and the pain is all centered in his forehead (rather than behind his eyes, like the migraines).

Any idea what the squishy bump could have been, and if any of it is something that we need to be concerned about? He is currently without insurance until it kicks in from his new job, so seeking medical attention right now is an expense we just can't manage unless it's really serious.
posted by adrianna aria to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This accident happened at work, you say? While your husband was doing his job? In the workplace? It's a workplace injury, you say?
posted by The World Famous at 3:45 PM on July 27, 2011 [38 favorites]

This sounds like an urgent-care visit worthy issue. If it is infected and on his head it's not something you'd want to wait on. Try finding a reasonably priced urgent care. I know my urgent care here in Portland is $99 if you don't have insurance.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:46 PM on July 27, 2011

Response by poster: Looking over the question, I don't think I made it clear that all of this is under the skin. There's no sign of bruising or irritation or infection or redness or anything. Just a headache based in his forehead that won't go away, and now there's no bump or anything at all.
posted by adrianna aria at 4:32 PM on July 27, 2011

The World Famous has a good point: this is covered under workman's comp, or should be. When I fell down the stairs at work, workman's comp paid for my ankle X-ray. If you go to Urgent Care, they will ask you if it was a workplace injury. Your answer is "yes." Personally, I'd consider persistent post-traumatic head pain as being pretty high up on the priority list.
posted by KathrynT at 4:45 PM on July 27, 2011 [8 favorites]

Head trauma + big headache that won't go away = doctor. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
posted by charmcityblues at 4:46 PM on July 27, 2011 [13 favorites]

This is what doctors are for.
posted by Kololo at 6:57 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Okay, so I shouldn't have lied--he hit his head but it wasn't at work and I don't want to get into the specifics. Nothing else has seemed "off" about him the past few days, and he very regularly gets headaches anyway. An unrelated trip to the ER a few weeks ago for a simple allergic reaction (that manifested in a scary way) cost us nearly $700 with uninsured discounts and we literally don't have that kind of money to spend right now. Is it alright if he gives the headache a couple more days, since headaches like that are not unusual for him? He says it's doing a little better today.
posted by adrianna aria at 7:23 PM on July 27, 2011

Best answer: My bet is that he bruised the bone and it swelled a little. When he pushed on it, he forced the lymph into the surrounding tissue, which is uncomfortable.

That said, a headache that lasts more than two days is one of those things you call a doctor about. It might be nothing, but you don't want to mess around with a hairline skull fracture or the like.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:39 PM on July 27, 2011

Best answer: See if ice packs help with the pain. If they do, it's probably okay to wait it out for a couple more days. If an ice pack doesn't help or makes it worse, doctor time.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:41 PM on July 27, 2011

Best answer: OK, I still say "doctor" but I am sympathetic to the cost situation. So here's what I'll say: try ice, rest, and hydration. If it worsens, or even doesn't get better, over the next 48-72 hours, you honestly should go to the doctor even given your insurance situation. If there's any change to his pupils, his speech, or his cognition -- ER immediately. Do regular STR checks (smile, talk, raise both arms) and if there's any change or weakness or lack of symmetry, ER immediately.

IANAD. But a smack on the head with persistent pain really can be super ungood. OTOH so can medical bankruptcy, so I understand why you want to wait, but he needs to be careful and you both need to be vigilant.
posted by KathrynT at 10:04 PM on July 27, 2011

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