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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today In Pain ...

I don't know what I dropped, but while walking through my kitchen I "acquired" a splinter. I'd like to say I was stoic in the face of the pain, but my eyes teared like a little schoolgirl who got her pigtails yanked by the glass bully. It hurt! And I've been in a few fights and had my share of black eyes and broken bones. Aaaaagggghhhhhh!!!!!

About two weeks ago, I dropped an old serving dish, but I was very careful to sweep up all the "remains" and then run a damp mop under the edges of the lower cabinets ... I even swept the carpet in the adjoining hallway. Maybe it was a tiny piece of wood from the legs of my old table or some debris from one of my repair projects. It could even be a piece of "bone" left over from when my neighbor stopped over to drop off a piece of misdelivered mail ... he and his dog (with a chewy bone treat) invited themselves in and that dog laid there making the most disgusting grinding noises.

But regardless of its origins, I could see the thing's "head" just below the surface of the skin on my right heel ... not the easiest point to access with my medical tools (safety pin, tweezers, and a small flashlight).

I remember my mother telling me that if a splinter isn't protruding from the skin, then you have to "dig it out." I think we can agree that my mother had no official standing in the medical community, so I first turned to common sense. I washed the area gently to make sure the area was clean. Then I tried to "milk" the skin around the splinter, hoping the sliver of whatever would pop out of my foot like a frisky meerkat. No such luck.

Then I tried to recall all the old home remedies concerning splinters ... duct tape, hot candle wax, and model glue all came to mind but, again, these worked best if the splinter was close to the surface and I could feel this little bitch moving toward my spine.
So I turned to technology and hobbled over to my laptop. "While avoiding pressure, use a needle and nail clippers to gently make a hole in the skin and clear a path to the foreign object." First off, trying to remove a splinter and applying pressure kind of go hand in hand ... a ham and cheese or spaghetti and meatballs kind of relationship. Secondly, I already had a hole in my foot ... the place where the damn splinter pierced my body. And thirdly, the foreign object ... we'll call him "Frenchie" ... wasn't cooperating.

I tried some additional sites and combined steps to create the perfect "Kill Frenchie, Part 1" plan. Step One: Walk gingerly to the bathroom and locate an old abandoned tube of Oragel; apply to affected area to lessen pain. Step Two: Carefully use nail clippers to "nip away" skin from surface of punctured area. Step Three: Create a paste using water and a small amount of baking soda (1/4 teaspoon) and apply to would, causing the skin to expand either forcing the splinter to the surface or making it more accessible. Step Four: Remove splinter and plan recovery celebration, maybe apply to medical school if all goes well.

"Kill Frenchie, Part 1" was not without its mishaps. Being in pain, I zealously applied too much Oragel and created a very slick work area. And after applying the paste and taking a second for a quick reread, I discovered that the baking soda trick works best if placed on a splinter and then bandaged for 24 hours. And if the splinter is made of wood (???), then the paste would cause it to swell, too. But all in all, I think having a clear-cut plan of attack emboldened me to brandish that safety pin with abandon and dig the puppy out. I think the foot can be saved.

POINT OF RANT: If women marry for assistance with killing spiders, then men should consider mates for the singular purpose of splinter removal.

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