by Tim Braun
The long, national uber-nightmare is over.
I’m not talking about the Mayan apocalypse. I’m not talking about the lack of Excedrin at drug stores. I’m not even talking about the habit of Clint Eastwood talking to inanimate objects.
I’m talking about the splinter which has finally been removed from my finger.
Saturday all started out innocent and stuff. But it quickly turned into both a growth experience and a horrid dream all at the same time. For you see, gripping that one piece of wood and letting it slide through my naked, ungloved hand was NOT a fantastic idea. It passed almost without incident, until one wood splinter straggler (I’ll name him Byron) decided to rest deeply embedded into the tip of my right-hand pointer finger. I mean – he rested HARD. Like coming out the other side hard. Ok, that may not have actually happened, but you get the idea.
My first thought (naturally) was to pull it out. So I blindly and immediately reached down and pulled out about an inch-long piece of Byron (we’ll call it his head and torso). Unfortunately that left his little legs dangling in my finger, dancing a flamingo dance in my nervous system. Possibly paralyzing me for life.
I knew it was an issue. Searched high and low at my Dad’s house for a pair of tweezers – to no avail. I only had a rusted pin and an unsteady hand to steer her by. Using medical procedures not seen since the Civil War, I deftly removed the hip down to the ankle (Byron’s, not mine) by using a combination of prying, poking, slicing, sautéing, and pinching. Success. Byron was only hanging on by his tiny little feet. Just HOPING that tweezers would not be in his future.
Now we’re five hours into the ordeal and the pain is definitely starting to show it’s ugly face. All I can think of is getting Byron the heck out of the finger. I’m having flashbacks to my youth, where I let a splinter fester in my hand for quite a while, until one day I noticed a dark red line running INSIDE MY SKIN from the splinter all the way up my arm. BLOOD POISONING! Even for a stupid 10-year old corn hugger from Indiana, I knew that would be an issue. So my Mom had me soak my hand in Epson salts for about two hours, and it was removed almost immediately. A miracle worker, she was.
So I get home, find a needle and tweezers and get to work. I’m not lying to you when I tell you that I probably spent a total of 2-3 hours the rest of the day digging the Mariana’s Trench into my finger trying to get Byron out. All to no avail. So our resident medical expert – my wife – suggests that I put ‘pinking salve’ on the thing. I ask ‘huh’? She says that her grandma always said that it always tends to ‘draw things out’. I say ‘huh’?
Note – doing a quick Google search of ‘pinking salve’ actually yields the information that it’s a 50/50 bet among the internet-wise people on if it works or not. Those same people also are a 50/50 split about whether sticking a dandelion up your butt clears a stuffy nose.
So my wife then puts about a gallon of thick, white goo on my finger and then wraps the finger in 3 feet of bandages. So basically I’m going to sleep with a club on my finger. That’s easy to sleep with – plus did I mention the smell? Pinking salve apparently only works if it smells like the aforementioned dandelion.
So after a restless night of sleep, I get up hoping that Byron got one whiff of the odor and backed the heck WAY out. But alas, he was still deeply entombed in my finger. Small feet of splinter 1, smelly ointment 0. Plus my hand smelled like gasoline the rest of the day.
Back to the picking and grinning. To make a long story short (is that even still possible???) after about 10 more minutes of prodding Byron released his grip on my already-shortened life and came out. Was it immediate joy and elation? Not really. I just kind of looked at him, dropped him on the floor (which I’m sure I’ll get yelled at for) and calmly put the tweezers and needle away. My finger still hurts, more in the Grand Canyon trench way vs. the Byron still in my finger way, but I can tell already that it will heal soon and there was no permanent damage.
So here’s to a great start to 2013 – splinter-free (for the moment) and (not) much wiser.