Looking more like a Polish sausage than my left index finger, l decided to forego photographs in lieu of scalding water, cannabis salve and a poultice of comfrey and plantain. I will confess things got ugly there for a minute or two, and I even went so far as to pop my head into the [crowded] VA clinic in Ukiah, but no worries there:
“Well, we are understaffed, and behind, so…a few hours, hopefully?”
Gosh, such the invitation, but I decided to forego the pleasure and return to the drawing board, which meant soaking my finger in the hottest water possible, supplemented every ten minutes by another cup or two of boiling water from the tea kettle.
Mama taught me at an early age the benefits of soaking body parts, to alleviate pain. I had much need of as many strategies as possible, to keep me out of the ER room, and this one cost nothing. Ingrown toe nail? You guessed it-soak that baby.
Sliver under the finger nail? Soak it for twice as long; finger nails are sensitive. Plantar warts? Soak your foot. Cracked heels? Soak those kids. Finger swollen for no apparent reason (Bingo!)? Soak that dude indefinitely, and something is bound to happen.
|That's me, the shortest one, with the shortest attention span...|
Otherwise, it's Noel on the left, Brian and Eric, to my right.
Disneyland, circa 1957.
I am not unrealistic, If I have an infection that is painful, swollen and an angry red color, I am going to seek medical attention if I can’t make it go away. I’ll never forget Papa inspecting one of my ten-year-old hands, upon his arrival home from work, and pointing out to Mama a thin red line going up my palm and wrist.
“It looks like we’ll have to amputate. Either that, or take him to see Dr. Meisel. This red line means if we don’t do something about this infection, he will get blood poisoning.” Papa was a medical corpsman while in the service during World War II, and Mama frequently sought his opinion concerning my rough passage through adolescence.
As long as there was no red line heading in the direction of my heart, there was still a little wriggle room. After all, one does not want to go off half-cocked, not when a few country remedies, long since well-established, will do the trick.
So where did this most recent affliction originate? When the question was first posed to me, I was clueless, more so than usual. Then an image slipped into my little pea brain, as easily as that three-quarter-inch-long sliver had breezed into my finger, about-hmmmmmm-two weeks ago? It had passed right through the [dilapidated] work glove I was wearing, running about a quarter-inch parallel to the finger nail.
|Auntie Anne in the background; me with my hand in|
a box of popcorn.
For once in my life, about an eighth-inch of that chunk of plywood still stuck out, rather than being buried under my skin. Without overthinking matters, I put a vise-grip on that eighth-inch chunk of timber with my teeth, and slowly-agonizingly so-I withdrew the spear and breathed a sigh of relief. I even took it one step further and drizzled some peroxide over the entrance of the wound.
Apparently, my feeble effort went unrewarded.
Fortunately, BossLady had just replenished my supply of cannabis salve, so after soaking the miscreant for four hours, I slathered salve over it and let the magic just soak in. For one of the only times in memory, the salve did little to relieve the discomfort, and that got my little infection on the radar.
Gluten-Free Mama went foraging in the garden, returning with comfrey and plantain, from which she concocted a paste. This mixture she smeared on a square piece of gauze, which she then gingerly placed on the offending digit, while allowing me to draw the expandable cloth sleeve over the poultice to render it stationary.
|Well, there wasn't any bun, of course,|
but that looks about right.
I am now well on the way to complete recovery, which is fortuitous. I was getting tired of typing one-handed.