This past weekend, I got quite a bit of weeding and yard work done. Even though the temperature was fairly warm, I had on jeans, a long sleeved shirt, and leather gardening gloves. By the end of Monday, I had been bitten on my wrists (where gloves met sleeves), side of face, and inside my gardening glove where one little bastard had found a way in. I also managed to sunburn that shiny white piece of skin where your shirt rides up and your jeans ride down on your back. Every. Year.
I react badly to blackfly bites. First, they take a nice little chunk out of your skin when they bite, and then they spit in the hole they make. Nice. I swell up after I've been bitten, and the itching continues to the point where I could take a cheese grater to my skin if it didn't gross me out completely. I take antihistamine for the itch, but even that doesn't help completely. Topical creams and gels are fairly useless.
Now let me tell you about my morning. I know that I had been scratching throughout the night on the tops of my wrists. I got up at about 2:00 a.m. to take more benedryl so I could get some sleep. When the alarm went off at six, I stumbled downstairs and had a shower. Then I had a good look at my baby finger. It was extremely swollen (that's where I got a bite from inside the gardening glove). In fact, I didn't have a whole lot of sensation. This was due to the fact that my ring was cutting off the circulation and probably had been all night long. Then mild panic set in. What if I'd already lost too much circulation? I tried to pull on the ring. Absolutely nothing. No movement. It was on there for life!
I googled something like "loss of circulation, swollen finger, ring" and found videos showing me how to wrap my finger in dental floss and ease the ring over the wrapped finger. Tried it, and no. Then I went to my husband. Did he have a tool in the shop that we could maybe use to cut my ring off? We both chickened out of that idea. Too close to the skin, not enough leeway.
At this point, I knew I would have to go to the emergency department of our little local hospital. I'd heard of people having to have their ring cut off for various reasons. That's what I was on my way to do. A very nice nurse brought me into a room. It was about 7:15 a.m. at this point. I had to go to work by about 8:45. She agreed that this wasn't looking good and brought out a box that contained the cutting tool and some instructions. She'd done this once. A year ago. So, a little guide / spacer was put under my ring and she affixed the proper cutting blade to a little dremmel-like tool. When she put it in place and started cutting, I pulled my hand away in a hurry because my ring heated up like a thing on fire!! Upon second glance, she noticed that the instructions called for lubricant to be put on the finger to help keep things cooled down. So, she started up again and managed to whiz away a few times before she had to stop to let things cool down again. This continued several times (now with another nurse watching just to see what was going on) until a score was made into the ring. Then we had to rotate the ring and cut again on the other side. My finger was a lovely shade of purple. Finally, after the second cut was made and we were able to pry the ring apart and get it off my huge purple sausage finger.
This ring was just a simple little gold band that I wore on my pinky finger. It wasn't a family heirloom and not a priceless piece of jewelry and quite frankly I was just so relieved to get it off my finger! Then I started to look at my other hand and all of my other rings. Oh boy. Remember, I had been bitten on the tops of both wrists and the swelling was travelling through my hands. So I decided to get all of my rings off. Two on the opposite hand just took a bit of soap and some twisting. However, my engagement ring and wedding band were frighteningly tight. That finger was also swelling. The two nurses had other business to attend to, so they left me at the sink with soap and hand cream. I managed to get my engagement ring off because it had a higher stone setting that I could grip onto and keep turning. The wedding band was another story. At one point I was certain we'd have to cut through that as well. But with lots of hand cream and twisting and saying to myself, "Just relax, just relax" I managed to ease it toward my knuckle and then micro-measurements at a time, I got it onto the knuckle, and then finally off. That finger was also a horrible purple mess by the time I was done. The relief was incredible. The nurse gave me a sample jar to put all my rings in. (Those were the best things I've ever had to deposit in a sample jar, let me tell you!)
After I got all registered (they had brought me in and started proceedings without even registering me), the nurse said the dr. would be in after 8:00. I asked if I really had to see him. She hemmed and hawed and finally I signed something saying I was leaving the emergency dept. without seeing a dr. against advice (or something like that). I reassured her that she did a fabulous job, but I hadn't even had coffee yet, I had to whip home, do something about my scary hair, eat something, and then whip to work. Which is what I did.
Ready for some pictures?
This is my sad little ring.
Here's the lesson I learned today. When I get bitten on my hand or on a finger by a blackfly, I should take off my rings immediately.
O.K., folks. I'm guessing someone out there in blog land has experienced some sort of similar mishap. I can't wait to read about it!!