The Problem with Splinters
December 29, 2007
Yesterday, I discovered a splinter wedged in my flesh at the bottom of my big toe, on my right foot. A sudden sharp pain led me to this discovery. I do not walk around barefoot, well not outside, and I have not been treading on wood planks, so I could not imagine the splinter’s origin. Not knowing and obsessing over the possibilities is almost as bad as having the splinter stabbing my flesh with every step. After retracing my movements, I concluded it must have come from the burly and wirily haired mat we have next to the sliding door to the room that has morphed into our mudroom/dining room.In any case, I sat down with tweezers in hand to fish out the splinter. An easy procedure normally if one can grab hold of the splinter’s tip. As I pinched down it broke off. Not discouraged I followed the splinter to its visible end and began massaging the area in hopes of pushing it out or, at the very least making a new exposed tip so I could grab at it again. The thing did not budge. I kneaded the area some more. Nothing, thus a crossroad, do I continue fooling with it or live with it. Because the site was becoming tenderer I decided to leave it in, which meant walking on my right heel or at the very least manipulating my gait to guard that area.We missed two days of walking to the beach so I was determined to go. Once I slipped a pair of thick socks and trainers on, the pain seemed less, like nothing more than a dull background nuisance that would eventually fade away. Unfortunately, after the walk and a following shower the pain returned. I rubbed in heavy foot cream thinking it may loosen the splinter. I started wishing I had a sharp scalpel, the kind I used in college Biology when I was able to cut into a shark without disturbing its peritoneum lining. I thought if I could only cut a line along the top of the splinter, creating an opening, the splinter could slide out. Of course, I would be left with a superficial laceration but, I would have that damn splinter out by God! Next, I ran a pumice stone over the area thinking if I wore the skin down thin enough I could pick through and reach the splinter with a needle. Finally, with the base of my toe throbbing I gave up and went to bed. Roughly forty minutes into a slumber an angelic voice woke me whispering, Kitttyy, Kitty it’s time. I knew immediately what the voice wanted. I switched on the light and pulled my foot up to my face. There it was, a tip, waiting for me to pinch it. I grabbed and pulled and it slid right out. I felt instant relief and went back to sleep with a victorious air.