Friday, March 25, 2011


Self Care, Example one: Generational Knowledge.

Moving an espresso machine out of my kitchen, that I am taking to a second hand shop, the glass carafe slid out of its position and shattered into many pieces. I immediately cleaned the area of my kitchen floor where it had fallen. Thinking I had removed all the tiny shards of glass I went on my business of cutting carrots to prepare my lunch. As I moved around with confidence bare foot in my kitchen a quick and piercing pain caused me to wince. I knew just then I should have followed my sweeping with a thorough vacuum, a couple of tiny shards had escaped my vision. For awhile I finished preparing my lunch until I got tired of limping. Then I debated after fidgeting with the wound whether or not I should go to a doctor. It surely was not an emergency. I was not bleeding profusely; in fact the blood was not running at all, like a prick to the finger when you are testing your blood sugar.  With my thoughts racing I took a deep breath as the sense of urgency melted away and I realized I could take care of this matter on my own. Taking my own advice I assessed the situation and realized I had the tools to attempt a self healing technique that was passed down from generations in my family. I knew that the piece of glass was so small that my body would expel it eventually by itself, because of the miraculous healing machine that it is. On the other hand I could solve this situation immediately and then I would be able to walk on both feet right after.
So as I was taught by my mother and her mother before her I took a common sewing needle, sterilized it. I sterilized it by lighting a match to the tip of the needle and holding it in the flame until the tip turned red. I then let the needle cool down. After the needle has cooled (takes about two minutes to cool) I took the needle and applied it to the wound, slightly moving the needle around the wound. The idea is to move the skin out of the way of the piece of glass. Sometimes the act of piercing the skin directly around the wound and pulling the skin up and away will free the shard of glass. I was successful with the task and technique. After the removal I sterilized my foot with peroxide and put a Band-Aid on it. If you don't have peroxide you can use rubbing alcohol  or soap and warm water. Remember this is a small sliver of glass not a big piece where you are bleeding badly. I thank the generations in my family that has passed this technique of first aid down to me. 

Addressing the pain of this solution
Every time I would insert the needle into the wound area It hurt a little, but it was not that bad compared to walking on the piece of glass as it was tearing into my flesh. When you are inserting the needle near the piece of glass it is easy to detect where the glass is because the pain feels different. When the needle comes into contact with the glass you can feel the glass cutting into the flesh. When this happened I  would steer around that area and then pull the skin up and away with the tip of  the needle. This allows the skin to be clear of the wound and the shard of glass then to move into the middle where the small amount of blood is to be swept away by your fingers or a wet towel. If at any time you are squeamish you could have another person remove the sliver of glass. This technique can be applied to any sliver of debris (metal, wood, glass or stone).

Other Techniques I Found For
 Removing a Sliver of Glass.

How to Remove a Splinter with Baking Soda

  1. Do not apply pressure. Don't even squeeze it to try and get it out. If it's sharp, you could be embedding it further into your skin by squeezing; if it's brittle, you might break it into smaller pieces.

  2. Wash and dry the spot with soap and water. Be gentle. Pat dry (a paper towel is good for absorbing moisture without having to apply much pressure). You don't want the skin (or the splinter, if it's wood) to get soggy.
  3. Inspect it with a magnifying glass. The size of the splinter and how it's angled in your skin will help you know what's the best way to take it out. See How to Remove a Splinter for a description of other methods you may want to try first. The baking soda method described here is best for tiny, invisible splinters. The baking soda paste will cause the skin to swell and push the splinter out. It's best used after other methods, since it will make the other methods (tape, tweezer ,needle) more difficult because your skin will be swollen.
  4. Make a paste using water and about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
  5. Put this paste on a bandage and apply the bandage to the affected area.
  6. After 24 hours, remove the bandage. The splinter may be sticking out of the skin. If it's visible, pick it off with tweezers. Rinse the skin gently (if the splinter is sticking out but not visible, this may wash it away). Repeat the method with new paste and another bandage every 24 hours until the splinter is gone.
 The Wax or Glue Technique
 -Apply a layer of hair removing wax or white glue, such as Elmer’s, to the skin. Let it dry for 5 minutes. Gently peel it off by lifting the edges of the dried wax, gel, or glue with tweezers. The splinter(s) should come up with it.

 This is a good link with great advise on multiple ways to remove splinters:
 This link Includes a more detailed step by step process using the needle as I explained above.


-Contact your doctor if you still have the splinter(s) after using self-care measures especially if you are experiencing any of these symptoms: Red lines or streaks that spread from the woun
redness, or warmth at the wound site, Pus, and/or fevor.  Also, make sure that your tetanus immunizations are up-to-date. Written by Jasper M.F. Salach

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