L and I went out chopping brambles on Monday afternoon. L is edging towards his sixteenth year and currently epitomises teenagerness in all its
gory glory. It is a standing joke between us that he is allergic to fresh air and will start to smoke if exposed to sunlight (as in, gently give off steam, not stick a fag in his mouth). Give him a fetid, darkened room, a computer with skype and steam enabled, a tv, an enormous pile of books, a ready supply of food that appears as if by magic, minimal contact with his parents and the requirement to eschew full, sentient and decipherable speech and communicate only with random grunts and he is happy as a lark for hours upon end. Throw in the lack of a necessity to wash, dress or stir far from his pit and you have the perfect recipe for a happy contented teen. This is despite (or perhaps because) being brought up as an outdoor person. His word word for the Great Outdoors is the Outernet, which I rather feels sums up modern teenagers.
Anyhoo, I have stipulated (now that the holidays are here) that Daily Mandatory Outdoors Time is non-negotiable and he has agreed as long as he could take with him on these excursions, either a) an axe or b) a sickle. The futility of arguing with a teen will be well-known to all who have come within ear-range of one, so, recognising that the more important goal had been achieved with very little effort expended on my part, I agreed.
On Monday afternoon we set off up the lane for a bit of Healthy Mother And Son Bramble Cutting Time. We'd not been out more than five minutes when, tackling a particularly thick and vicious stalk which was covered with Evil Thorns Of Giant Proportions, I punctured my thumb. The thorn plunged in to the joint and boy did it hurt.
I had to go home to administer first aid while L was chuckling to himself all the way at the irony.
This was at four thirty. By six thirty it had swelled up, gone red and stiff and hurt like crazy. M got home, took one look and told me to phone 111. I thought this was a bit of an over-reaction but did as I was told. I was less convinced of the over-reaction ten minutes later when the lovely lady told me I needed to get to A&E within the hour.
We arrived to be told there was a two hour wait but as we'd come prepared (having had several A&E experiences in recent years with husband and son) we settled in, if not happily then at least with occupation. I filled out the form detailing the injury and within five minutes of handing it in we were suddenly bumped to the front of the queue and found ourselves in with the nurse.
By this time I'd googled thorn puncture wound injuries and rather wished I hadn't. The internet is full of 'death followed within hours of thorn pin-prick' stories. Which I guess explains the medical profession's sense of urgency.
The nurse had a good look and prod (*wince*) and told me it wasn't infected and looked clean so in all likelihood would remain that way (I didn't tell him I'd been smothering it in my homemade beeswax salve which is my cure-all for everything as it likes nothing more than to eat bugs), but that I needed to keep an eye on it, take anti-histamines and come back straight away if I started feeling unwell.
We got home, had a late supper, went to bed, and at 7am the next morning after a good night's sleep I got up and came the closest I've ever been to passing out. Luckily M was there and grabbed hold of me which prevented me crumpling in a heap on the floor. There then followed what was (later in retrospect) an amusing ten minutes of me lying almost unconscious on the floor while he held my legs up to get some blood back in my head. I went green and yellow, couldn't breath properly, felt cold and clammy and sick and sweaty and generally pretty hideous. He had to take the day off to look after me - Lord only knows what his workmates must think, that he's married to a princess who faints when she pricks her thumb and can't cope without him. I spent most of the day asleep, from a reaction to the wound or the fainting or the anti-histamines or a combo of all three.
Coming over faint is something that has happened to me since I became a mummy. I used to be perfectly fine with queasy-making things, even helping out with an eye-op while doing work experience at the VETs when I was fourteen. But now even thinking of things like that make me feel a bit weak. Any other mum's out there found the same thing or is it just me?!
Anyhoo, the message here is simple: if you're cutting thorns wear gloves, because even a non-infectious and perfectly natural body reaction to a puncture wound can be unpleasant and frightening and very painful. This morning the swelling and stiffness is starting to go down, but I still can't really move it and the knuckle is sore and I'm still on marginally-paranoid-infection-watch.
L's reaction to the whole wretched episode was exactly as I'd feared. I told you the Outernet is dangerous. He now has the perfect reason to avoid all future outdoor excursions. In fact, I very much fear he will never set foot outdoors again :o)
I'll leave you with a slightly more positive gardening note. My sweet peas were covered in greenfly a couple of weeks ago and as we avoid chemicals in the garden I wanted a natural treatment to get rid of them. I'd read somewhere that rosemary oil is a good one. So I made up a spray bottle with water and ten drops of oil and sprayed the peas liberally four times a day for two or three days. All the greenfly went. I haven't sprayed them for about ten days and yesterday noticed some had crept back so I'm starting the process again. Give it a whirl if your plants are affected. It certainly worked here.
Hope all are well?