Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Salutary Lesson About Thorns


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?

CT :o)

23 comments:

  1. Dear CT
    So sorry to hear of your very unpleasant experience. I had a similar though less exciting(?) one with rose thorn which went into a finger joint and caused a lump. The Dr said I would have to have the lump removed with local anaesthetic, which could be done at the surgery. I wasn't happy about the thought of having my finger operated on and in an attempt to avoid it at all costs, I took Echinacea tablets regularly for a few weeks. This worked for me, the lump gradually went down and has left a tiny circular mark in the joint. Since then, I have used Echinacea whenever I feel it necessary to boost my immune system. Obviously, I can't say that it would work for everyone, in all cases, but it saved me having a small operation.
    Hope you are recovering now.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Hi Ellie. Rose thorns carry a fungus which can be nasty. What a relief the echinacea worked. We use it in the winter for coughs and colds.

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  2. Poor you, that sounds horrible. You made me laugh with the princess comment. I have become far more squeamish than I ever used to be. I also did work experience at a couple of veterinary practices and had no trouble at all, but I'm not so good with blood and guts these days. The middle boy nearly passed out the other day when I lanced a blister for him! Hope you're all better soon. CJ xx

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    1. I'm getting a lot of jokes at home about watching out for peas beneath the mattress. X

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  3. Oh my goodness!! That isn't good is it! Well, it is good that you are OK of course, but it isn't good that it happened. GLOVES!!!! Glad that the greenfly thingy worked! Take care of yourself! xx

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    1. The stupid thing is I wear gardening gloves all the time at home just didn't think about it for away from home x

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  4. Ouch! That makes me shuddery thinking about it.

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    1. Ouch indeed. Such a stupid thing to have done. Lesson learnt!

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  5. ouch, but it does make you worry about these stories of antibiotic uselessness and stuff like that...sugar has anbiotic properties, so I think does silver in some form or another.

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    1. I've heard about silver. Didn't know about sugar. Honey is great for wounds. Also tea tree oil and my favourite beeswax. I have a friend who got v sick in the wilds of Africa and is only alive today because she used frankincense to treat herself until she could get medical help.

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  6. Oh goodness, poor old you. I hope you are feeling a bit better. Who would have thought that would happen! I like the word internet, a great invention. x

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    1. It's almost back to normal know, thank goodness! I do love the inventiveness of the teenage brain!

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  7. oh my! who would've thought a thorn could wreak so much havoc! i'm glad you're feeling somewhat better. incidentally, antihistamines make me feel like poo -- i had to take them after The Wasp Sting Incident a couple of years ago and i felt like utter crud for days.

    i'm laughing, though...at L and his Outernet...i'll have to tell girl-child that one.

    i'm not squeamish, as a rule, but i don't do well with eyeball trauma nor violent death/dismemberment - roadkill makes me Flinch and Look Away.

    or rigor mortis. that's always freaked me out. :) xo

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    1. I now have a new respect for thorns :-). I've been giggling about the Outernet ever since he first used it. My fainty stuff only happens when it's me or members of my family. Am generally ok if not related to the injury! Hope you're all well? Xx

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  8. That doesn't sound nice at all. I am eyeing my berberis thorn studded fingers rather suspiciously now..

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    1. I've had hundreds of thorn injuries over the years and never reacted like this before :-(. Gloves from now on. Better safe than sorry I feel!

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  9. Blimey oh Riley - who knew gardening could be life threatening! Glad you are ok though xx

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    1. Bit scary isn't it? I've lived my whole life in the outdoors (almost) and never experienced anything like that before! Xx

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  10. L sounds a typical teenager, I'm sorry your method to encourage him into the Outernet just didn't go according to plan! I'm so sorry that you had such a horrible experience, it really makes you think. I hope you are now making a good ecovery. Sarah x

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    1. I'm hoping the allure of an axe will out-weigh any concerns he has about the dangers of being outside :o) Feeling much better now, thanks x

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  11. Oh my, thank goodness you're ok. That could have been very nasty by the sounds of it. Evil little blighters those thorns! xx

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  12. Salutary indeed! I'm afraid I'm a bit gung-ho!
    Although my husband did spend a week in hospital with his arm in the air, being dosed with antibiotics after he got a splinter in his hand from polishing the bed with a dirty duster (indoors)...
    Glad you are feeling better (assuming that the worst is over) :)

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  13. that sounds ever so slightly ... HORRIFying!
    Hope you have completely recovered, and got a good pair of gloves for the the next attack.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x