Rox and I were enjoying Sunday Brunch last week, when she thought she had sipped a piece of ice along with her Coke. Since it wiggled, she immediately spit it out in her hand, and the honeybee immediately bit her on the tip of her ring finger.
The stinger was protruding from her skin, so we both worked together to pull it out. We didn’t think to remove her wedding ring, and before we knew it, her finger had swelled to twice its normal size. Now, we tried to remove the rings, but oil and the reverse sting method were no match for the sausage-like swelling!
The finger began to turn bright red with blackish splotches, so we called our physician friend Tim to ask him to take a look.
It was a bad enough that we decided to walk across the street to the emergency room. They surgeon on duty said immediately that the ring had to come off. This type of swelling can lead to major complications.
They gave Rox two injections, an antibiotic and a swelling reducer. The swelling was now so severe that the ring was hiding in the puffiness.
They wrapped Roxanne’s other fingers and hand with adhesive tape, and then brought out a hacksaw, which did absolutely no good. Some emergency rooms have what is known as a ring cutter--but not here...
An EMT man in the room suggested that his friend, who used Dremel tools to fashion figurines, might have the right bit to saw or grind the ring off. No one else had a better idea, and time was definitely critical, so off we went in the car for about three miles on paved road and three more on dirt roads, back into the hills. 30 minutes driving time...
We came to a village, and stopped in front of a little hut/workshop. David, the sculptor, came out and was shocked to see the size and appearance of the finger. He became more worried when his friend asked him to use his tools to cut off Rox’s ring. Here is the home/workshop...
He had to borrow the correct bit from a fellow craftsman. This was the grinding disk that fits the Dremel tool. We needed light and a place for Rox to sit, as the guys did the cutting, so we lifted the back lid of the SUV and Rox sat inside with her hand out. Every touch to her swollen finger was terrible, so you can imagine how it felt to have the EMT guy hold her finger, while David the craftsman tried to grind the ring apart.
The ring got hot really fast, so they continually dribbled water on the cut, from a dish. Also, her ring actually had three bands, so the work was compounded. In addition, they were stymied about making the final cut, until the EMT guy found a popsicle stick lying in the road. They sharpened the end and slid it under to raise the ring away from her skin.
It took 40 minutes to finally cut thru the bands, all the time trying not to cut or burn Rox’s skin. Now, to get the ring off, each guy had to take a pair of needle nosed pliers and one side of a band and pull outward. They told her that this would hurt a lot worse than the cutting, but she would just have to bear it.
After a couple of false starts, they were finally able to pull all six side straight out and away from the finger. The finger was so swollen that they had to “walk” it off. Rox was really brave here.
We all cheered. Everyone hugged everyone else, including a generous tip for the two tired and sweating “cutters”. We figured that if we hadn’t been able to get the ring off this soon, that Rox could have been in danger of losing her finger.
We returned to the hospital, where the surgeon prescribed more antibiotics and pain pills. Finally, after a couple of days the swelling went down.. It was a great relief, as the surgeon and our friend Tim, were both concerned that the blood vessels could have been damaged permanently.
We were a little busy, so we never took photos of the above drama...however, here is a shot of Rox's finger TWO DAYS AFTER THE RING WAS REMOVED!
This is a shot of the ring. You can imagine how painful it was having this worked on next to a painful, swollen finger.
All the medical treatment was free. Roxanne waited until the finger looked better, and we trooped into the emergency room staff meeting with sacks of special pastries and were greeted with applause and cheers.
For David, we traveled back to his primitive workshop, and presented him with a new Dremel set, complete with a bunch of new bits. The smile on his face lit up the room.
The family was beaming, too...
As is the custom, he then presented Roxanne with some of his carvings made from the famous Tagua nut.
This is David and Rox re-enacting the ring removal scene...
Our friend Tim was invaluable with his advice, support, and concern.
The staff in the emergency room across the street was terrific, and the EMT guy deserves a special thank you for his quick thinking and hard work.