Monday, 8 February 2010
This morning I did something I do with regularity but the outcome was different and changed the course of the next hour considerably. While opening the bamboo blinds in the kitchen I reached up and straightened the roller. Ouch! A splinter embedded itself into my finger. I quickly let go of the blind and the unsymmetrical shape no longer bothered me as the sharp pain coursed through my finger. I tried to convince myself that nothing was in there that my skin just caught the edge of the wood but the reality of the increasing throbbing pain told me otherwise. Leaving the blind I inspected my finger in the rising light from outside. It was getting redder and darker. Frantically I searched for a needle to get it out. Grateful that I could use my stronger hand I began to break the skin around the dark patch on my finger. The imperceptible hole that it had made to enter my finger was now getting larger as I stabbed around trying to dislodge it. I was squeezing it and gently pushing the sliver of wood back to the surface of my skin. It seemed to hurt more as I tried to get it out than when it went in.
Splinters are almost on a par with stones in your shoe for being the most uncomfortable experience caused by a small item in your life. They are there. You can feel them – constantly causing you discomfort and try as you might you cannot dislodge them so the pain continues until you can be free, somehow. Eventually the stone is shaken loose or the slither of wood is squeezed out from under the skin and you are liberated from the suffering. But even when the obstacle is removed, the phantom stone or splinter remains in the same place causing you distress. It is as if nothing has changed for a while, until you become accustomed to a pain free existence.
Now with the splinter removed there is a small flap of loose skin as a reminder of the foreign body that was temporarily implanted in me. It caused pain and I will remember it – for a while – then everything will be back to normal again.
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