I fell on a stabby California shrub a couple weeks ago while dirt biking and got a couple splinters. I removed some, but there was a piece lodged pretty superficially, but far into the wound that I could see moving under my skin, but couldn’t remove. I waited for it to come out on its own, but after the wound oozed for a bit, my arm decided that it was content to be part-tree and it healed over without ejecting the foreign object. (BA! PA DA DA! BA! BA! PA DA! Foreign oooobject!) It got itchy and felt hot to the touch and a physician-coworker said something about potential necrosis so I made an appointment at my GP.

“I’m not convinced there’s something in here. It just seems a little inflamed. I want you to get an ultrasound to check for a foreign body before I cut it open.”
“Well, there was definitely something in there two weeks ago and nothing came out and then it healed over. Is the ultrasound in clinic or the lab next door?”
“No, you’d have to go over to the hospital and then come back.”
“…Can you just cut it open and dig around?”
“Well.. If you’re sure…”

And so, she numbed up the skin, cut over the bump, immediately found a twig under my skin, and removed it. I think this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever had stitches. Not bad for considering the moderate amount of risk I’ve added to my life through my hobbies for the last ten years.

As my doctor stitched me up, she said, “This is a peaceful way to start my morning! That was the easiest extraction I’ve ever done!”

After my years of care at my doctor’s office with unsolvable medical maladies, I’m more than happy to be the easy case of the day. And that is the boring story of how I wound up with stitches in my arm.

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