Saga of red ants and wedding bands

August 16, 2019

Mike Wilcox Editor/Publisher

I was looking forward to a great weekend, but first I had to perform a Saturday morning ritual which was pulling weeds. I was about two hours In to the weed pulling process when I felt a painful sting on my left gloved hand. A group of pesky little red ants had bitten through the glove causing the stinging sensation.

No matter. I thought little of it until several hours later sitting at a restaurant I noticed my wedding band was extremely tight on my finger. The ants had bitten me on the knuckle above my wedding band and by that time the finger had swelled to the point the wedding band was inhibiting the flow of blood.

Instead of enjoying my lunch I sat at the restaurant with hand in ice water. We left a short while later and at home proceeded with the ice water therapy, coupled with Google suggestions to somehow get the ring off the finger. Of course nothing worked so I went to bed in frustration.

I awoke early next morning around 5 a.m. and noticed a massive blister had formed just above the knuckle. My wife, who was unable to convince me to go to urgent care the night before, now demanded I climb in to the passenger seat, and she personally was driving me there.

Once there I was whisked in to an examination room where the Physician’s Assistant (PA) applied some surgical ointment to the swollen finger. As I knew the wedding band wouldn’t budget. He tried another solution same result.

He was getting perturbed. Jokingly, at least I thought he was joking, he wondered why his first patient on a Sunday morning (me) had to have such a difficult problem. “Why couldn’t I just have a cold?” he asked.

He next got a piece of thread and attempted to insert the thread underneath the wedding band and wrap it around the finger, and then quickly unwind the threat in hopes that the band would slide off the finger. Not a chance. The wedding band didn’t budge.

I told the PA to just cut the wedding band off. My Google searches had noted that most urgent care centers had tools that could easily cut through the band.

But he hadn’t given up, yet. The erstwhile PA left the room for five minutes and came back with a bundle of gift wrap ribbon. Hmm I thought he must have went to the grocery store next door to purchase the ribbon.
“This will get the job done,” he proudly exclaimed.

He again used the needle to slip the wider and thicker gift ribbon under the ring, wrapped it tightly around the entire finger and then pulled. Shazaam this was magic. Guess again, the ring didn’t budge.

In a look that only spelled defeat, he agreed, our only choice was to cut the band. He went to grab an appropriate cutting tool. Five minutes later he returned with nothing in hand. There was no such tool at the urgent care nor apparently at the grocery store.

At this point he was more frustrated than I. He asked if I would accept a shot in the butt that would lower the swelling and maybe later the band would come off. I hesitatingly agreed, and a few minutes later was on my way home. Urgent care had failed, but I couldn’t fault the PA. He gave it his best shot.

It is now five days later and although the swelling has somewhat dissipated the wedding band remains firmly implanted on my finger. I can tell there is no way soon it will be removed. Wasps and bee stings have never bothered me, but red ants and poison ivy, which I find with frequency, always create havoc.

My mother was a stickler about making sure the shrub and flower beds were free of weeds. I obviously inherited that trait from her, but maybe it’s is now time to hang up those gardening tools.

This wedding band episode is the last straw or maybe not. The red ants won the battle, but maybe I can win the war.

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