Many years ago, the Duck was taking a hike with my parents. The hike was uneventful…at first. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened…until we drew close to the end of our excursion…and I tripped and fell on a cactus.
Cacti come in many forms, as do their spikes. Some cacti have tiny spikes like little hairs that stick into your skin and go unnoticed until you touch them just right and feel that sudden sting of pain. This cactus, however, had long, thick spikes. As I fell, I held out my left hand, the very hand that took the brunt of the fall. From where I subsequently sat on the ground, I inspected my wounded hand to find maybe half a dozen 1-2 inch long spikes protruding from my fingers.
Mother Duck and Father Duck had no idea what to do. As I implored them to help me pull out the spikes, they pondered if the best course of action was to rush to the emergency room. Deciding it was up to me if I intended to rid myself of these nuisances within the next few minutes, I began pulling out one spike after another. As I pulled, my skin was pulled outward like a tent until the spike came free. I repeated this process, much to my parents’ surprise, until all of the spikes had been removed.
While the whole ordeal was not quite as painful as one might imagine, that is not to say it was painless, either. It was, to put it lightly, very unpleasant indeed, and as we proceeded to walk back to the car, I was attempting to pour water from the bottle we had brought along onto my injuries to help ease the discomfort. This led to a bee chasing me because it wanted a piece of that precious moisture for itself.
Though I eventually recovered, the worst injury came in the form of a spike that had struck the joint on my left ring finger. This finger was paralyzed, unable to be bent, for at least a month afterward. I don’t believe cactus spikes are poisonous, so I’m not totally sure what caused my poor finger to get stuck for such a long time.
To this day, Mother Duck is still in awe at how easily I was able to pull multiple thick spikes from my hand without any medical assistance. My response is always the same: the spikes were more painful to leave in than to extricate. It’s kind of like removing a band-aid…if band-aids were known for impaling people, that is….