Sunday, January 12, 2014

How to Remove a Sliver Painlessly

Her son had a sliver in his palm, explained a caller from the Airport Marriott. Could I come and remove it? The child was two.

Two is the worst age for a dignified doctor-patient relationship. Infants love everyone, and older children listen to reason. At two, girls are often terrified into silence, but males who don’t like doctors make for a noisy consultation.

Removing a fresh sliver with tweezers is easy, but most victims pluck at it with their fingertips, breaking off the tip, leaving the remainder nestled out of reach under the skin. 

As I unwrapped a scalpel, the parents assured the child that it wouldn’t hurt. Long experience had taught that this was a lie, so his protests became deafening.

In fact, the parents were right. Both worked hard to immobilize the child at first, but when it became clear there was no pain, he calmed. Your epidermis is dead skin, so shaving the very surface with a scalpel should be painless. I shaved enough to expose the splinter. A new safety razor works as well.

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