12 January 2009

How to get a stuck ring off your finger aka Don't Panic.

Two weeks ago, when we zipped very rapidly out of the in-laws, I moved so quickly that I left a few things behind.

One of them was my rings. I only wear two, a plain band on my left hand and my engagement ring on my right (sometimes I switch them) and I actually don't think I have had them off for longer than overnight (barring that time I thought the dryer had eaten one ring a few years ago, then found it in the couch) since I was married.

So I felt a little naked.

I looked through the few things that I brought to Europe with me (don't ask why I thought I wouldn't use earrings for two+ years- I have been wearing my Mickey Mouse dangly earrings since last year!) and found an eternity band that had belonged to my grandmother. I thought some sentimental thoughts and put it on.

All went well for 8 days. Then, three days ago, all my joints ached. I made some jokes about weather changes (and it did change, from quite dry and cold to much warmer and melty) and thought no more of it. Until I woke up Saturday morning with my fingers swollen and achey (arthritis is annoying) and tried to take the ring off. And wasn't able to.  I am a bit claustrophobic so this bothered me. I soaped up and tried. No luck. I tried oil. Also no luck. And I was skinning my finger and my knuckle was looking purple. I took some deep breaths and decided to try later. I spent the day avoiding salt, drinking coffee (a diuretic) and taking ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory).

That evening I tried again, after soaking my hand in cold water. Again no luck. I swallowed my anxiety attack and googled the problem. This was a great link. I decided to sleep with my hand over my head and try in the morning but sometime in the night Thing1 appeared in bed and wound up sleeping on that arm and though the ring was looser in the morning when I tried to remove it in the shower (I got impatient!) it didn't work and my knuckle swelled again.

Last night, after the kids were in bed, we decided to go all out. If we couldn't get the ring off, I would need to go to a doctor in the morning and see if there would be any way to get this ff without destroying it (this is why my actual wedding bands are so simple: snipping them would be easy as would be the repair).

I put my hand in a bowl of ice water (and that was all the ice in our tiny freezer) to try chilling it, while sitting on the floor to elevate my hand above my heart. That was extremely painful. After the first minute I could only dunk my hand in because the pain was intense. I gave up within a few minutes. I have a big bottle of Windex that came over wit us and I put some in a spray bottle (I don't know what the effective ingredient is, so I was afraid that my Frosch glass cleaner wouldn't work). Then we tried wrapping the finger in saran wrap tightly, but it slid off as I sprayed the Windex and the German twisted on the ring, so we stopped, took off the wrap and started again.

There was a moment, when we heard a CRACK, that the German wanted to stop, but I kept spraying and pulling back on the skin at the base of my finger and told him to keep going and... it did come off. You can't belive how relieved I was. The pain was less than that of putting my hand in the icewater and the residual pain was less than when I had been horsing on the ring with soap.

The ring went in my jewelry box and I don't think that I shall be wearing it again this year!


Anonymous said...

This has happened to me many times so I know how you felt. (I have RA.) I can see the day when I'll stop wearing rings at all; a pity, since rings are my favorite jewelry and I rarely wear anything else. Glad you got everything fixed.

honeypiehorse said...

There's a running joke in My Big Fat Greek Wedding about how Greeks use Windex for everything. Sounds like they're onto something. ;-)

G in Berlin said...

@Wintersong- a dear friend has RA. It is terrible. I hope yours is under control. I do know that I shall be wearing snippable rings in the future!
@honeypiehorse: I have to watch that again- you are the second person to say that to me and I totally didn't remember that from the movie (it was a long time ago but I do remember finding it funny). Windex is da bomb!

Diane Mandy said...

What an ordeal! Wow! I'm relieved you managed to save the ring and your finger.

Anonymous said...

Glad this story had a happy ending... phew!