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Cholla in the Finger!!! Any advice.
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Nov 6, 2008
Let me paint the picture. Halloween night, riding back home on my single speed road bike in costume and run off the road by a car causing my front wheel to hit the curb. This sent me over the bars, and into a patch of cholla (I think silver cholla, but could have been a younger jumping cholla). Thousands of cholla joints end up covering my entire body (head, face, neck, back, butt, the jewels, legs, knees, feet, and hands). I ended up in the ER room, with two people yanking those god forsaken plant parts off me.

Well it's been almost a week since the run-in, and some of the cholla spines have broken off and are still in my skin (mainly my fingers and bottom of my foot). The affected areas are starting to swell a little, and are really sore. This makes climbing more difficult than it needs to be. Does anyone have and advice (other than soaking in salt water) or tips on removing and dealing with these spines?

Thanks in advance.
Brent Silvester
Joined Jan 15, 2008
15 points
Nov 6, 2008
I hate to chuckle over someone else's misfortune, but you gotta admit that's a pretty funny story...just out of curiosity what was your Halloween costume?

And to the matter at hand (har har):
I had a few tiny cactus thorns in my hand this summer on a backpacking trip and I ended up just taping over them with athletic tape. I think while sweating over the course of the next day or so, my skin was supple enough that the adhesive of the tape stuck to the ends of the thorns. When I took the tape off it had a few thorns stuck to it. Rinse, repeat...I might add that if your finger is swollen already, maybe a bit of antibiotic ointment under the tape would be called for too?
AJS
From Boulder, CO
Joined Mar 4, 2008
0 points
Nov 6, 2008
I heard recently that Cholla spines actually deploy smaller thorns once in your skin. activated by blood or somthing. You may want to have a doctor check that out again. I guess cholla thorns typically kill animals becuase they are so hard to get out. The animal gets it in their mouth then wont eat and then dies. Then the cholla sprouts out of the carcus and grows into a new cholla. Crazy. I could be wrong based on types of chollas.

Either way. Might wanna have that checked out. Sounds like they did not get them all out. Your body may naturally start to push them out but that could take a while. OUCH!>

good luck
SAL
From broomdigiddy
Joined Mar 23, 2007
340 points
Nov 6, 2008
Brent sorry to hear this. Perhaps it may not be a bad idea to visit a doctor or an outpatient clinic for some antibiotics...

Cholla cactus "Jumping cactus" thorns have backwards facing barbs on them, and are sleaved. When you pull them out, they often leave behind a sleave in you that will cause infection. There is also a highly irritating oil on the thorns
kirra
Joined Feb 1, 2006
345 points
Nov 6, 2008
AJS wrote:
I hate to chuckle over someone else's misfortune, but you gotta admit that's a pretty funny story...just out of curiosity what was your Halloween costume?


I was an inappropriate yoga instructor (youtube inappropriate yoga guy) for Halloween. So I was wearing some skin tight pants, sandals, and a wife beater. Absolutely no protection offered by the costume. When I got to the ER room, I was so covered in cholla joints that they just cut my cloths off of me. Nothing like spending a night on a hospital bed naked, with a male and female nurse picking cholla out of my privates.

Another interesting fact. My hands were so covered in cholla that I could not get into my backpack to get my phone. So I had to yell for help until someone called the cops. When the fire fighters responded, they tried (to no success) to call my girlfriend who had her phone off. Since I was so covered with cholla, the first responders decided to let me be until I got to the hospital. So, covered in cholla, unable to move, with no one to help and no one to call left me the only option of taking an Ambulance ride to the ER.

Funny. Absolutly. Although not right now seeing as my fingers are preventing me from doing the things I love.

Thanks for the advice, any more would be greatly appreciated.
Brent Silvester
Joined Jan 15, 2008
15 points
Nov 6, 2008
Brent,

Hard times guy...I actually seen the pictures of you floating around in an email just yesterday. Tucson Fire using a pick comb to help you out....you had on flops...if so, wow, you were covered from head to toe...all other answers aside, you will most likely have to let the little dudes work their way out....at least after I've given up trying to dig them out I just leave them and they oooooze out later...man it feels good when they finally give up and pop out....kinda like when the turkeys done...pop...out comes the little thermometer..get well soon.
Roach
From Tucson
Joined May 4, 2006
5 points
Nov 6, 2008
Yeah I too have seen tape(duct) work nicely at removing spines. Duct tape adhesive ain't the best thing to put on your skin but it's better than cactus. No experience with cholla though. Did they at least give you some drugs at the hospital? Mark Griffin
From Boulder, CO
Joined Apr 10, 2006
25 points
Nov 6, 2008
They tried with the drugs, but I am not as financially set as I would like, and only have major medical insurance, so I firmly refused the drugs. I figured the ER room and the Ambulance ride would empty my pockets without any help from meds and drugs. Brent Silvester
Joined Jan 15, 2008
15 points
Nov 6, 2008
Brent. . . I have little advice but maybe can help ease your pain with an "I've been there story". Although yours is worse.

I was really, really drunk on tequila one night at Shelf Rd with 2 friends. I got the bright idea to go streaking under the moonlight in the desert. I started running and clothing started flying. The first thing I took off was my SHOES. While running half naked I firmly planted both bare feet on top of a cholla. I fell into the middle of the road, half naked, withering in pain. All I could see out of the corner of my eyes was my 2 half naked partners running to the rescue. They picked me up, laid me down on the picnic table, covered me up and began the torture. One man was by my face. He'd give me a shot of tequila and kiss me to try to distract me while the other guy pulled. It FUKKING hurt. Wow! I really feel for you. If I had balls and had them stuck there I'm sure I would die.

A lot of the quills came out but a lot also broke off. Some of the ones that remained stayed for a long time. My body eventually got rid of them on its own but it took weeks before everything was gone. The mental anguish never goes away but you have a great story to tell and you'll feel better about telling it once the pain goes away.

I will never look at a cholla the same again, or tequila for that matter. :-)
Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Joined May 28, 2002
395 points
Nov 6, 2008
I had one in the side of my foot that scarred then a hard scar tissue formed around it and it stayed that way about 3 years. it finally dissolved and now there is only a slight discoloration.
S
bio
From mesa, az
Joined Dec 20, 2007
815 points
Nov 7, 2008
Wow, what a bummer.
Post some pics.

Duck tape and time.
Unfortunately, you're basically really screwed.
Cholla is just down right insidious.
In the full moon it gives off a most sinister glow.

If it were me, I'd spend some time each night with a loupe,
a very sharp thin needle and the best tweezers money can buy.
Start digging the festering bastards out.
The festering can actually help because sometimes once they
get to that point you have them suspended in a semi-fluid. ugh...

Saw a buddy take an agave in the knee area years back in Sedona.
3 years later the tip worked it's way out the back of his knee.
Paul Davidson
Joined Jan 22, 2007
585 points
Nov 7, 2008
Sometimes it helps to have a wife who's a doc.....

>From an article on the subject in a dermatology online journal: Glochidia are the cholla spines.

Glochidia may be difficult to remove. Yanking out the bristles may result in leaving one or more 20 micron-30 micron sized barbs in the skin, later to be manifest by granuloma formation.[4] Attempts to suck out the glochidia are likely to result in their attachment to the tongue.[7] Popular methods of removing glochidia have included spreading adhesive plaster over the area and ripping it off quickly or using melted wax (hot wax sometimes employed for removing hair). Martinez et al.[16] studied various methods of removing glochidia from rabbit skin. They evaluated tweezers, glue, facial mask, adhesive tape, package-sealing tape, and tweezing followed by glue. The most effective single method was tweezing, which removed 76% of the spines. The method using a thin layer of household glue (Elmer's Glue-All, Borden Inc) covered with gauze, allowed to dry (about 30 minutes) and then peeled off resulted in removal of 63% of the spines. Facial mask and adhesive tapes removed about 40% and 30% of the spines, respectively, and produced more retention and inflammation three days after removal than no treatment. Repeated applications of adhesive tape did not improve the results.

  • ***==> According to Martinez, the most effective method is to first use tweezers to remove clumps of spines followed by the application and removal of household glue, resulting in removal of 95% of the spines.

===
And the bad news:
Left untreated, these lesions may last as long as 9 months. A biopsy of the later lesions reveals granuloma formation with plant material embedded in the dermis. The fragments of the barbed bristles gave strongly positive reactions with PAS.[5] The presence of a cactus granuloma lesion is often followed by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

-----------
I didn't know about the glue trick.
Now I just hope I never, ever, have to use it.
Paul Davidson
Joined Jan 22, 2007
585 points
Nov 7, 2008
So, to summarize the suggestions so far: duct tape, tequilla and glue...sounds like a good time waiting to happen!

Best of luck Brent!
AJS
From Boulder, CO
Joined Mar 4, 2008
0 points
Nov 7, 2008
Oh man, don't know when I've had such an odd sensation of horror, sympathy, and stifled laughter at the same time. Sorry to hear, man...ha ha...really sorry! :) Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Joined Mar 4, 2008
0 points
Nov 7, 2008
Hey Brent, you da man!

Rock Climbing Photo: ouch!
ouch!


JF
j fassett
From tucson
Joined May 19, 2006
45 points
Nov 7, 2008
Brent,

You're already famous! I got that pick off a porn site...grim!

Hope you're doing well,

JF
j fassett
From tucson
Joined May 19, 2006
45 points
Nov 7, 2008
OMG ~
Brent if humor will make you feel better... It looks like your trying out a new dance ~

~ The Funky Cholla ~(:



I hope you don't take this in a bad way (will delete if you do) ~ sincere wishes -kirra
kirra
Joined Feb 1, 2006
345 points
Nov 7, 2008
I feel your pain as I have done this as well. I had a team of three people working on me with pliers to remove the spines. Soaking in a bath with Epsom salt will help get rid of the hooks still embedded in your skin. England
From ?
Joined Aug 26, 2008
125 points
Nov 7, 2008
i think video documentation would be better, what did you do to have god smite you like that?
seriously though, ive had a jumping cholla end up on my leg somehow, a nice 8 inch section, for the life of me i couldnt imagine what would have caused that burning sensation, so instantly without looking i try to knock off whatevers on my leg, turns out, the thing had punctured my leg and was holding tight, with my hand stuck to it, im sure by then i let out a sheepish cry, (i am sure i was under 15) when one of my dads buddies came over with 2 rocks to use like chopsticks...after i got my hand off of the damn thing....
once again, my story doesnt hold a candle to yours, good luck with a quick recovery...
mark
gimmesome roy
From alpine, ca
Joined Oct 7, 2006
75 points
Nov 7, 2008
Holy sh*t that is my worst nightmare come true!



Christian
From Casa do Cacete
Joined Jul 22, 2005
915 points
Nov 8, 2008
That's gonna make offwidths uncomfortable for a while. Good luck. manuel rangel
From Tempe, Arizona
Joined Jan 27, 2006
3,510 points
Administrator
Nov 8, 2008
Christian wrote:
Holy sh*t that is my worst nightmare come true!


Mine is getting eaten by monkeys.....for some reason...Best of luck Brent!
Hank Caylor
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Joined Dec 9, 2003
180 points
Nov 8, 2008
Rock Climbing Photo: ouch
ouch


I think this picture shows my finger issue. Thanks for the advice, help, and humor. JF, does your wife know about your sins on the computer? Stay away from those porn sites man, they'll kill your computer.
Brent Silvester
Joined Jan 15, 2008
15 points
Nov 8, 2008
damn! Bump for the pictures. Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,230 points
Nov 8, 2008
Wow!! I hope you get better soon. I wish there was something I could do Robert 560
From The Land of the Lost
Joined Mar 28, 2008
450 points
Nov 8, 2008
Maybe hot wax, like for hair removal? They sell kits at some stores, and you might be able to rip them suckers out and get that smooth beach body you've always wanted. Jesse Davidson
From san diego, ca
Joined May 30, 2007
5 points


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