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- Skin Diseases & Conditions
Warts: a small thing to be such a pain to remove.
A few years ago I had a very stubborn wart. It happened to be a plantar wart within the palm of my hand, in the fleshy area between the thumb and the forefinger. This concept does go against the actual definition of 'plantar wart' but I named it as such because it looked and acted in exactly the same way as a plantar wart. I tried for years to get rid this thing. Wrapping it in duct tape wouldn't work since the tape kept getting worn off too fast. The drug store acid solution for warts barely touched it and none of the sticky strip types stayed on any better than the duct tape.
I did consult a few doctors. The first one didn't believe me that it was a wart, he said it was a callus. The next said something similar along the lines of 'it can't be a wart, but I'm not sure what it is". Finally the next one said, "yup, that's a wart" and we started to freeze the sucker. Unfortunately after the third treatment I couldn't get back into the doctors office for about 2 weeks and in that time it blossomed right back to it's original size, maybe even a bit larger.
So I started to think of alternatives. It came down to two options, cutting or burning. To burn a wart off you place one or two match heads on the offending wart and light them. This is painful but fast. I doubted this would work for a plantar wart though since the majority of a plantar is burried deep within the skin. This would mean that I would likely have to do a series of burn sessions and I detest burns. To me the most painful type of injury is a burn.
That left cutting out the wart. I approached my aunt who is a registered nurse for advice and she told me she'd done the same for herself a couple of times. She got a few items for me and we met at my grandmothers house to do the deed. I'm not sure why I picked my grandmothers house, I guess I just felt more secure there and I knew my grandmother wouldn't mind.
The list of items that my aunt had collected was short but very smart. Alcohol of course, sanitary swabs, a couple of bowls, a couple of the largest syringe needles she could find, some blue gel type patches for on burn wounds and some gauze wrapping and tape.
After rinsing my hands with some alcohol we sat down at the kitchen table and she gave me some instruction. The syringe needles where to do the actual cutting with and whenever I felt it necessary I could take a break. One bowl was filled 1/3 with alcohol and the other with water. I could use the swabs or the cloth my grandmother gave me to wipe off any excess blood and to use the alcohol and water whenever I needed as well.
I took a close look at the syringe needles and found them to be well suited to the job. The needles where big enough that I could actually see the bladed edges and how the round edges curved down to the tip. My aunt told me that the curve will actually help, since the wart is round, the curve would help me keep to cutting the wart out and not cutting into the good flesh of my hand. Also, because of the way the tip is sharp on both sides all I had to to was push in and not try to cut over as well. My first series of 'cuts' was actually a series of pushing the needle tip in around the edge of the wart.
I actually didn't feel the pain of first two tiny cuts. The needle was so sharp it reminded of a paper cut. I could feel the blade separating the skin but the pain hadn't hit yet. When I did start to feel the pain it wasn't actually bad at all. I attribute this to the fact that I was only inflicting some small surface wounds to myself.
As I continued to circle the wart with little, careful punctures with the needle the pain started to get worse. By this time though I thought to myself I had made it this far, I'm going to get rid of this thing once and for all. Taking short breaks and deep calming breaths helped, but I didn't dare break for too long or I wouldn't get started again. I realized something too, pushing past the pain of the cutting I could actually feel the difference if the blade was pushing against wart flesh and my hand flesh. The wart was denser and less giving. Recognizing this I was able to make sure I didn't leave any bit of the wart behind since it could easily grow back from a tiny bit. Also, by following this feeling I was slowly cutting a cone shape, the tip of the needle angling inwards.
Once the diameter of the bottom of the cone shape was small enough I feared cutting through it accidentally I stopped. Now came the part I was truly dreading. All warts have roots and these roots have to come out as well. By cutting the top of the wart off my job was only halfway done. I had to grab the top part of the wart and pull the roots out.
If a doctor was cutting out a wart I'm sure they would simply cut in deep and cut the roots out. But I didn't have access to numbing agents and I wasn't willing to cut that deep. So, taking a swab I wiped off some blood and grabbed the wart with my thumb and a couple fingers, my finger nails curving down beneath the body of the wart. Taking a deep breath and tried to prep myself and realized I couldn't do this sitting down. Getting up I walked to the bathroom and stood over the sink.
I had been staring at my hand for so long it was a bit of a surprise to focus in on my face in the mirror. Somehow I had expected to be pale or something but I just looked normal. I pulled the wart out while looking in the mirror. It seemed easier not to look at it and while it did hurt it was a fast pain and such a relief to finally have it done.
I turned to find my aunt standing beside me. She held the bowl of alcohol out and I dropped the wart into it and rinsed my finger tips as well. She then turned the tap on for me and I held my bleeding hand under the cold water. Once it was rinsed she took a look at it and said, "you didn't get it all."
My jaw dropped, "what?" "It's not bleeding enough, all warts attach themselves to a blood supply and your not bleeding enough."
She calmly turned and walked out of the bathroom. All I remember is thinking 'Like Hell' and being very very pissed I dug into the hole in my hand with my short finger nails, grabbing SOMETHING and pulling. Not even bothering to look at what I was now holding in my one hand or looking at my other aching, painful hand I walked out behind my aunt and said "there! now I got it all."
My aunt turned and quickly put the bowl she was holding beneath my hand before I dripped blood over the floor since I now had a constant stream seeping from the hole. Her reply was "yup, looks good." Gotta love nurses.
So, she cleaned me up and dressed my hand with the burn gel patch before wrapping the gauze around and tapping it up. Apparently the burn stuff is good for open wounds as well since they won't stick and will help to stop the bleeding. Anything and everything that touched the wart was sterelized with alcohol or bleach. And later I discovered it had taken me over an hour to cut the wart out, and that my grandmother had hovered in the next room, unable to watch but wanting to be close.
That is how I finally got rid of my wart and today I don't have a mark on me to show where it was. No scar, no callus, not a thing. So while yes it was painful, it was completely worth it and yes, I'd do it again.