Today I got a sliver (or splinter, as some call them) under my fingernail. A great big piece of wood from the mulch in the garden! OUCH is not quite a strong enough word to express how that felt (feels!).
Actually, there were two slivers. But the other one was in my thumb and was fairly easy to deal with. The one under my nail did not come out without a fight. A painful fight, at that.
Flashback to a childhood summer. I accidentally kicked the rusty metal of a car door, while wearing sandals, and ended up with a piece of rusty metal under the nail of my big toe. My folks tried to pull it out, but it broke. Tried soaking my foot in the tub. No help. Finally, my dad pulled out one of his dangerously sharp pocket knives. Uh oh.
I sat on the couch, paralyzed with fear, as my dad gradually shaved the toenail down until he was able to remove that piece of metal. It worked. And, despite my terror, he didn't nick me even once.
So today, as I considered my predicament, I thought of my dad. And I got out my pocket knife. And then--yep--I shaved my fingernail down and down and down (it took about an hour), until it was as thin as tissue paper. My oldest daughter overcame her squeamishness and helped by pressing the flesh of my finger down and away from the nail as I grabbed the sliver with the tweezers and--Hallelujah!--pulled it right out.
I must have said "Praise the Lord" about ten times. The relief was immense!
I have a crack about 1/3 of the way down my nail, and it is throbbingly sore. But the sliver is out and I will be able to sleep in peace.