Rose thorn infection update

alisande(Zone 4b)May 30, 2008

For those who missed the last thread on the subject, a month ago I got stabbed in the back of my right hand by a rose thorn. The next day my hand was swollen with red streaks, so on the advice of the good rosarians here I went to the ER, where I got a tetanus shot and ten days worth of antibiotics. I told the ER doctor that I thought a piece of the thorn might have stayed behind in my hand, but he said rose thorns are too tough to break off like that.

The swelling went down and the pain in my hand improved, but never disappeared entirely. My hand function is still impaired, and there's a hard bump (like a BB under the skin) at the entry point.

I went to see my doctor on Tuesday. He said part of the thorn was definitely in there and needs to come out. But because it's sitting on a nerve and tendon, he wanted an orthopedist to do it.

So early this morning I saw the orthopedist. He concurred that it's important that it be removed before it causes more problems. I thought at that point he would whip out his scalpel, maybe along with a needle for some Novocaine. But no, he said it'll require an operating room, anesthesia, and someone to drive me.

Can you believe it? All this time and trouble and expense because I made a careless move in the garden. (Believe me, I'm much better about wearing gloves these days.)

Susan

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carla17(Z7 NC)

Can you find someone to do the minor surgery in their office? Just a thought because I know someone who has their colonoscopies in a doctor's office under sedation.
Anethesia + operating room = $$$$$
After hearing this, I need to wear gloves.
Sorry it turned into this.

Carla

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:03PM
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athenainwi

Oh, that's awful. It's too bad the first doctor didn't notice the thorn still in there right away. I hope it all goes well.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:47PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I'm afraid I'd be rather frustrated with the first doctor. He really should have been more careful. So sorry you're having to go through so much. It does seem odd that it will require such extensive measures to take the thorn out. Wonder if the ER doctor would like to foot your bill?

Ingrid

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 2:01PM
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berndoodle

What a drag, Susan. I hope your orthopod is a hand specialist? If not, get one. You don't want nerve damage in your hand no how.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 2:34PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I was going to say, the first doctor doesn't know diddly about rose thorns. I always get the tips stuck in my feet and hands (I have a bad habit of going around barefoot). In fact, I have the tiny tip of one stuck in my finger right now, but it's not bothering me.

But last year, I had to have DH perform minor surgery on my feet to take out two. It wasn't too bad because my feet are so calloused, I couldn't feel anything.

I had a tetanus shot recently so I should be OK.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 2:51PM
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jody(7b - NC)

I think we should all save those bits of rose thorns that break off in our hands (and other places) and ship them to that emergency room doctor.

Susan, I'm sorry you are having to go through this, but hands are important. Maybe its for the best that emergency room doctor didn't do any more than he did, since he seems to be uninformed.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 5:19PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

Yikes!!! I am so sorry!! I'd get a second opinion on the surgery. I had a piece of glass lodged into the bottom of my foot (shouldn't have been walking around a party zone in college barefoot!), and the dr just dug it out in the office. Blech.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 6:12PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

If you cannot do it yourself, then the operating room is the way to go. I stopped breathing when they gave me local anesthesia the last time. it was a horrible allergic reaction, and I had no idea that I was allergic. I am thankful to have been in the hospital.

Years ago my daughters were playing with toothpicks in a motel. The end of one got lodged in my daughter's knee. After a couple of day trying to get it out, we applied hot compresses, then my husband was going to try to squeeze it out like a pimple. He barely squeezed, and the thing blew out. It scared us all. It really had a little force, and totally came out.

With the nerve involved, your doctor would have done something like this if it were safe. I think you are doing what is correct, but I also think a hand doctor would be good. (neurologist?? I don't have a clue)
Sammy

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 6:16PM
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caroleintegacay(SC/Zone 8)

I had a tiny tip of a thorn stuck in the back of my hand earlier this spring. I knew it was in there and tried digging it out with a needle. That didn't work...LOL!!! But then I remembered this gooey black salve that my Mom had used to remove a splinter in my knee as a kid. I Googled "drawing salve" and found it for sale somewhere on the internet. I used it on the thorn (covered with a bandaid for a few days and out it came!

I'm not sure I'd use in on a thorn that was resting on a nerve but for just for a random thorn it worked for me.

Carole

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 6:27PM
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lindawisconsin(4)

After 20 years of working in health care --
It sounds to me like you have good insurance and the orthopedist knows that. I'd ask more questions.
He wouldn't make much money from an office procedure, but he will in the operating room. I'd want to know more and if there are options to do it in office.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 6:28PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

You can pick up some particularly dangerous infections from rose thorns.
Serious stuff.

Jeri

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 6:42PM
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lindawisconsin(4)

Yes, serious infections can result from a puncture wound of any kind, and there are some known to occur more often in rose growers. I will always remember a question on the microbiology certification exam in which the key phrase was:
Patient is a rose gardener. It was a tipoff for a certain fungal infection.
However it sounds like the infection has been treated and cleared up with no symptoms of infection (redness, fever) remaining.
The question now is the removal of a foreign body under the skin.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 7:13PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I think the doctor is a hand specialist. He did my carpal tunnel surgery eight years ago.

Linda, I tend not to be terribly trusting of the medical profession (in general) myself. But in this case the physician knows I have insurance concerns, so if he's ordering the operating room for financial gain, he knows there's a chance I'll be hit for some of it. I'd be surprised if that were true, actually. This guy is a great deal less slick than many I've encountered, and the same is true of my PCP (who recommended him).

Like most doctors, though, he's fond of the drug Versed, and I told him I didn't want him to use it on me. He probably doesn't understand why I'm opposed to feeling pain but having my memory of it erased.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 8:59PM
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sandy808(9Fl)

I certainly would get another doctor's opinion, but I wouldn't wait a long time. There are a lot of nerves in the hand that can get damaged. If there is a less invasive method of getting the thorn out other than surgery, that would be great. However, you may find that your situation is more serious and that surgery is needed. I worked in the medical profession also, and sometimes I think surgery is suggested far too often. But....you need another opinion, and then you can make an informed decision.

I used to be careless around roses, and sometimes I still get scratched, but not as often. I used to have a huge mass planting of Knockouits grafted on fortuniana, planted too close together. The first spring after planting, I pruned these monsters. it took me a month to do all 53 of them working full time (they were 8 feet by 8 feet each, crammed 4 feet apart). The thorns were at least 2 inches long on them and very sharp. They tore through and shredded two pairs of thick rose gauntlet gloves. My upper body was horribly scratched. My friend, a nurse, was so worried about me getting a massive infection - one that antibiotics wouldn't be able to cure.

Fortunately I didn't become ill. I still have a few light scars on my arms. The second spring I couldn't bring myself to touch those roses. I'd go out with my pruners and go right back in the house. I hired someone to remove them all. Several pairs of this man's welding gloves were shredded. The only regrets I have are the money I wasted. I don't miss them at all. I do have 3 own root Knockouts that are manageable. I have those 3 because my husband likes them and missed the ones outside his office window.

I now have many roses, but with "normal" thorns. Even my prickly Autumn Damask is not anywhere near as bad as those Knockouts were. And yes, I am exteremly careful and always wear gloves, even when just picking a leaf or two off of a rose. I also wear safety glasses when pruning, as I got poked in the eye one time by a cane. You can think you're being careful, but things happen.

Good luck with your hand.

Sandy

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 10:19PM
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

alisande, thanks for the update. I was actually thinkinig about it not very long ago, really! I think you are a smart lady and know what to do that is the best for YOU.

Sammy, I have had similiar experiences with splinters. a couple weeks ago I got two BIG ones jammed in my finger while weeding my raised veggie bed. One came out right away, but the other refused to yield, even after I let hubby dig around for it until I couldn't take it anymore.

I remembered past experiences, and decided to wait a day or two. I soaked it and kept it clean, and pretty soon my body's reaction to the foreign object built up enough pressure behind it to pop that sucker out! Doesn't always work, though....

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 11:38PM
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Patricia43(z8 AL)

It sounds as though you had cellulitis and the antibiotic you were given was either ineffective or you did not have enough of it, but the part of the rose thorn remaining would have been hard to locate without a C-arm. There is a reason you should have this done in the appropriate setting where a C-arm can be used and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, don't (if it involves nerves and tendons) let anyone tell you it is not important enough to do in a proper surgical suite. Where you might get alone just fine, the chances of a morbid consequences are far too risky to worry about. Let it be done where your doctor can use a C-arm and have the appropriate monitoring equipment.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 12:38AM
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regina_nv(z6 Reno)

Alisande, I had a very similar experience with the tip of a thorn (not a rose in this case) broken off in a knuckle. Because it got infected, I also had to go on the antibiotic regimen. They did try a drawing solution, but no luck. The thorn tip had become encapsulated during the antibiotic treatment.

The solution was microsurgery by a hand specialist, in a hospital setting, but I was awake during the surgery. Because this occurred in New Zealand, the facilities are somewhat different, but it sounds like the solution is the same. Hands really are nothing to mess around with. It will be a relief when it's done, but it sounds like you are doing the right thing. I really doubt a second opinion would change anything.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 12:51AM
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roseman(Z 8A GA)

If there was ever a lesson on the need for having or keeping those tetanus shots up to date, this scenario is it. Fortunately for you, you went to the ER and had it taken care of, at least to a degree. I'm sure there are some doctors who would do out-patient surgery, but since tetanus is such a serious thing, perhaps you should do as the orthopedist suggests. After all is said and done, get a pair of goat skin leather gloves, and you should be fine. Oh, and keep that tetanus shot up to date.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 9:38AM
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jbcarr(7 VA)

Get it done in a controlled environment, with good lighting, proper instruments and good anesthesia- i.e. in an OR. Not every surgeon has an office set up for surgery. If you want to waste more time and money, then get a second opinion. His charge code/reimbursement is the same whether he does it in the office, or the OR. Hope it gets better.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 9:55AM
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Patricia43(z8 AL)

Roseman, Susan does not have Tetanus. She has a residual problem related to an unremoved rose thorn followed by a bout of cellulitis. The thorn has callused and if not removed, can potentially continue to cause damage to precious tendons sheaths, nerves, muscles, etc., thus disabling her hand and fine motor function.

Any doctor who would undertake this in his office would have two fools there, the patient and himself/herself, because hand tendon/nerve surgery is very delicate and proper long-term expectations, physically and for cosmesis, should only be performed in a controlled environment where proper techniques can and will be applied.

Incidentally, some insurance companies pay the surgeon a higher percentage for surgery that is done in an outpatient setting; therefore, the reason so many "surgical clinics" are popping up for day-surgery and this could be done in one of those but not in a doctor's office. That's a big difference.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 2:50PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

I really appreciate everyone's concern. I'm not inclined to get a second opinion as the orthopedist's statements made sense to me, and corroborated what my primary care physician had already told me. Plus I have some confidence in him based on past experience.

One thing I forgot to ask is how long a recovery period I can expect. I don't suppose I'll be able to go home after the surgery and start typing . . .

Oh, and would you believe I have another possible thorn issue? I discovered that one cannot remove tent caterpillars from rose bushes while wearing gloves. I've been careful while removing themÂreally! But yesterday I got the tip of a thorn stuck in the tip of my index finger. (Blame it on my aging eyes.) It took a bit of effort to get the piece of thorn out, but I finally sort of pushed it out. At least I hope it all came out. I'm a little concerned because pressure on that spot is more painful then I think it should be, and I can see a little dot under the skin. No infection, though.

Maybe I should be confined to the house during spring.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 3:22PM
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Patricia43(z8 AL)

Susan, discuss recovery with your physician. Ask him about the risks, benefits and alternatives, expected outcomes as well as potential risks, etc. Get that other thorn treated and buy some darn gloves. ;)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 3:43PM
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bloomorelse(Z4b NB Canada)

Hope your sugery and recovery goes well... and as Patrici43 said, keep your gloves on while in the garden.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 4:45PM
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sandy808(9Fl)

alisande, hope all goes well with getting that thorn out. You essentially did have two opinions, one from your primary care physician and one from the specialist. You most definitely want the thorn removed in a hospital setting if it is embedded deeply, and if there is any remote chance that nerves could be damaged. Hospitals have more state of the art equipment than an office would have.

We'll be praying for you. Please let us know how you're doing afterwards. And...you need to ALWAYS wear heavy duty gloves when working outside, especially around sharp objects like thorns (which are crawling with all kinds of critters).

Sandy

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:15AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

I'm glad you're getting surgery. That situation could have a serious outcome, i.e. losing hand. Keep us updated. We'll see how you type one handed!

Carla

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 8:23AM
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sandinmyshoesoregon

Getting a rose thorn caught under the skin is no different then any tiny injury to the skin. A pinhole can allow bacteria (that's always on the skin) into the body. This can cause havoc in a minority of people who are susceptible to infection. My husband is one of those people who ended up in the hospital, on I.V. antibiotic therapy, for several days after having a tiny injury to his foot.
Alisande's situation is different. I do wonder if an X-ray was taken to determine exactly where this little bump is in relation to nerves & tendons?
I work as a Surgical Secretary & one of the Surgeons told me a story of a patient he had once that spent a week in the hospital because of infection from a rose thorn. I've had thorns in my hands alot & they always work their way out without any problems. Again - it depends how susceptible one is.
Good to be aware, but no reason to get overly worried.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:47AM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Peggy, my understanding is that rose thorns are radiolucent, so they won't show up on an x-ray. This made me happy, as I was over-x-rayed in my youth and try to avoid it as much as possible. An ultrasound was discussed, but the orthopedist said so much depends on the skill of the technician, and he (the physician) is clear on the location anyway.

Thanks again, everyone.

Susan

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:24AM
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sparkshites

on saturday i got stuck with a rose thorn in the crease of my right index finger. (it's now wed) so... now my finger has swollen up twice the size of my other finger, it's hot and red/purple. it hurts like hell and i can't bend it either. i called my dad (he's a doc in oregon) and he called in a rx for me ( a z-pack) he said if it's not way better in 2 days that i must go see my gp as i probably have acquired a fungal infetion!!! does anyone know the treatment regimine for said inf??? ( i hate to bother him again) any info will be greatly appreciated thanx, christy

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 5:36PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Christy, could a piece of the thorn be left behind? I assume you read all the posts in this thread....

I don't know the treatment for a fungal infection, but the ER doctor told me roses can carry bacteria, fungi, and tetanus. Is your tetanus shot up to date?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 6:06PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Any sort of wood, lodged in your body, is dangerous.
I almost lost a foot that way, about 50 years ago.

We have just gone through a very bad time with one of our dogs, who
tangled badly with a rose a couple of months back.
By the time the thorn-caused infection was knocked down, we were dealing
with a spreading case of Demodex -- something that doesn't happen with
adult dogs, unless the immune system is compromised.
Which, apparently, it was.

I've always taken rose thorns seriously, but I take them much more
seriously nowadays.

Jeri

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 6:22PM
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Cindi McMurray

Susan,
How did the surgery turn out? sorry if you already posted about it...I need to catch up on reading here. Are your hands back to full use?
Cindi

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 7:57PM
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sparkshites_yahoo_com

thanx alisande for the reply... i'm sure i got the whole thorn out. i've been soaking my finger in h2o/epsom salt 3-4 times a day and it still looks pretty bad. now it throbs like there is a heart actually in my finger. i've been stuck with thorns hundreds of time ( i've had up to 40 rosebushes in my yard at one time) but, man i've never had one get this bad. i'm pretty sure there is something else going on. anyways, i'm not sure on the status of my tetnus shot, i'll check with my gp tomorrow. thanx again for your help :)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 9:01PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Susan, I hope you can give an update too.

Carla

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 7:47PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

The first thorn (and major infection) was in the back of my hand. Surgery was scheduled, and then Gertrude Jekyll stuck me in the tip of my index finger. I removed that thorn easily, but by the time the surgery date rolled around I still found it painful to press down with that finger. So I told the surgeon I thought a piece of the thorn my have been left behind. I could see a dark. He could not. But he agreed to cut and see.

Honestly, if I had it to do again I'd take my chances and not mention the index finger to him. He said he didn't see anything that clearly looked like the tip of a thorn, but he removed a small amount of discolored whatever. (He said it better than that.) The healing process for that finger has been painful and difficult, involving massaging the tip and pressing it on a hard surface to soften the scar. That HURT! So did typing, and any number of other things. It still hurts, but not as much.

In contrast, the incision on the back of my hand healed quickly. It took some time to regain the grip strength in my hand, but I think it's almost normal at this point.

Thanks for asking!

Susan

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Cactus_joe(7b PNW)

"When drinking wine amongst the roses
Or guzzling beer while throwing bricks
Or playing games in bales of hay
Where lurks the tricky sporothrix,
Beware, the price you pay for play
When you get struck by dread mycoses"

---author unknown

Nobody has mentioned Sporotrichosis, "rose picker's disease" or "rose thorn disease". Google Sporothrix schenckii for your own education as all who handle roses must learn about this fungus.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 12:05AM
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curlydoc

I've found that the very tip of the rose thorn can dislodge and remain in the skin even after the thorn is removed. I suspect the tip of the rose thorn remains in your finger tip that hurts when you press on it.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 1:50AM
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moodyblue(8)

Wow Susan, I have read this from the begininning all over again... and have really felt for you. A friend of mine also had a bad experience after thorning herself with a rose....I am in the middle of reading "For Love of the Rose", recently mentioned on this forum, and Papa Meilland's mother had a hook instead of a hand as she had a severely infected hand which was amputated after being thorned. It did not mention the type of thorn. Anyhow, I know thorn pricks cannot be taken lightly. Well we get pricked and scatched by thorns constantly when you are a rose gardener. But I actually got my first alarming one a few days ago. it stabbed me right in an athritic finger joint and I did fear the consequences, and the pain also. My joint felt very sore and bruised and I really thought I had done a number on it like yourself. Alas, no subsequent swelling and the pain left in about 48 hours! Lucky, I would say.:) Glad your surgery is behind you and that it was successful. But the other incident of the finger thorn must have indeed been miserable. The nerve endings in the fingers (and toes) can be very painful when challenged. Hope all is well for you now.

..............and definitely may this be a lesson to us all!

Thank you for telling your story.
Pauline - Vancouver Island

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 2:11AM
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theroselvr

Bumping this to page 1 so that others can see how important it is to seek medical attention after getting a thorn in your finger.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 11:13AM
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roseman(Z 8A GA)

I suggest that next rose season, you go to your local health department, or your doctor and get a Tetanus shot, so that something like this does not happen to you again. Overall, something like this may seem trivial, but Lock Jaw is serious and could result ultimately, without treatment, in death.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 11:48AM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Wow--how ironic about Papa Meilland's mother!

The tetanus shot I got in the ER is supposed to last ten years. I'll give it five.

I said in an earlier post that I wish I had never asked the surgeon to operate on my index finger. I can state that even more strongly now that old weather has arrived. It's only October, but my Raynaud's Syndrome is affecting my hands already--especially that finger. Any pressure on that spot hurts a LOT. I guess it figures that poorly functioning capillaries would impede healing.

Susan

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 2:01PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Susan, I'm sorry about the outcome of this. I've had a splinter for a month but dr. says it will work out. I'm really bad about wearing my gloves, lots of battle scars. I hope things will improve, you deserve a break.

Carla

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 2:47PM
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ltmpe

I am going through the same Rose Thorn infection and recovery process and still have tightness in the hand. I was cleaning my hillside at home on a Sunday afternoon and was removing roses at the top where my sprinklers are and got a thorn - I thought I had gotten stung and Monday morning I opened the spot but did not see anything. On Tuesday the hand was swollen and sore when I used it so I looked at it under a microscope and with pointed tweezers I was able to pull out a thorn and cleaned it with alcohol. I was wearing leather cloves but the thorn must have gotten through the leather. Google told me that rose thorns are dangerous. It said that it may be Sophorix shenckii, commonly known as rose thorn disease. This nasty fungus often resides on the tips of rose thorns, on spaghnum mosses and hay. Rose thorn disease has a long documented history in medicine The nurse at work put some Ichthammol Ointment on my knuckle and said I should go to the doctor after I get back to Valencia. I waited until the Saturday to see the doctor.
Untreated sporotrichosis shows little evidence of self-healing and is capable of chronicity. Cutaneous sporotrichosis can be cured with a saturated solution of potassium iodide of increased doses titrated to patient tolerance. KI probably works to disrupt the granulomas which protect the yeast from the immune response.

Sporotrichosis is a fungal disease present in sphagnum moss, soil, on rose thorns, and decomposing organic matter. My doctor gave me a Tetanus shot at the office and gave me a prescription for a multiple Antibiotic pill twice a day for 10 days plus put me on Potassium Iodide drops until it recovers (up to 6 months and I am into the second month). Rose Thorn punctures are more serious than I ever thought.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 1:35PM
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lrobinson828_hotmail_com

I was cleaning my rose bushes 3 weeks ago and thought I may have gotten poked by a thorn, but then wasn't sure if maybe I bruised it because my loppers are so old that when I cut the limb my knuckles would crash together. My knuckle was tender to the touch immediately, but I couldn't see where a thorn had gone in. My knuckle continued to stay tender to the touch for weeks. Three weeks later, it is swelling up and getting fatter daily. Thank God for these postings. I was going to wait another week, but after reading all these posts I just now called my Dr. and have an appointment tomorrow. Hopefully I'll just need a tetanus shot and antibiotics and it will be all better.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 12:17PM
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courtneylauren

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR STARTING THIS POSTING! Before Memorial Day this year I was removing some rose bushes that had gotten out of control. I also had spread around some mulch. I had several little slivers from the mulch, and had been stabbed a few times by the thorns of the roses. I removed the slivers and 1 of the thorns. There was one on my wrist I couldn't get out. I figured it would come out when it was ready. After a month, there was a bump where the thorn was. It looked like there was a pea shaped thing under my skin. I went to the prompt care after reading this post and b/c they said they could remove it. When I got there they said they were going to have to refer me to a hand surgeon b/c it was on the nerve. I ended up having to have SURGERY on my wrist to remove the thorn!! It was about an hour procedure, luckily at a hand surgeon that had an outpatient office, so I didn't have to go through this in a hospital operating room. It took them about 1/2 an hour to get the room ready and sterile, etc. I couldn't believe it! All for a thorn! As it turns out it had created scar tissue around it (made a little sac). They were able to get out all the scar sac, except for what was right on the nerve. Thanks again for the posting. Without this, I'd pry be sitting here thinking..maybe I should see a doctor about this.... (P.S. You cannot get liposuction through a small incision in your wrist...I asked).

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 10:07AM
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Brad601

My wife stuck herself while trimming a rosebush the Saturday before last (its Monday). She didn't complain about it until Tuesday when it started to swell and hurt. By Thursday morning, she couldn't move her 3 fingers on her right hand (the thorn penetrated the top knuckle on her right hand ring finger). The doctor gave her 2 shots and 2 antibiotics and told her to come back Saturday if she wasn't feeling better.
We went back to the doctor Saturday because she didn't feel any better so he sent us to the ER. After signing in, a hand surgeon immediately got her ready for surgery. They opened her hand and didn't find the rest of the thorn. They took cultures hoping it was a bacteria of fungal so they could treat it.
Well, as of today there is still nothing growing from the cultures. My wife still cant move her ring finger and she is in so much pain that even morphine doesn't do the trick.
The Doctor said he is calling the CDC to have them come take a look. At this point, we don't know when they'll be coming to check it out. In the meantime, my wife is still in the hospital and I am getting a little more worried by the minute.
Does anyone know what we might be dealing with here?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I figured the more people that knew, the better the chances of getting an answer might be...Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 3:04PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Brad, how worrisome! I'm afraid I'm no help, but it sounds as though the doctor is taking it seriously, and that's good. Perhaps others here will have helpful information. Please keep us updated.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 4:26PM
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kathleen44

Anyone that gardens is told to get tentanus shots when they are due,

Right now I got a thorn in palm of hand from blackberry bush and its not looking good, tomorrow off to a clinic to get it looked at thrown removed as its so deep and I can't get it out myself.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 10:08PM
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kathleen44

Anyone that gardens is told to get tentanus shots when they are due,

Right now I got a thorn in palm of hand from blackberry bush and its not looking good, tomorrow off to a clinic to get it looked at thrown removed as its so deep and I can't get it out myself.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 10:09PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

Kathleen...

You are not going to believe this, but Medicare requires that my doctor provide documentation that I need a tetanus shot before they will authorize it. When my booster shot was due, I asked him if I had to get tetanus first. He laughed and asked, "Do you have a rose scratch somewhere ?" and when I showed him one, he gave me the shot.

Thank God he has a lot of common sense. This year, I have had two incidents of rose thorns going all the way through the sole of my shoes.

I had one incident of a rose thorn broken off and stuck in the ball of my foot. I thought I had bruised my foot while working on a rose on the slope. I walked around on a sore foot for several days before I could see a small blister on the bottom of my foot. I soaked it and then did minor surgery and removed the tip of a thorn of less than 1/8th of an inch that had been causing me pain for days. No infection or any other problems, but it could have been a problem.

I hope your hand heals as easily as my foot did.

Smiles,
Lyn

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 8:55PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

a couple of years ago mom, now almost 90, stepped on a nail. Of course extremely rusty. She hates the doctors office so no tetanus shot in decades.

We thought no big deal, we will run up to the local urgent care. Nope, can't see you, your doctors office is still open. Fine, head to the doctors office, have to fill out a stack of papers (typical) to see if they can see her, but mom is kind of hard of hearing and had not had her eyes fixed yet, so I had to read the forms to her. We got to discuss her sex life, when she had her last period, if she was concerned about her (male) bedroom ability...and on and on. Bet half the room was crying tears with her answers.

Then we waited another hour while the office manager sat on the phone calling Medicare to see if they would cover the shot. A whole hour on the phone calling one place and another. Just to say, sorry we can't give you the shot. I bet her time on the phone cost more than the shot...

We switched doctors, she did see him once and discovered she was healthier than him. The new doctors had us drop by and get the shot when ever we wanted and did not need to know if she had an dysfunction issues......

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:05PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Lyn, I'm surprised to hear that about Medicare because I've had two tetanus shots in two years, and Medicare never objected. I got the first shot by walking into a drug store and asking for it. No problem. The second one was given to me at an urgent care center when they were sewing up a cut I'd received. It didn't occur to me until later that I'd received the other tetanus shot less than two years earlier.

It doesn't make sense to me that Medicare would take that position. Tetanus shots are supposed to be renewed every 10 years whether there was an incident or not. Of course, Medicare doesn't always make sense. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:07PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Kippy, I just read your (very funny) post. So it seems it might depend in part on the doctor? But how could Medicare possibly object to a tetanus shot for someone who had stepped on a rusty nail and wasn't protected by a previous shot?? Eeek!

My husband knew someone who dropped a cast iron frying pan on her foot. She contracted tetanus and died. Take that, Medicare.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:11PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

The problem as the first office explained is they combine with the whooping cough shot. Since that shot is "preventative" and the tetanus "treatment", they don't get paid for the whooping cough part of the "treatment"

The second office also did the combined shot and said there is a chance medicare might not pay for it and then we would have to bill you the difference.

I forgot to add, that if your doc offers the shot, take it!

The first doctors office told us to call around to costco, cvs etc and we could save a few bucks on the shot maybe. Mom thought at that point it had been hours and hours since the nail so if she was going to get tetanus it was already too late for the shot. And I really don't think it was the doctor but the lady who ran the front office. If she really thought about it, when you add up the costs to employ her for an hour to find out how to avoid giving the shot, it probably was cheaper to just give the shot and bill medicare for an office visit. They got to bill for nothing since she was never seen.

This post was edited by Kippy-the-Hippy on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 13:01

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:44PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

A note to others who might be in a similar predicament: For years I got tetanus and flu shots at our local Department of Health office. They were free (had nothing to do with my income), and no insurance was billed. Now that I have Medicare and pharmacists have been trained to give shots, I just go to a drugstore. But for some of you, the Department of Health might be a good place to try.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 8:23AM
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idixierose(z8b Coastal SC)

This thread needs to be preserved in the Rose Forum FAQ.

I should have learned my lesson last year when I stuck the tip of my middle finger on a rose thorn. It took 10 months for the bit of thorn to work its way out.

Even as I renew my resolution to wear gloves in the garden and when working with roses, I know that I will have to pull off my gloves to tie a cane to a trellis.

My goatskin gloves are tough, but don't allow the dexterity I often need when working with roses. Neither do my thinnest leather gloves or my dipped knit gloves.

So...every time I rip off my gloves, I'm going to remind myself of this thread.

Dixierose's new mantra: Must wear gloves.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 12:53PM
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QuestioningSerenity(9a)

Definitely glad to read this. I need to be abit more careful, especially when repotting! And i'm doubly glad my husband cannot read this! With recent health concerns he'd see my roses as too much of a risk and toss them!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 3:06PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

I did respond the other day and the site took my post, but it has disappeared.

I was just getting my booster shot when I saw my doctor ... no injury. My doc asked me if I could show him a rose scratch, which of course, I could and he went ahead and gave me the booster shot.

Smiles,
Lyn

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 12:36AM
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thecoloroflight

Hello.

I got stabbed by a rose thorn, and for some reason, part of it broke off. It's by my knee. I ignored it until I got home, washed it off, and found that it was very difficult to remove it. I scraped off some of the skin to get down to the layer it was in, but to no avail. It throbs slightly, and is a bit raised and slightly hard. I don't mind just gritting my teeth and cutting into the skin with a knife, but is there any reason I should not do this ?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 7:25PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Yeah, I can think of a reason. Sepsis would be the worst-case scenario. Even if you think you're sterilizing the knife, you're risking serious infection. Get yourself to an urgent-care center and get treated safely.

Really, it's nothing to fool around with.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 7:41PM
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rosybunny

How eye-opening are these stories! I am very sensitive to pain and hate to get stuck, hence I've been trying to REMOVE all the thorns on my roses while I tend to them. Especially when I see those tender little (or huge) thorns sticking out of a new shoot, I waste no time to take them off.

It is peculiar though...My husband is a life-long gardener/farmer--one that never wears gloves while he works. A few times a year he has to sit down and try to take out a dozen or so thorns stuck in all over his hands, some are as thick as a dull pencil tip, others smaller. Oftentimes the thorns have been in his hands for a number of days till they get taken out, especially the ones that are hard to get out, would take him/us several tries, however my husband has never gotten sick b/c of the thorns. I can recall a couple times his fingers became swollen and very sore, but eventually when he took out the thorns there were no more problems. I think eating a healthy diet really helps the body to protect itself and heal itself. (We eat out of our own gardens and don't get jabbed for anything.) The less processed foods the better, the less meat the better, the less supermarket diary and frozen foods the better. There's only so much doctors and medicine can do for the body, ultimately it's the body's own healing property that counts the most ( I think that's why people have different reactions to the same drugs/viruses).

Good luck to everyone!!!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 3:41AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I haven't had time to visit the forums for a little while, but I need y'all's help, please!

I can't even remember how many days it's been since I got pricked in the fingers from both roses and blackberries. I have a small scab still there on my index finger, so that's a time-frame.

But my second finger has gotten a big bruise that is a lump...and hard. It's painful and the fleshy part of that finger (the top above any joints) is all swollen.

It feels really angry...but oddly hard. It kind of looks like my little blood vessel on the side was hit. The bruise is much bigger than how my vessel usually is, though. Wouldn't the bleeding have been earlier if I hit that vessel? Or is this a new thorn (possible)?

There's no way I could tell where that thorn is. The hard lump is about a centimeter with no entry wound visible :(

I don't think my GP would do well with this, unless it were for a referral. I can't just go to a daily clinic like Primecare, can I? It's Saturday now. I always have minor emergencies on the weekends! Primecare is good with me if y'all think that's where I should go.

Aaaargh. Any ideas of what is going on are also appreciated. I'll get to a doc, but I'm impatient that way ;)

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 4:41AM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

An urgent care center can x-ray your finger to see if a thorn is present, and they can prescribe drugs if they feel an infection is going on. In any case, you need medical attention more than you need our help. Go.....

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 9:20AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Thank you :) It was less painful when I got up, and it was less swollen, so I'll go tomorrow if anything changes for the worse. I'm hoping to hold off until Monday and just see my hand specialist from a few years ago.

I don't have a fever, and it's looking more and more like it just hit that blood vessel and didn't have room to do anything but bump up. It pretty much feels like a hard boil, but it's staying in that one spot nicely so far.

I'm kind of scared of some of the random docs around here possibly digging around in it. If it can wait until Monday, I'll be better off, I think.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 1:18AM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Sounds like a plan, Meredith. Best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 8:00AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Thanks again :) It's looking even better today, so I think it was a false alarm. Yay!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 3:38PM
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Toolbelt68(7)

Boy am I glad that all of my 32 roses are thorn-less except for two. I'll sure be careful around those two after reading the above.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 3:08PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Oops, not a false alarm! There's no infection, but the big purplish lump never went away (it's just hard). I have to have surgery after all! Can you believe it?

It doesn't even hurt. I'm waiting for the surgeon to schedule it and that's all I can do about it. Meh, it'll be fine, but can you believe it takes surgery? Stupid thorns!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 1:11AM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

I am sorry to hear that you need surgery, Meredith.

For my part, I am beginning to wonder if I have to go to the doc because I pulled a very tiny thorn out of my foot over a month ago. No infection or swelling, but in the last week my right foot has started to hurt. I pulled that thorn out so long ago, I cannot even remember which foot had the thorn.

Dang ! It's always something.

Lyn

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 12:30PM
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spraynine

I have so much empathy for anyone with rose thorn issues. May 2014 I went camping near Calgary, AB (Kananskis country). I was camping for a couple weeks and collecting the dead fall for firewood. On the 12th day of my 14 day trip I saw a thorn in my big toe. I poked around and discovered a huge hole under the thorn where it had rotted or eaten my flesh. After digging around I was horrified to discover thousands and thousands of the tiniest thorns from the wild rose bushes in the area that had died and were decomposing on the deadwood I had collected!

Now 9 months later - I have been on antibiotics since - have basically peeled the skin off several parts of my body - trying to get all the thorns out. My doctors do not know what to do as they are so small. so plentiful and in so many areas. Currently I am in mexico for the winter because I can not wear shoes or gloves. Thankfully I can work remote at my job. I have been to 2 doctors here and they are baffled as to how to approach this......

Last week a small sore was showing on my knee - of course it was the start of another huge crater under my skin - full of the thorns and their diseases. I took up the offer of a Mexican remedy. The lady had a salve she made and applied it slightly warmed - then she covered the sore with plastic and wrapped a tensor. The next morning I knew that I had made a huge mistake ( We had basically created a petri dish for the thorns and their bacteria to grow). The crater on my knee is now super deep, very infected and rotting. I am so scared right now and have called a friend that knows the head of surgery in the place I am in. I will be in the hospital tomorrow for god knows what - to try to deal with this. I started to document all with photos once I realized this was not a small problem. They are very graphic and gross - so do not want to share unless asked.

If anyone has any ideas to help me with this - I would be very grateful.

    Bookmark   on Monday at 7:40PM
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gardenbug(8b)

My doctor once told me that ALL GARDENERS should have a tetanus shot.

    Bookmark   on Monday at 7:45PM
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spraynine

Thankfully - because I am a gardener and in flip flops or barefoot 3+ seasons - I did insist on a tetanus shot one the year prior . I would be in much worse shape. I and everyone else is just stunned by the quantity and nano size almost of the thorns I have - like cutting your eye lash into 5 pieces - one piece would be a thorn.....Never felt a thing - until too late - already infected under the skin.....

Of everything - soaking in Epsom salts and active charcoal powder mixed with Vaseline or applied dry to wet oozing "crater" has been the most successful at drawing the thorns - but nominaly.....

    Bookmark   on Monday at 8:05PM
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Eureka

I would try contacting Cornell Univ in the East as they have a large Horticulture school, do lots of research, write many research papers. I would contact the Horticultural School main office and ask for someone you could talk to regarding specialties in Roses and/or diseases or conditions transferred from plants to humans. They may very well be able to refer you to medical personnel in your area or close by. Teaching hospitals are always your best bet for things such as this. Would love to hear what you find out. UC Irvine, CA, UC Davis, NoCal, UC Berkely, No Cal would all be close to you now and good places to start or in the San Diego area Scripps has an outstanding reputation.

    Bookmark   on Monday at 10:41PM
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rosecanadian

Make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply to area. It works. Of course, yours is too far gone for that.

Sounds awful!! I sure hope you can get this fixed. Please let us know.

Carol

    Bookmark   on Monday at 11:52PM
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Buford_NE_GA_7A(7B)

spraynine, I hope you are able to find out what is going on. I think you need to go to a big hospital in the US that has an infectious disease specialist.

I just had my tetanus shot (the combo shot) my doctor was happy I asked for it, they don't usually check on that and my last one was 10 years ago. I am always getting thorns stuck in my fingers. I do make sure to wear shoes now, so I don't get them in my feet any longer.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 3:59AM
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mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

Wow! Did anyone notice that this thread started in 2008 and revived again in 2013 in addition to now? Where are all these old posts coming from unless someone is doing a search for them.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 5:02AM
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spraynine

I did - for nine months now I have been suffering greatly from rose thorns - I read it all after it came up when I searched for help on google yet again for this problem. These are fresh posts. And I need fresh ideas to get these things out of me.......

1 Like    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 6:58AM
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spraynine

I live in Canada - so those great ideas may only be available via email. Thank you - I will update the situation as it unfolds. I include one not so gross photo of one of my fingers - all the little black spots are thorns or clusters of thorn. I have discovered that the active charcoal powder highlites them - which is both helpful and scary as I see how many thorns are still in me:(

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 7:10AM
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Eureka

Spraynine: Since you live in Canada you could get to McGill teaching hospital, and email will not do it, you must be talking with the departments, such as Agriculture, Horticulture, Environmental Studies. These teaching hospitals generally have a clinic also that you can work through. They would love to check your case out I'm sure. Since you stated that you're in MX at the moment, any of the California hospitals would be close, especially Scripps near San Diego that has a fabulous reputation. If you have returned to Canada, as I stated McGill and I know there are several more. Cornell is close to Canada in the East. Self treatment is a loosing battle, it is time to get into a research and teaching medical center.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 11:23AM
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spraynine

I was fortunate to know a lady that is here (MX) from Canada - she knows the Head of Surgery in Puerto Vallarta - (where I am). I have an appointment with him - I am hoping the experience with cactus issues will also pertain t o my issue. I will update you. I am in Alberta in Canada - so far from McGill........but if this does not improve (the latest sore is very bad) - I will be going home and seeking other options and McGill is not out of the question. Thank you all for your help and concern.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 11:33AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

OMG. I hope cactus experience does help your case. Has anyone sampled the infections found? Maybe that could help point toward a cure.

As for what to put on it, I'd definitely see a really good dermatologist about that, like a burn unit type of situation. They'll have something that keeps the risk of infection down while it either dries or keeps things moist - you can't guess which is better on your own, I don't think :( Definitely keep it clean, but be careful about anything that lingers on the skin, imho. Keep us updated and best wishes!

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 1:33PM
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Eureka

I am like a hound dog about finding information but I think I found at least part of the answer. Google SPOROTRICHOSIS - is is commonly referred to as "rose gardeners disease", it is a fungal disease that creates nodules throughout the body, often on lymph nodes even. Skin becomes highly discolored and very tender to the touch. Treatment requires being put on fungal medications sometimes up to 6 months. Many people who work with roses, peat moss, in the garden, garden litter can pick this up from a prick or scratch. Animals can also pick up the same fungus and often vets are afflicted with this fungus. This can spread throughout the body, can cause cellulitis, can even get into the brain. Google this fungus to gather more information but I bet this will get you on course to getting better. And yes, this is why long gloves, long pants and good shoes for protection from this fungus are suggested. Attention Rosarians - we need to take this very seriously.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 1:37PM
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spraynine

I am aware of the "rose pickers disease" or sporotrichosis - as well as another bacteria commonly found on thorns - clostridium perfringens which causes gas gangrene. That is what I think is my newest issue on my knee. I have thoroughly researched this prior to reaching out here. I wasn't educated until this happened - but I am now. I thank god that I did get a tetanus shot the year prior. I am a gardener as well and had no idea about this. We are all more aware now although I am not sure I would have realized that the "dirt" that was on all the firewood was actually thousands of thorns.....

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 1:54PM
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Joe Moose, Zone 9A

I was not aware of this disease until now. I count myself among the lucky because we have several bougainvillea plants in the garden, and every year I prune them. Now those are wickedly thorny, and I have been pricked and scratched by them on my hands, arms, and feet.. Keep in mind that I do it without gloves. :| But now I know, and knowing's half the battle.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 5:22PM
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Patty W. zone 5a Illinois

A big thank you for bumping this thread up again. It's to easy to become complacent about taking care of ourselves. Really hoping every things turns out fine spraynine.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 5:42PM
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jjpeace (zone 5 US/zone 6 Can)

Wow, thanks for mentioning this issue. I have never thought about it. I guess it is worth it to pay special attention to how thorny the rose is before you buy it. Wish you well Alisande!

    Bookmark   on Wednesday at 7:08PM
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comtessedelacouche (10b S.Australia: hotdryMedclimate)

Oh, poor Spraynine - what an ordeal, and how difficult to deal with, especially with all those tiny little thorns still stuck in your skin... I hope you got to your appointment, and are getting some good help now.

Just a couple of thoughts, FWTW: I wonder what those wild roses had died of? Is there any possibility they could have been poison-sprayed in some eradication programme? Or, if as you say they were decomposing, they could have fungal and/or bacterial stuff in them. Or might they have had a virus? Perhaps some enquiries with the local Dept. of Agriculture/ Forestry/Parks for the area you were camping might be able to throw some light on this - it just might help provide clues for any doctors trying to treat this.

One thing I discovered when I had a painfully infected and swollen finger from a rose prickle jab last year, was colloidal silver, recommended to me at a professionally staffed Natural Health Store. It came in a spray bottle and from memory, just consists of minute (invisible) particles of silver in water. I know it sounds like totally dodgy new age quackery, but it actually worked, pretty much instantaneously! I couldn't believe it - the swelling went down dramatically overnight (I found some Band-Aids which were also impregnated with silver (seems like it's a thing!) which I wrapped it in loosely overnight), and over the next day or two of constantly spraying (as prescribed), the nasty purple, infected wound kind of opened itself up, went unbelievably pink and squeaky-clean inside, the old skin went white and fell off, leaving completely healthy new skin underneath. The silver solution is said to be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.

So IF I was in your position, as well as urgently tracking down medical help, I'd be drowning my wounds (maybe just a small area first to try it out) with colloidal silver. If a thickish layer of skin falls away as part of the healing process, like mine did, it MAY just take the thorns with it! At the very least the silver may help to stop things getting any worse by keeping it super clean and not irritating or inflaming it further, while you pursue other medical avenues.

If neither conventional medicine or the silver thing work out for you, I'd also consider consulting a well qualified homeopath, since I hear they're particularly good at fixing a range of otherwise intractable skin afflictions.

I hasten to add all the usual disclaimers! Do please let us know how things went at the hospital, and how you're going.

Thinking of you and wishing you all the best,

Comtesse :¬}

    Bookmark   22 hours ago
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spraynine

Believe it or not - I have tried that as well.....What my dream solution would be is something that draws them out...I have been keeping infection at bay usually - but the newest area to erupt is the fleshy part above my left knee - first place other than hands and feet to have a problem. I thought picking thorns out of the bony areas on hands and feet was bad - but this new spot has another issue - it seems that the bacteria called Clostridium Perfringens may be at work as I have a crater in that area now with dead flesh. My appointment with top Doc here isn't until Next Tuesday - and I seem to have stopped the spread - so unless it changes I'll have to wait until then.

I agree with the homeopathic remedy - I had a great Doctor - trained in France - that moved to Canada to practice Homeopathic medicine - I can't find him now:(.....

A lady I know here in MX is from a remote village that never had modern medicine. She just gave me a recipe for a "potion" - I am supposed to boil the leaves from this certain tree in water and salt - let cool - mix with the gel from the aloe vera plant (ironically - I have both in my yard here) - and rinse the areas with the solution. I will mix that up later today and report on usefulness.

I have been homeopathically treating infection with a mixture of active charcoal and enough petroleum jelly to moisten - it is amazing although messy - haven't had to be on antibiotics for months now.

It is ideas like the Colloide Silver that I am looking for. Someone said kerosene draws out thorns and slivers - I cant find that here - but has anyone else heard of this?

Stay tuned.....

    Bookmark   17 hours ago
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spraynine

Also - I forgot to mention - the wild rose bushes that had died and left all the thorns on the deadwood and surrounding area is simply nature taking its course. The area is a forested camp ground and when I went back in the summer when everything was in bloom - every square inch that is not a path has thousands of the bushes........I do not know if they shed their thorns or what......but the throns are dropped somehow off the bushes....dead or alive - not sure.

Unfortunately - all roses carry bacteria on their thorns......

    Bookmark   17 hours ago
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Eureka

The other part of this is that often after getting pricked, one will see swelling, sometimes quite a bit, and then this can turn into cellulitis very quickly which is dangerous and requires antibiotics.

I hope someone in the medical profession is taking samples of your skin and the black thorns and putting this under a microscope to verify that these are indeed thorns and not spores. Honestly I think I'd be looking for some very strong antibiotic, stronger than penicillan, one that can take out heavy duty super bugs. Then I would insist on testing for fungal issues. I think your answer is going to be in what grows from swabs or tissue to see what grows. You may need an infectious disease doc to help you with this. I'd be all over this, attempting to get an answer and I still believe a teaching hospital is where you belong sooner rather than later. What is happening to you is not normal in any way and could be very, very serious. We had one of the people in the nursery that I work in just go through the whole infection from a rose prick, going into cellulitis. He landed in the hospital for 3 days on powerful antibiotics, and several different drips of meds going through his body.

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