Our bodies have been evolving for millions of years to take care of themselves in environments that are hardly friendly. This might not be a surprise to you, yet I am always amazed at our bodies’ capabilities.
On January 10, one and a half week ago, while I was cleaning a 3D print with my bare hands, a splinter made its way deeply through the skin of my right index. I felt it very clearly. This was from a PLA 3D filament that has little pieces of wood inside, to give a very nice wooden effect to the result. Here is the culprit:
Note that PLA is mainly made of corn, so it is not as toxic as other filaments such as ABS.
Despite having felt the stingy event, I could not find any trace on the skin of that tiny piece of wood, despite examining it with a magnifier, it was totally invisible, since it was quite deep and also in a color that is not so different from that of the human skin. However, there was something out of place as I could definitely feel pain when I was pressing on it.
So I decided to do a little experiment: let the body deal with it. I was pretty sure that this piece of wood was as sterile as it could be since it passed very slowly in the nozzle of the 3D printer at a killing temperature of 200 degrees Celsius (392° F). I would probably have acted differently if it was a thorn from an outside plant or tree which might be infected with all kinds of pathogens. But taking that splinter out would have needed some heavy butchery down to the flesh, which I definitely wanted to avoid since that could also lead to infection.
The next day, an inflammation started, creating a bubble of liquid around the splinter, which became visible through the skin and liquid. What a miracle the human body is!
Testing further on…
Rather than bursting the bubble open and taking everything out, I let the body continue the process. And a week later, here is the result:
Okay, it might not look so pretty. Nevertheless, the body has isolated this external object and shielded it with protection all around it. It will come out very soon by itself, without any need for some external intervention.
Finally, a few days later, the skin dried around it, allowing me to remove the perfectly isolated piece:
After removing that part easily, the skin under it is as good as new:
What a miracle!
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