I removed a glass shard from my eyelid last night. It wasn't one of the best moments of my common sense, but it went well. This is something that is not advisable to do on your own, at 2 in the morning while being extremely drunk, but there was the damn piece of glass sticking out of my damn eyelid, and it was either remove it myself, or go to sleep with it (not an option), or try the emergency room in the middle of Saturday night during the high Christmas party season.
I've removed glass from my skin before, hundreds of shards, but those were fresh, and none of them was in my eyelid. This one had been in my eyelid for 18 years or so, until a couple of weeks ago it started to move from its habitual place outwards, for reasons unknown.
I whined about it to my friends, every one of them recommended seeing a trained professional, and for some reason (severe attack of sudden russiannness?) I failed to do so. I was sort of thinking of doing so. Next week. Maybe. Or maybe not.
Anyway, for more than a week now I had a little hole in my skin that wouldn't close and wasn't big enough to let that thing through, it was getting bigger and more uncomfortable, last night it was big enough for a little bit of glass to stick out, so I squeezed it the way you squeeze a zit (more carefully though), more glass came out, and I grabbed it and pulled. It came out, nothing is damaged, nothing is bleeding, and it sure does feel weird not to have any glass in my eyelid.
The glass came to be there 18 years ago, as a result of an accident (face, meet windshield, windshield, meet face). I was taken to the emergency room, the doctors put a couple of stitches where they were needed, disinfected everything that needed disinfecting, and let us home with an advice to use bacitracin ointment, which turned out to be rather good. (OK, there was a lot more trouble involved but it wasn't medical and is beside the point.)
When I got home and slept on it, I realized that my face was totally full of glass shards, and some of my scalp too. I wondered why the doctors did nothing about it, because they must have known they were there.
In any case I was not about to go back there. I took tweezers, washed them with vodka, and started pulling out whatever stuck out. The process was suprisingly painless and bloodless. After getting rid of everything that stuck out I realized that there is lots more under the skin, and that they are easy to find (those were the places where even a little pressure on top causes sharp pain). A very small amount of very intuitive experimenting showed that they can be squeezed out like acne, although more carefully, and that all there is to it is squeezing them from the directions where they are flat, not from the directions where they are sharp, and that it's very easy to figure out which is which.
After a few days of that work all the glass was out, except for the shard that came out last night (it was in the middle of a rather big wound which i didn't feel like squeezing). No more damage was done, because every piece came out exactly the way it came in, without cutting anything.
And here is the thing I've been wondering about all those years: how do the trained professionals go about removing small shards of glass from patients' skin? The procedure I have just described requires the person to feel what he or she is doing. Do the professionals just cut bigger holes? Do they have some special way of finding the glass and squeeze it out themselves?