Originally Posted by lhowemt
Let me jump in and say that it's not just the ring you can lose, it's your finger or even potentially hand damage. I got a tiny sliver before a MF Salmon trip in May, no big deal it happens all the time. We ended up having to portage 10 boats around Dagger Falls because of trees, and I think that helped inflame it a bit. The next morning I woke up and my ring finger was quite swollen and I couldn't get it off (even the dental floss trick probably wouldn't have worked). Fortunately we have a doctor friend on the trip, and he started me on double dose antibiotics also (cephalexin). He was really concerned, and talked about monitoring it for removing it and/or flying out. The next morning at Sheepeater it was extremely painful and swollen, clearly it was not improving fast enough. All I wanted was that damn tourniquet of a ring off. It was scary, only one person had a diamond file on a knife that would work to remove it. If they hadn't had that I would have been in trouble, definitely flying out at Indian. After a painful half hour the doc had filed it off, and my finger was free, but not out of the woods yet. Later that day at Indian it had stabilized, and we discussed downstream airstrips that could be used in case it did not dramatically improve. He was really worried about the infection going into the hand and doing major tendon damage.
All worked out, I was able to finish the trip (quite sick from the antibiotics though, it wasn't a fun trip) my ring is fixed so you can hardly tell. I now carry a ring cutter in my first aid kit and replenished my cephalexin stash. I do not wear a ring anymore at all when I leave to recreate. I wouldn't mind not wearing it at all, but that feels weird.
Wow, that's quite the story Laura. Glad you survived. This is an interesting thread. Not something I'd think about all that much. Perhaps we should add a ring cutter to our medical kit. I hadn't heard of the dental floss trick before so I googled it. A trick worth knowing for sure.
Along the same line, I learned my lesson about safety with fingers & knives at the Middle Fork take-out two weeks ago. Too much haste & inattention combined with the inappropriate use of a leatherman knife = lots of blood and lots of stitches in my thumb. Luckily my stupidity didn't surface until the take-out. This would have really sucked if it had happened on the river. You know what they say ........153.5% of all river accidents happen on shore