April 2, 2009 - 4:11 p.m. - Santa Monica, CA
Right before I got on a plane to San Francisco, my next door neighbor noticed my swollen ring finger. She said, "You better get it off soon or you'll have to cut it off, like my other pregnant friend did." That was ten days ago.
Today, I went to the Santa Monica Fire Department to have my wedding band hacked off. I previously tried everything to remove it including:
- Iced water (tried to shrink my fingers)
- Ace bandage compression with hand above heart level (tried to squeeze blood out of my fingers)
- Warm olive oil
- Baby oil
- Coconut oil
- Silicone sex lube (thanks M, it was worth a shot!)
None of it worked, even in combination.
I called a few jewelry shops hoping they could cut off my ring. None of them would or could. My friend J told me that she read on the internet that my local fire department might be able to do it. She then confirmed this with her EMT friend. I called the Santa Monica Fire Department, explained my situation and without hesitation, the operator directed me to their Chief on call. She said to leave a message in case he was out. I called and left a message. A couple of hours later, Santa Monica Fire Station #1 responded and said they could help me out.
I showed up at 1444 7th Street and within 15 minutes my ring was off and the blood was pumping through my poor fat finger again. Four or five fire fighters dropped by the room to crack jokes and be friendly. They said platinum was good because it is a softer metal (I suppose a titanium ring might be near impossible to cut off) and explained to me that they remove rings every couple of months. The firefighters were very careful with me asking me over and over to tell them if the blade was getting too hot (it got very hot a couple of times) and asked if I was okay the whole time. All in all, an amazingly nice and painless exchange.
SMFD wouldn't take any payment of sorts, so I could only thank them a dozen times. When I got home I ordered them several dozen cookies to be delivered tomorrow with a thank you note.
Lessons learned: 1) Pregnant ladies, take your rings off before you bloat. I don't know why no one told me this before?! 2) Your local fire department will remove your ring for you, if needed, free of charge!