Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Why I hate magnetic pin "cushions"

All things aside about them being as attractive as an ashtray, there's a reason I don't use magnetic pincushions anymore. They're dangerous.

Several years ago I was sewing at the machine and got up to try on a piece in progress and in my way back to sit down my garment caught a pin in the magnetic cushion and CRASH!

Pins all over the carpet. Under the table too. So I bent over and picked up a section then got on my knees and started scooping them off the carpet and under the table.

When it looked all clear I pivoted on my knees to get a good handhold to get up and OW!

Something stuck me in the top of the foot. I had a tiny red dot on the skin, and I found a pin nearby so I figured I'd just been stuck.

The next day, my foot was a little tender on top, but nothing out of the ordinary I thought since it was punctured by a pin where it was. While at work I was increasingly in more and more pain as the day went on. My foot was swelling up inside my shoe to the point it was incredibly painful. I started the tough 1.5 hour drive home. I called for a friend a neighbor to come drive me over to the hospital and we promptly arrived at the ER with me crying from pain (I'm not a cryer). We managed to get my shoe off, and the pain was a tiny bit better, but my foot looked awful. Like a bloated sausage.

They xrayed it. You could clearly see the shape of HALF a straight pin lodged horizontally in the flesh of the top of my foot on the films. It had broken off inside. Great.

They set my up in a corner of the triage and after a half hour in comes this giant machine. It had a Horsehoe type section, and what it seemed to be was a live xray imager with a computer screen. The "viewing" part was a horseshoe shaped attachment about 3 foot wide. They sat my foot in the center of the thing and gave me a couple numbing shots. (And took some pictures with the machine for me, which I would include but I can't find them at this time)

It was like a video game version of the old board game Operation. They could see the pin live inside my foot, but they didn't have a good angle on it, just one side. They were poking tools into my foot blind basically. The pin was hidden deep in flesh of my foot. Little by little they had to increase the incision to try to get at it. Occasionally they'd bump it and I'd wince or moan as it hurt! You could see the pliers coming close to it and when it was close you would see the pin move. The problem was all they could get at was the snapped off end, a virtual dot in a small opening of blood and fatty tissue. It was small and slippery, so the pliers kept loosing it.

Finally, two hours of poking and missing and a two sided incision later they finally managed to get a pair of pliers on it and gave a stiff tug. It came free. It had stuck into one of the metatarsal bones in my foot, which is why it was so hard to remove, and probably why it snapped off.

Most of my pain lessened immediately. I actually walked into the car which was something not easily done on arrival. Took three days for the swelling to go down, but they have poked and prodded in there so much I have a small bulge of scar tissue there now and a V shaped scar 10 years later.

This is why I stuff my pincushions so firmly that they actually sound as if they crunch when you poke a pin in them. I stuff in so much polyfil that I almost can't put in even a little more... I want to make sure that if you drop it, the pins stay in! Because I know what can happen if they don't.

I don't use magnetics anymore either. Not only do I not miss it, I don't stick my fingers trying to get a pin like I used to.

Sometimes the old way is the best way.


Dot said...


Hey, love your pincushions, I just stumbled across you, and was looking at all your great pics on flickr..

I've linked to your eyeball tutorial from flickr for my halloween series.


Erin K said...

Wow I'm shocked. I'm sorry for your experience.

I love your pin coushions.

Michelle said...

Jen, what a story. I can relate although it was my teenaged daughter who had the pin in her foot. My son dropped a box of pins and she stepped on one with her big toe. What ended up was surgery for her to remove it. It was not in a place to be prodded out like yours. It was quite the experience for her needless to say.
Thanks for all your craftiness!

Pam said...

OMG! Ouch! Hope they gave you antibiotics and that you're doing better. I'm limping in sympathy.

Linking you and going to explore more.



Tammy said...

I did something very similar except it was a 3 inch quilting needle the night before a weekend craft show. I had to have surgery the next week to remove the half that broke off into my foot.

This has started my ply for hardwood floors in the bedrooms

Aitana said...

Hello, I love your work. Sorry but my english is very very bad.

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