Late last night I got an insect bite on my left ring finger, just above my rings. It started swelling immediately, so I took Benadryl and went to bed hoping for the best. In the morning things didn't look too dire but my rings were definitely stuck and soon I was highly uncomfortable. Of course, once I started fiddling with the rings things got ugly quickly.
I was only half panicked since I've been through this once before and still have all ten fingers (and rings), but still. a quick online search didn't teach me anything new, but I did cool my hand under very cold water and kept it elevated for a while for the sake of blood flow. Then I decided on a course of action. There are methods using a sticky tape or a dental floss wrapped around the finger to force it to shrink, but a quick attempt proved futile. I was angry but determined. Five minutes and forever later both rings were off. Here's how:
1. Vaseline. You can use many a greasy substance, and every website seems to be in favor of a different one, from lard toWindex. I find that good ole' petroleum jelly works wonders, either in the form of Vaseline or Vicks Vapor Rub (seriously, this stuff fixes everything).
2. Once you're greased and gooped within an inch of your life (seriously, use heaps and mounds and then some more) it's time to take a deep breath and calm down.
3. I mean it. Don't panic. Whatever you do, don't yank and pull. It will only increase the swelling.
4. Hold your arm above heart level and keep it there. I let it rest on top of my head.
5. Start rotating the ring(s) in place using circular motions. Turn, turn, turn (sorry, I had to). Keep turning. Don't pull.
5. Make sure you're taking long breaths. This is where yoga breaths do a world of good. Inhale, exhale. Focus on keeping the in and out even all the while turning your rings.
6. It helps to have music in the background and really listen to it as you breath. And pace. Yes, I looked ridiculous walking around my bedroom with my left arm over my head and my right greasy hand turning the rings on my left greasier one, all the while channeling my inner Rodney Yee, inhaling and exhaling, Rufus Wainwright in the background. Keep turning the rings. You'll feel them sliding forward.
7. That's it. It took about 2 minutes for my engagement ring to come off and nearly 3 minutes for my snugger wedding band.
Warning: don't even think of doing this if your finger is injured in any way, shape, or form. Go to the ER and have them cut the ring and treat you. Consult a health care professional if the issue is anything more than a finger with some extra water retention.
Photo of Elizabeth Taylor and one of her many rings from somewhere on the web.