I need a new explanation

Because mine no longer makes sense to people…

Many of the abscesses I drain require wound packing (I generally use 1/4” iodoform gauze, so these aren’t giant cavities), and during the procedure I tell the patient why I’m doing a wound packing, and what to expect.

When we’re done with the procedure, until yesterday I used to tell patients to remove their packing in 3 days “Like you’re starting a lawn mower, just get it out”.  That’s when the nurse laughed, and said her mower is an electric start.

I asked the patient if they’d ever started a lawn mower, and the answer was no.

So, what shall I use as a universally understood analogous action to smoothly but quickly pull something?  Zipper?  I’m coming up blank…


  1. Randall Sexton says:

    Tell them it’s a “tug of war” game. Keep tugging to see who wins.

  2. K (not the nurse) says:

    Parachute Ripcord. Bonus points if they throw their arms out spread-eagle afterwards.

  3. Dental Floss. I know when I pull floss from the container, I do it fairly quickly. Analogy will not work with meth-mouths.

  4. Starting an outboard motor.

  5. Like you’re pulling the pin from a grenade.

  6. Aerospace Genius says:

    Hot wax, but only for those who are old enough. Band-aid works for all ages.

  7. impatientmom says:

    Thank you for asking this! All physicians should think of these things.

    I was discussing a medicine with one of my daughter’s specialists, and he asked something about a spoon. A spoon? Dude, children haven’t taken medicine from a spoon since Reagan was in office.

  8. Omnibus Driver says:

    Just like yanking a tampon!

  9. Like spinning up a gyroscope.

    Too geeky?

  10. Reminds me of Gibson’s famous opening line in “Neuromancer: “The sky was the color of television tuned to a dead channel.”

    Which meant gray when he wrote it, but now almost universally is read as bright monochrome blue.

    Hm…as to the inquiry, how about pulling the opening strip on a Fed-Ex envelope or detergent box?

  11. Like ripping off that scab that’s hanging by a thread and you know it’s going to hurt like hell when you tear it?

  12. Like your setting the hook in a fish. Maybe too outdoorsy.

  13. Like you’re setting the hook in a fish. Maybe too outdoorsy.

  14. Is “just pull it out” so complicated that they need an analogy? Slowly, quickly, whatever, as long as they pull it out. I do tell them to get it wet first in the shower.

  15. do you warn them about that lovely noise it makes when you pull it out?

  16. Grab the end and pull. Continue to pull until there nothing left in the wound your you feel tugging in your rectum. For either, stop at that point.

  17. Jack Coupal says:

    Like doing coitus interruptus really well.

  18. I think a good analogy would be threading a shoe lace. Pull it out securely and quickly as if you were pulling a shoe lace thru an eyelet.

  19. Like pulling of a band-aid.

  20. nurse 1961 says:

    I like the dental floss, even if they don’t use it they have at least heard of it.

  21. woundclinic says:

    Every 3 days? Packing should be removed daily…and pull it out nice and steady, smooth and easy.

  22. pullin a snake out of your boot