When Alex Maglione noticed his arm was a bit sore, he thought he might have broken a tendon in his forearm.
He put up with the discomfort for four years, hoping that the pain would just go away and that he wouldn’t have to pay for surgery.
But at the end of last month, the 45-year-old from Tampa, Florida, noticed a small puncture wound on his left arm that had become infected.
Alex went to the doctor, who revealed the shocking truth: a large thorn had been stuck inside Alex’s arm for the last four years.
Even more worrying was that the sharp thorn had been silently edging closer to a vital artery, missing it by only a few millimetres.
Alex said: ‘For the last four years, I thought I had broken a tendon on my left forearm.
‘I’d put off seeing the doctor as the pain had started out being tolerable and I’d had injuries before.
‘In my spare time, I’m always busy with my dog Maggie, going on adventures where we jet ski, swim, kayak and ride my mountain bike.
‘I never thought my most painful injury would be thanks to a tree.
‘Yet when I went riding, the pain was worse than ever, truly horrific.
‘When I saw the thorn, I knew immediately where I’d last seen them and been near them.
‘My ex-wife used to asked me to tend to the trees at the front of our house, and they grew the exact same ones – but it had been four years since I’d last done it.’
A sonogram confirmed that the thorn was lodged inside Alex’s arm, and last Friday he underwent surgery as the wound had become infected, with the potential to develop sepsis.
Surgeons held the skin open with forceps while the thorn was carefully removed in one piece, so no remaining splinters could cause issues.
Needing six stitches, Alex’s arm is finally on the road to recovery.
‘I was amazed at the size of the thing,’ Alex said. ‘It must have shot into my arm like a needle.
‘Dr John D.Hand was amazing, the best surgeon I’ve ever had.
‘I just couldn’t believe it had been in there so longer, without causing more damage.
‘There had been no entry point, no intrusion on the skin that looked like a puncture wound.
‘It had just been sore, with the pain becoming gradually worse over the years.
‘It had become horrific, the worst pain I’d ever felt – so when the doctor had to make an incision, it was like a scratch.’
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