Shortly after arrival, the slight breeze was notable on the wet, exposed fingers. Nevertheless, I persevered through the several hooks that required removal of the old bait and reapplication of the new. It wasn’t till my thawing fingers were back home that I noticed the multiple red dots on the tips of my thumbs and index fingers. A gentle squeeze revealed the tell-tale ooze of blood from each dot and alas, the mystery was solved!
Apart from the obvious benefit of catching burbot, this “dietary program” (which Suzanne now simply refers to as a “shopping choice”), has reminded me of the origin of the medical use of the word “freezing.” For generations, cold has been effectively utilized in the medical arena for the purpose of diminishing pain. The analgesic effect of a mouth-full of ice chips was well known to the earliest dental surgeons. Similarly, many a limb was amputated under the chilling bite of a cold pack, when there was an absence of either whiskey to be drunk or poppy leaves to be chewed.
I’m feeling quite thrilled by the realization of the absolute analgesia I experienced with my frozen fingers. The next time my hands get that cold, I will glance at the filleting knife and then give serious attention to that cyst on my knuckle, thinking, “could this be the right time?”