March 30, 2006

This little piggie cried “what the @#$%?!”

Today I visited Dr. Robinson, podiatrist to the stars my podiatrist. I’ve been having trouble with my big toe. It’s puffy, and red, and it stings. Whatever Brooklynite coined the phrase “the agony of da feet” knew what they were talking about. What? Oh, it’s “agony of defeat?” Ah. Never mind then.

Anyway, I went to see Dr. Robinson to have him check what I (and my BF) thought to be an ingrown toenail. Jeez, even reading those words, it’s just gross.

I’ve never had an ingrown toenail before, so I did a bit of research online. What I learned about treatment almost made me hurl. I hoped I wouldn’t have to endure the ickiness associated with any of that.

(If you’re eating, as you read this, what I’m about to describe could ruin your appetite. If you have a queasy stomach, do not continue. Go look at my cat making biscuits instead.)

Sho’nuff, our diagnosis was correct, but alas, I would not be spared the required treatment. Dr. Robinson put up a barrier so I couldn’t see what he was doing to my foot, and he explained the procedure as it progressed. I appreciated the barrier (aka barf shield) because if I had to watch, surely I’d have tossed my cookies.

Dr.: First I will spray a little anesthetic to numb the outside of the toe a bit.
(Spray hits toe.)
Me: Mmmkay. (Heh. That’s kinda tingly and cold. Nice. This might not be so bad.)
Dr.: Now I’ll inject something to numb the entire toe. It’ll start to feel like there’s a scarf wrapped around it.
Me: Mmmkay.
Dr.: I want you to count backwards from 100 to 1.
Me: Mmmkay.
Dr.: By threes.
Me: Uh…
Dr.: Or by ones is okay too.
Me: One hundred, ninety-seven, ninety-(dammit!)-four, ninety-one (mother @#$%!), eighty-eight, eighty-five, uhm, eighty-two, (holyshitthatneedlehurts!) seventy-nine, seventy-six, (How big IS* that needle anyway?) seventy-three (KELLY CLARKSON!!!), seventy, sixty-seven, six…six (S’cuse me, but when does the numbing start?) sixty four, sixty-one, fifty (Hey! I think it’s over) eight, fifty-five…
Dr.: You can stop now. Nice job with the counting.
Me: Yeah, nice distraction, but it still hurts (but I won’t cry or throw up).
Dr.: It’ll take about 10 minutes to get numb and then I’ll come in and Cut Out the Ingrown Part of the Nail.
Me: (Gulp.) Mmmkay.

As I sat there awaiting more torture, I looked through Running magazine. I found an interview with Dean Karnazes about how he manages to run for hours and hours, all over this planet, and not quit.

I first heard about Dean Karnazes when he was a guest on The Late Show. His passion for running fascinated me and I went out and bought his book the next day. When I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PA), I had to stop running, and that depressed me, so I never finished the book. Lately the PA isn’t bothering me so much, and I’m registered to run my first 1/2 marathon, barring any future ingrown toenails.

My toe started to feel kind of funky. As if it was expanding to gargantuan proportions like Fred Flintstone’s does when he drops a bowling rock on his foot. (On second thought, I think Fred’s toe smashes flat to the floor.) The imaginary scarf the doc mentioned tightened slightly, it’s warm fuzziness gently comforting my frightened hallux.

The nurse arrived to sterilize my toe. At first glance, the bristles on her scrubby brush made me cringe, but when she started to use it, I felt nothing. Whew. Then she poked (I guess) at my toe and asked if it hurt. Again, nothing. She told me I was ready for the doctor.

As he snipped away at the nail, I couldn’t help but wonder (look at me, I’m Carrie Bradshaw now) How much of my easiest-to-polish nail would remain? Would I be able to wear flip-flops this summer without scaring people? Would my pedicurist shudder at the sight of my newly-deformed toe? These are of course, very important questions. Forget the benefits of feeling better or avoiding such grossness and discomfort as an abscess. It’s all about appearance, folks.

The “surgery” took only a couple of minutes. When he was finished wrapping it, I saw him reach for a pen and figured he was going to date the bandage. When he lifted up the barricade, I saw why he needed the pen:


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