Oh, Toe!

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Day’s Verse:
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

Psalm 23:6
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This is an ingrown toenail post, and it will be graphic. If you have a weak heart or have any other heart-related medical condition, are pregnant, are under the age of 5 or are shorter than this mark ______ , do not read under the fold.

Everybody else who wants to know too much about my toe, read on. Thursday morning I noticed the right side of my right big toe looked a little swollen. It didn’t hurt, so I ignored it. But by the time I got to work, I could feel it throbbing a little bit, so I looked at it. It looked more swollen and shiny. I poked at it and pus came out. This alarmed me more than a little bit, since I don’t normally have pus oozing from my body.

So I emailed Ian, our resident ingrown toenail expert, and we agreed that I seemed to have an ingrown toenail. That evening we tried Ian’s usual solution, which involved using the scraper on fingernail clippers to scrape away the offending section of nail. More pus. Lots of pain. We did remove a section of nail that had grown under and into my toe, but we couldn’t tell if this home-done surgery had actually resolved the problem. I soaked the toe in hot salt water, and we agreed to check on it again in the morning.

Friday morning it was no better, and still oozed lots of pus when poked. We scraped away a little more nail, but Ian professed my case outside of his ability to cure and we agreed it was time to go to the next level: The walk-in clinic at Marlborough Hospital. (As an aside, we decided not to get a primary care doctor because we figured, How often will we need to see a doctor in the few years we may stay here anyway? Turns out I have gone to the hospital three times since February, and two of those times a primary care doctor could have resolved the problem [a sinus infection and this ingrown toenail; the third time I got into an accident biking, and went to the ER])

When I got home from work, we accordingly betook ourselves, and some reading material, to the Marlborough Hospital. They admitted me almost immediately. The doctor looked at it, left the room, and came back with the longest needle I’ve ever seen intended for humans. This he inserted into two separate places in my big toe joint, which was excruciatingly painful, as was the numbing agent they used, which burned when he injected it. But the needle — let’s not neglect to think for a moment about a needle THREE INCHES LONG being inserted into a joint. Twice. Blood. Pain. Ouch. I hate needles already. Ouch. The joint hurt all evening after that, even as the rest of my toe went numb. It still hurts if I wiggle it this morning. The needle, frankly, really stands out in my mind as more horrible than what came after.

Although watching (of course I watched!) as the doctor took a pair of blunt scissors, inserted them between my toenail (“this won’t hurt because it’s already dead” — sure) and the nail bed, pried the nail away — blood — and sliced off a small wedge of my nail, well, that’s fairly memorable as well. Lots of blood. The section of nail removed looked amazingly small, but the exposed nail bed kept bleeding for quite a while. It really hurt, despite the two needle stabs of painkiller. The doctor made his escape at that point, leaving the nurse to sop up the blood until it stopped flowing, after which she wrapped my toe in a gigantic wad of bandaging material. I never noticed before how the red nail polish on my toes is the exact same color as fresh blood. Ironically, the nurse also worked part-time as a “nail technician.”

All bandaged up, they then sent me home, hobbling on my numb big toe, with a prescription for antibiotics that I get to take 4x a day for 10 days. These antibiotics, by the way, have a delightful set warnings:

May cause dizziness
May cause headache
If this medication upsets your stomach, take it with crackers, bread or a small meal
This medication can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills. Consult your doctor or pharmacist

Dizzy headaches and no sex sure sounds like a fun way to spend the next ten days.

So now my un-numbed toe hurts, I have it wrapped in a bandage so big my sandals are my sole (heh) shoe option, and I don’t know if I’ll be healed enough to ride to work on Monday. Also now my toe lacks a wedge of toenail, which will presumably grow back in time. After this experience, I have resolved that this will be my first and last ingrown toenail. They just aren’t as much fun as I’d been led to believe.

I have exciting other things in the offing, too: I may be flying out to Seattle for a short trip some time in the next couple weeks. And my new bike is scheduled to be built and delivered next Friday. Yesterday we hit another snag, though. Allison at Landry’s called and gave me the bad news that Bontrager no longer makes or sells the wheels we ordered from them weeks ago. Unfortunately they didn’t tell us that when we ordered the wheels, so we’ve been waiting for them this whole time. Allison only just figured out that we could wait forever and never receive my wheels. This is a bummer. It’s a double bummer because no other manufacturers make road wheels that take 23C to 40C tires and have disc brakes with hubs of the width that would work. Allison’s solution is elegant and straightforward, though: They’re going to custom build me a set of wheels (black with red accents) that meet all my needs, and they’ll charge me the same price as the wheels we attempted to order. I think I’m getting a remarkably good deal on custom-made wheels. The only disadvantage is that if I ever need to replace a wheel, it’ll be costly and time-consuming.

That said, next Friday isn’t that far off. I will spend the next six days containing my enthusiasm and working hard not chattering to everybody about my new bike.

Speaking of that, I have a very nice 2007 LeMond Poprad for sale

KF quality