Monday, February 6, 2012

Warning: This Post Is Gross

You have been warned about this post but before I get into it, please allow me to vent for a little while. I feel like I have to admit that I have been really bad about posting since the holiday break. I think it is because I have been in a bit of a funk this month. It's undoubtedly to do with not running enough. I had a tendonitis type discomfort that evolved into a painful knee problem. The doc didn't think it was much, so I have been resting it and hoping it will fix itself. I am missing those lovely endorphins and the fantastic anti-anxiety and anti-depression benefits that come from them. I am missing not having that clarity of thought and the peace that comes from being in the running zone. I could throw myself into working-out but unfortunately, I just had my big toe nail surgically removed (the subject of this post) and I was advised not to do much for a few weeks. I can't even make myself feel better by spending my New Balance gift certificate because trying on new running shoes with my toe in this state makes no sense. So, here I am. I feel my age and I feel a little blue. What I should have done is blog. I started this blog when I had stress fractures and found it to be a great distraction. So, I'll try to get back into the swing of things. Right! On with the post...

Sometimes I wonder why marketers don't just tell people not to look at their products and services. The temptation of that may well be stronger than any hard sell. There is something so appealing about being told you can't do something or even just warned–off. There is a deviant pleasure in checking–out something you shouldn't. I'd be interested in seeing if the title of this post has that effect. If there is a spike in views, it won't be for the content. It's not that ground breaking.

This is your second warning about this post. What did you decide? Staying? OK, let's continue with the story about my toe. I'd like to say that I lost a toenail because I am like Anton Krupicka and my feet have taken such a beating from running that the nails are like foot soldiers in a war—cannon fodder! It's not like that at all. The truth is, I dropped a bottle of milk on my toe. That simple mistake created a domino effect that has delivered me to where I am right now...

My toe right after surgery.
Grossness Phase 1
I don't think I have ever dropped something on my toe like that before. When that bottle hit my bare big toe nail, I dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. I rolled around on the floor in the glow of the refrigerator light, holding my toe and swearing profusely in the general direction of the salad dressing bottles. It could have been a terribly embarrassing affair but I was on my own and I was free to allow the big baby in me wallow. It was just a toe but oh... my... word.

Grossness Phase 2
A blood blister appeared under the toe nail. At first it wasn't an issue but after a while, the pressure of the blood built–up against the underside of my nail and started to hurt really badly. I remember talking to my father and asking him for advice. He'd had something similar in the past. He told me to burst it or go to the doctor and have them do it. After putting it off as long as I could, the pressure was so bad, I got desperate enough to disinfect a needle and push it between my nail and the nail bed. Unfortunately, the blister wasn't close enough to the end of my toe, so it took a lot of will power to push deep enough under the nail to reach it. I can't begin to explain the euphoric relief that came from the blood running out and the blister subsiding. It literally sent shivers up my spine.

Grossness Phase 3
The damaged nail turned a weird white and developed a hole in the middle. The top of it broke off eventually. When it started to grow back, it was getting in–grown on one side and I had to painfully trim it down. I'll freely admit that I should have gone to the doctor at this point but I have never been to a foot doctor in my life and I was resistant to the idea. Why? I don't know. All I can offer as an answer is that feet in general gross me out. Even my own feet gross me out. It makes sense that doctors who choose to spend their entire career with feet would gross me out too. Having been to one, I have to say that I am a convert.

Grossness Phase 4
The damaged nail developed a fungal infection. We all have fungus in our shoes all the time. The fungus only needs a small invitation to run riot on your feet. My toenail became thick, brittle and orange in color. It was horrible to look at. It grossed the kids out. They avoided it when it got too close to them. I tried to treat it with anti-fungal drops but it really didn't work. Again, I should have gone to the doctor but I was convinced that I could bring it back.

Grossness Phase 5
I finally went to the doctor. He told me that I had a 60–65% chance of keeping the nail. All I had to do was take some oral anti-fungal medication, take some blood panels for my liver because the medication is strong and remove the nail completely, so that it had a chance to grow back cleanly. I didn't have much choice, so I agreed. On the day of the surgery, he injected my toe on both sides with something to numb it. It was surprising how much that hurt. After it was pretty numb, he injected me on both sides again with something that would extend the numbness for 4–6 hours. I felt that the second injection slightly which led to a discussion about some cultures having a higher resistance to that sort of medication. Most of the blood you see in the images come from these injections. When we were sure there was no feeling in the toe, the doc aggressively removed the nail and then dug around in the nail bed to remove some other stuff he didn't like the look of. I watched the whole thing with bloody fascination. He stopped at one point and pointed out that if he was in the Mafia and wanted me to talk, I would be singing at this point. We then had a lovely conversation about how cordless drills have become the go-to tool for torture. He seemed to know way too much about this stuff. He bandaged me up and sent me on my way with instructions to keep it well dressed and cleaned for two weeks.

Grossness Phase 6
This is the last warning. Here is the dilemma you are faced with. Do you want to see the picture of my toe without the bandage or not? I offer you the choice. It was certainly too graphic for a casual Facebook update. My wife banned me from doing that. On the other hand, many people have asked me to see the picture. Most of us don't get to see the fresh underside of a toe nail. So, you are faced with a choice to scroll or leave. If you stay, I don't want to hear complaints about how I grossed you out. You were warned!

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Almost there :)

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My toe sans the nail before I washed and re-dressed it the next day.

No comments about Hobbit feet please. I've heard it all. I think it's a combination of the blood that looks like dirt and the few hairs. Very Shire-like. A few people have seen this picture on my phone. Initially, they think the nail is still there. The nail bed is nail shaped obviously. My son Charlie (6) thought it looked like a nail made of jello. I have to say that there is little discomfort. It just hurt if you apply pressure—like when my daughter Gwynnie (3) stood on it with her snow boot. Ouch!

So, there you have it. I hope you got the fix you were looking for. Personally, I don't think there is anything sick about wanting to see this photo. The human body is a fascinating thing. Let's hope that nail comes back. Apparently, it will take anywhere form 8 months to a year to grow back if it grows back. Fingers crossed.


4 comments:

  1. Simon, What a great post! They are so much fun to read. I can't believe you had the wherewithal to poke a needle deep into your toe! Very studly. I wish you all the luck in the world to get that big toenail back!

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  2. Kip, it really was out of desperation and necessity. I am not brave when it comes to needles.

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  3. So did you see a spike in readers opening this one? I know I couldn't help myself when I saw the title..and the warnings....and I'm even eating lunch right now!!!! lol

    Thanks for posting, I think your writing style is very engaging and entertaining, and g'luck getting that toe nail back :)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Anon. It was a failed experiment. No more views than any other type of post. Maybe when I do my photos of every 2 weeks until the nail comes back (or not), it may be more interesting. Yes, I am documenting it. One thing is for sure, among the people I know, it was the most talked about post next to the shaving confession post :)
      Thanks for the compliment. This blog was just a bit of fun that become a little more involved than I expected. What I lack in technical writing skills (to my wife's horror), I try to make up for in conversational tone. Thanks for taking the time to read. Most appreciated.

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