Let me tell you about my demon toe

I went to the podiatrist again today. This journey started a few months ago when I got my toenail ripped off by a kid at camp. Well, to be fair, the whole saga of my ridiculous toe probably started back a few years ago when I first got my toenail ripped off, and then a friend stepped on my toe at a Halloween party. And maybe broke it.

Regardless of where the story began, it continued today at the podiatrist’s office. This was supposed to be a follow up visit to see how my toenail was reforming. Unfortunately, it ended with the podiatrist yanking the the darn thing off again.

See, my toe has been hurting more and more over the last few months. It wasn’t ever very painful; just a persistent ache whenever I wore socks or shoes. The foot doc took one look at it when he came in, pushed down on the top of the nail, and said, “I think you have a bone spur. Let’s x-ray it.”

Guess what? No, you’ll never guess. Okay, I’ll tell you. I’ve got a bloody bone spur!

Of course, this being part of my ridiculous body, not only do I have a bone spur, I apparently have Satan’s big toe.

horny-toe

My official x-ray folks. Note the horn-like buggers on the end of the bone.

Yeah, I’ve got little horns of bone trying to literally PUSH OUT OF MY SKIN. Isn’t that just lovely?

Other than the trying to push out of skin part, the way the toe bone is curved up makes it so that when my toenail tries to grow out straight, it’s jamming into the skin. Hence why I needed to get a bunch of my toenail removed. AGAIN.

On top of that, I can’t get into the surgery that I’m going to need to for a few months. It’s going to take a month to schedule and 2-4 weeks to heal from. So they can’t get me in now, and after this month I’ve got a little thing called college to go back to. So I need to wait till summer.

I feel like I sound a little salty. Well, you would too if you’d been cursed with the demon toe from hell.

On the upside, the doc told me the pain from my minor surgery today should go down significantly by tomorrow. And then Christmas will only be three days away, so that’s nice. After that I’ve only got to avoid grievously injuring my toe for a few months and I should be alright.

*Laughs nervously*

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That time I almost died

You guys know I’m clumsy, and a lot of the time, I injure myself by doing stupid things. That said, the events that led to this title were NOT my fault. I swear. I did absolutely nothing to bring about my own pain. Except maybe not wear shoes.

My family was down in I’m thinking South Carolina at this time. We’d gone camping at a lake back when we still had a boat. And went camping. Man, I miss camping….

Anyway. My sister and I had gone down to the beach. We spent a while there before coming back for food. My parents had made hotdogs if I remember correctly. It was a few years ago, and I’ve have a few brain injuries since then, so I don’t remember everything clearly.

However, the one thing I DO remember was the feel of the little ant that bit my foot while I was using the hose to wash the sand off my feet. I can still feel that little bugger on the top of my left foot just below the ankle. I don’t remember if it was a fire ant or not, but man, it sure hurt like fire.

I was immediately distracted from the pain by the offering of juice and hotdogs. I thought that was the end of it. As you’ve read the title, you probably realize it wasn’t.

A few days later, back at home, I stared at the little red bite mark on my foot. Rather than fade, like most bug bites do, it had grown and was branching out. I playfully pointed it out to my mom, joking, “Hey, it looks like a stingray.” Indeed, the angry red mark had grown a tail that was creeping its way down to my big toe.

My mom looked at it and, in a rather uncharacteristic move for her, did not immediately rush me to the urgent care down the street. She rubbed some antibiotic ointment on top of it, remarking on how warm it was, and we soon forgot about it.

I was fine, apparently. The mark faded over time and eventually stopped hurting. The only odd thing was that every time my foot got warm, say by spending time in shoes or taking a shower, my little stingray came back. I was fascinated by it, but again, thought nothing of it.

It wasn’t until I went to a routine doctor’s appointment months later that I realized just how lucky I was. I had been wearing shoes at the time, and when I took them off, I noticed my stingray was back. On a lark, I decided to point it out to the doctor.

He was… quite alarmed. He asked how long I’d had it. I told him a few months, and he visibly relaxed and looked a little perplexed. He told me and my surprised mom that it was something called lymphangitis.

Simply enough, it’s an infection of the lymph vessels. The infection had spread a short distance down my foot, which was what caused the tail of my “stingray.” Left untreated, like we did, it often becomes a very serious condition and can kill people. Wikipedia says that people with lymphangitis should immediately be hospitalized and watched closely. I did neither.

At the very least, it should have been a lot worse. My doctor said I’d probably be fine, and (obviously) I was. To this day, I have no idea why it never spread anywhere else. I have no clue why it went away, other than maybe, against all evidence, I am just really lucky.

So yeah, the title is a little bit of an over-statement, but only a little one. *Winks*

And if you’re curious, yes, years later, the spot still comes back if my foot gets warm enough, although now it’s so faded it just kinda looks like a tiny bruise.

What about you? Any medical horror stories to share? Let me know in the comments.

I’m a College Girl Now!

Sorry, that it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been incredibly busy these last few weeks. I was packing and shopping and trying on every article of clothing I own, but now I’m done. I have finally begun my very first year of college away from home.

So far, it’s been a lot of fun. I began my first class at Liberty University this Monday at 8:50am. Currently, I am undeclared, but that’s only because I’m not allowed to apply for the individualized study program that I want to enter until I’ve been here a semester, despite the fact that I’m technically a sophomore (I’ve been calling myself a freshmore: sophomore by credit freshman by year). At the end of this semester, I will begin working toward my individualized studies degree, focusing on creative writing (duh) and probably communications.

A lot has happened this first week. For starters, I accidentally walked into the wrong classroom for the first class of my Honors CINE 101. Then I stayed the whole time. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me that I was in the wrong class. There were so many hints. For example, the professor called the class by a different name than the one I signed up for. I did, however, get it straightened out the second class.

I’ve also been battling a back injury that I’m pretty sure was caused by the repetitive shirt on/shirt off motion that I had to do when I was trying on my clothes to see what I would take with me. I never before realized how many shirts I had. I’ve been using a rolling backpack to keep stress off my spine. I’m currently one of only two people on campus that I know of that uses a rolling backpack. I feel like an utter dork, and I keep running over people’s toes. I cannot wait until my back is back to normal.

And then I got sick on Tuesday. Yep, that’s right, I got a cold on my First. Week. Of. College. It stinks about as much as it sounds. My roommates are getting a little peeved at the constant coughing in the night. Quite honestly, so am I. I hate being sick.

It’s not all bad. I am really enjoying some of my classes. In case you’re curious, my classes are English 201 (American literature), University 101 (that same annoying class that they make every freshman or transfer take), Honors Cinema Appreciation 101 (we watch movies and then talk about them like smart people), Psychology of Relationships (ugh), Honors History of Western Civilization (we read about history and then talk about it like smart people), and Biblical Worldview (we learn about, uh, a Biblical worldview?).

I’m fairly certain that I’m going to enjoy most of my classes, notable exceptions being the psychology and University 101 classes. Psychology has never really been my thing. I’m not really into looking deep into my soul and head-shrinking other people. The University 101 class feels unneeded, but who knows, maybe I’ll learn something that I didn’t already know from basically self-teaching myself since I was in 7th grade and taking two years of college classes at home. Maybe.

How’s your week been? Are any of you going back to school? Have you gone back already? Or are you done entirely and thrilled about it?

Camp Clumsy

If you didn’t already know this, I am incredibly clumsy. Therefore, I tend to hurt myself a lot. It’s not always something big. I might just jam my fingers or develop a bruise of unknown origins. But it happens All. The. Time. At camp, my clumsiness is even worse.

At home, I tend to stay locked away in my room writing or reading (my family calls my room “The Cave”). I don’t get injured very often then. However, at the summer camp where I work as a lifeguard, I’m almost always up and moving about. I’m not allowed to bring my laptop with me, so I’m forced to leave my bunk and socialize, which, if I’m being honest, is probably good for me. I go on hikes, play with kids, play billiards, and generally wander around. Of course, there’s also the pool where I work. It has lots of slippery surfaces and sun exposure and random really heavy umbrella stands (I skinned my right thumb the first week trying to move one of the stands), so of course I’m going to hurt myself there. In addition to the skinned thumb, I also got badly sunburned on my shoulders, thighs, and the tops of my feet that first week. The shoulders and thighs weren’t so bad, but the pain from the feet was radiating down the inside of my feet making it a bit difficult to walk.

And then there’s the bugs. This don’t have as much to do with clumsiness on my part (although, I have stupidly wacked myself in the face in an ambitious attempt to kill a horsefly. Curse them!), but they are still something that cause me extra pain and frustration. We’ve got mosquitos, horseflies, deerflies, wasps, and plenty of giant spiders. Of course, that’s only listing the ones that bite and/or sting. The mosquitos and spiders actually bother me the least. We’ve got a truck that sprays stuff to kill mosquitos, and unless you spend an inordinate amount of time in the woods, the spiders won’t bother you. Mainly, it’s the horseflies and deerflies. The wasps, especially the mud daubers will leave you alone for the most part, but the horse and deerflies are aggressive little things. They will chase you all the way from wherever you came from to wherever you’re going. If they don’t bite you, it’s because you or someone else killed them. Their tenacity would be impressive if it wasn’t so annoying. Also, I’ve about decided that I’m allergic to deerflies.Every time one of them bites me, I get massive one or two inch welts in the same spot. I’ve got one on my foot right now that driving me up the wall!

The point I’ve been trying to make here is that I get injured a lot. It’s not always my fault (but it usually is). My friend and fellow lifeguard, Sharon, actually has a specific look for those occasions of pain and humiliation. It’s something between consternation and pity. I see it quite often, usually accompanied by the phrase, “Oh my word.”

Every summer since I started working at camp I get to the point where I promise myself, “I’m not going to get hurt this week.” This week, it didn’t work out (not entirely my fault; someone ran over me while trying to tag a kid), so I’m going to have try harder next week.

Ugh. Pray for me.