Fast forward to last week. I’m in NYC for annual doctor appointments and the Backspace Agent-Author Seminar. It’s also my birthday week.
I’m catching up with my cousins, reconnecting with Z, hanging with A. Having a fabulous time.
But for one problem. My big toe hurts. I can’t see anything causing the pain, but it’s tender and aching and slightly red.
So I poke around with a Q-tip, trying to find the source of the problem.
Two nights later, the toe has developed a heartbeat and it’s swollen. Uh-oh.
So on Wednesday, my birthday, I go to a walk-in clinic for treatment.
The doctor takes one look at the swollen red toe with a white pus pocket near the surface and tells me it’s too far along for antibiotics alone to work.
We are going to have to lance it.
I tell him I have a conference the next two days.
He says we have to do it. Or the infection could get way worse.
That’s when he jabs 4 needles into my toe to numb it. Before the numbness, it’s searing, burning, screaming-swears painful.
I mention it’s my birthday and he says that pedicurist gave you one hell of a present. Seems that if she had cut my toe nail straight instead of rounding the edges, I would never get the ingrown toe nail which led to the infection and the pus pocket, Paronychia.
When my toe no longer senses pain or touch, he gets out his scalpel and lances the side of my toe. Squeezes out all the pus. Blood and other liquids come out too.
Unfortunately, I’m on aleve for the pain and it looks like he slaughtered a small pig on the table. I try not to look because seeing my own blood makes me want to pass out.
Ofc, there are no nail clippers there. Fortunately, we are in a Duane Reade walk in clinic so I tell him to go grab a pair and I’ll buy them. I want to make sure we deal with this effectively.
He spends roughly half an hour on my foot. Has to call in backup to get out sterilized water and gauze because his gloves are bathed in my blood. Then he cleans up my toe and bandages it. My toe is twice the normal size.
It’s still numb while I give the pharmacy my script for antibiotics and pick up some bandages.
He tells me to take aleve for the pain-when it comes on.
It’s only 1 block back to my A’s apt. I hobble there.
And then the fun begins. The pain injections wear off. My toe throbs and aches. Sharp shooting pain from the tip of my toe into my ankle. Every hour worsens the pain.
A and I scrap plans for a bday dinner in Chinatown and end up at a place 3 blocks from his apartment. It takes me 15 minutes to hobble over there.
It takes a few drinks to make it through dinner.
The pain is unrelenting and unbearable. My brain feels close to shock. It cannot process this type of pain. I become prone to maniacal laughter followed by hysterical crying. Aleve doesn’t touch it.
But I have to go to my conference. So at 6:45 am I wake up and get dressed. Limp to subway. Hobble to conference. And endure criticism while secretly fantasizing about cutting my own toe off. Just to escape the pain.
By the time I get home Thursday, it’s swollen. The big toe, all my other toes, my entire foot, and the ankle. Uh-oh.
I try to sleep with my foot propped up. The next day the swelling comes down a bit but the pain is worse. A lends me his men’s size 11 shoes. I’m a women’s 9.5, but they fit.
I cab to and from conference and keep my foot elevated all day.
My poor father has to drive down to NYC to pick me up, because I’m crippled by this and can’t do the most basic things. Like take the subway and walk to the train platform in Grand Central.
I also had to skip out on a couple panels at the conference to manage the pain. I made sure I attended all the workshops.
This, my friends, is how a bad pedicure can completely derail your life for a week.
I will never let anyone touch my feet again.