Irreverent Mama

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I stubbed the middle toe of my left foot a while back. Damned thing would ache. Oh, how it would ache. And hurt when I touched it. Then it got better. Then I stubbed it again. Then it got better. Then I stubbed it again ...

Not that I ever remembered stubbing it, mind you. But that often happens with me. I'll come up with a bruise, and have no idea where it came from. (No, I don't bruise particularly easily, I don't think; I just have a terrible memory. It takes a while for a bruise to emerge, see. Ample time -- AMPLE -- for me to forget the originating mishap.) But whether I remember or not, I must've banged myself, obviously, because I have a bruise.

So, the toe? I must have stubbed it, because it kept aching.

Gradually, however, it permeated even my oblivious consciousness that this toe had been "stubbed" an awful lot for an awfully long time. Perhaps I should take a look? Sadly, not as straightforward a proposition as one might think. Recalling the facts of the back (bad) and the age (fortyplus)... Not a combination that makes for easy access to the underside of one's toes.

Though I don't get as close as I might prefer (who ever thought I'd be nostalgic about the days when I was young and bendy (and disgusting) enough to be able to chew my own toenails?), I do manage to ascertain that this toe, when viewed from underneath, is quite evidently blue. As is a spot on the big toe, two doors down.

One should not google these things. Did you know that there's a sydrome, caused, near as I can make out, by vascular detritus collecting in the tiny veins of the toes, which will make your toes go blue (and eventually, if left untreated) develop gangrene and fall right off?? Well, you do now. And so did I.

I made an appointment with a podiatrist that afternoon.

Three days later, I'm sitting in an enormous red leather reclining chair with my bare feet raised well up. After a mere, oh, 35 minutes, the doctor enters. Before she's even settled her butt onto her small beige stool she says,

"You've got frostbite."

Frostbite? When did that happen? Surely one would notice? Which is pretty much what she said to me when informed that I didn't know when it had happened.

After all, I live in Ottawa. It's cold here. From time to time, despite decent footwear, one's feet do get very, very cold, like when one is standing waiting for a bus that simply never comes. After the tingling comes the numbness. If one decides the damned bus is never coming and walks home, the toes don't much cooperate with the venture for the first half-block until they warm enough that you can feel them once again.

And then, perhaps, when one gets home and, removed from the cold air within the boot, they meet the warm air of the house, they might perhaps ache, sting, and burn like a bugger. This, however, has happened to me any number of times over my life -- not that often, all in all, but our winter are long and cold. There's lots of opportunity for this to happen.

Lots of opportunity, multiple occasions, yet never have I gotten frostbite from it. Well. Never before, at any rate.

Now, apparently, I have it, and will always have it, and the only solution is to avoid extremes of temperature, hot or cold -- no more revivifying, comforting, chill-banishing hot baths! damn!! -- and keep my feet warm. Lest I get it again (which is now more likely), and/or damage the toes further. Lesson learned.

I left her office $200 poorer (!!!) but laden with goodies. I've got creams (to soften and to warm), I've got lengths of natural wool in which to wrap my affected toes, I've got neoprine (sp?) insoles for my current boots, and I've got a shopping list: new, better boots, and new, better socks, and the catalogue from which to order them. Too bad she can't write prescriptions, because $18 for a pair of socks??? And those boots she suggests are twice as much as I usually spend.

Though, if you like hiking boots, they are very, very nice...



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  • HOW MUCH??? You can claim that back against something cant you...?

    By Blogger jenny, at 12:27 p.m.  

  • Podiatry is not covered by provincial health insurance, but a goodly percentage of that will be covered by my husband's generous benefits plan at work. Damned good thing, since I'm self-employed.

    (Before we were together, and when he was a student, I paid for my own insurance before, but it's expensive, too. So I was very glad to let it lapse when Matthew got that job!)

    By Blogger irreverentmama, at 5:17 p.m.  

  • Frostbite? Wow. I didn't realize you could get frostbite so easily. Hope it doesn't hurt too much!

    By Anonymous Naomi (Urban Mummy), at 10:02 p.m.  

  • Well, I don't think you can get it easily. The podiatrist was having a hard time believing that I didn't know it had happened at the time.

    It doesn't hurt at all at the moment, and if I care for it properly, it shouldn't bother me again. I now know that the aching and swelling which was happening before occured when they'd gotten too cold -- or too hot. No extremes of temperatures allowed any more.

    No more hot baths in the winter. Boooo...

    By Blogger irreverentmama, at 9:18 a.m.  

  • So then, you're sure it is frostbite?

    I mean, since you didn't know it happened and the foot doctor found that fact unbelievable. Maybe it isn't frostbite. Doctors have been wrong before.

    By Blogger Denguy, at 12:26 a.m.  

  • Good point. I tend to think the diagnosis is correct because there have been times my feet have been extremely, painfully cold, and because the advice she gave is having a positive effect on the symptoms.

    However, I will bear this possibility in mind and keep an eye on the toes.

    By Blogger irreverentmama, at 4:34 p.m.  

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