Necrotic Digits (Trigger warning: gross)
Posted on October 13th, 2014
Trigger warning: gross.
Shouldn’t that be a band name, “Necrotic digits,” kind of like Skinny Puppy?
Am I dating myself?
If you’ve been playing along at home or have read any of my past blogs, you’ll know I’ve been married a long time. More than half my life, and no, I wasn’t 13 (but I wasn’t able to drink yet, either). But we waited a long time for other things–you know, like grad school, having a kid, that sort of thing.
But a necrotic toe? (kH’s, not mine, thank the FSM.) That’s a new one! We waited a long time for that. And it’s worth the wait. If we could have chosen, we would have waited another 50 or so years.
The short version is this: he cut his toe. It was fine. Then it wasn’t fine. Then it was really not fine and red and swollen, and then it was really, really not fine-keeping-him-up-at-night-not fine, so Friday he went to the substitute internist and got antibiotics, but over the weekend there was a lovely streak running up his leg that I kept track of with a Sharpie although apparently my time and dating technique was unprofessional, so being OCD I got out rubbing alcohol and fixed it (pro tip: rubbing alcohol takes off Sharpie from skin!), and then I was told I should not have written out “1100” by the line but should have just written “11.”
I asked if he wanted me to fix it? No, he sighed. It was fine. We could always write on the other side of my line if we needed to. He also complained the second time I used a Sharpie that was not fine-tipped (just on the line, not the extraneous numerals).
Now, I’m picky about my pens, but I’m pretty sure that when your spouse of many years who is not a medical professional is writing on your leg because they’re worried about you developing sepsis, you should just shut the fuck up.
I didn’t say the last part. I just thought it VERY LOUDLY.
Then this morning (we are grateful that there are some people working on the holiday-which-should-not be), an email arrived saying the culture came back positive for strep and staph (thankfully not MRSA and thankfully the Keflex should handle it) but then the toe had turned black and swollen and his whole foot was puffy and…
We have wilderness medicine books around the house. I know we are somewhat unusual in our non-fiction collection, but have you ever seen what a frostbitten toe looks like? Kind of like that. I won’t link to one, I promise. But gross. I took a picture because I expect his pointy-haired boss to give him shit, and nothing says “I love you and my job THIS MUCH” like a right-back-at-you picture of a necrotic digit, complete with exudate. (I won’t post it here, because you would leave this site and never come back.)
So we arrived at medical appointment three of the day (the first two of which were mine, previously scheduled, which I did alone; since I had to drive for kH, we all went). His internist, bless his heart, is squeamish, took one look, stepped waaaaay back, and made the arrangements to get him to the super-duper foot doctor stat (he would see us, but we had to get there in fifteen minutes). The internist actually walked us out: down the elevator, out the door, and pointed to where we needed to go in the complex. (That’s also a new one.)
Poor kH, who had to limp there. Anyway. You know how doctors sometimes say, “This is really unusual?” The super-duper foot doctor said that. I said, “I don’t think it can be that weird if you aren’t standing there smiling.” (I have some experience with doctors bursting into the room saying, “I read about this in medical school but I’d never thought I’d see it!” That is a happy doctor.) Which actually did make the super-duper foot doctor smile for the first time, so score one for team H.
(The super-duper foot doctor also said, “There is no such thing as a stupid question,” which is charming but wrong, so I said, “Yes, there is. I’ve defended a lot of depositions.”)
The super-duper foot doctor was very pleased with my Sharpie line and numbering technique. Score one for team qH.
As it turns out, it was actually not as weird as the super-duper foot doctor had thought, and before I had finished a really easy level of German on Duolingo in the waiting room, kH was done, wrapped up, and making a follow-up appointment.
If you really want to know, the details involve nicking a vein somehow, having blood build up behind the nail bed, then pushing the nail up out of the nail bed–and the whole mess got infected. It is very neatly wrapped up, but now that the toenail is gone I actually am too grossed out to look. Ah, well.
Somewhat coincidentally, now I have “Dig It” stuck in my head…but I’m not linking to the video. You can thank me later.