Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Be Happy You're You

Years ago my husband, Justin, got into a motorcycle accident.  When the bike went down his leg slammed heel-first into the road.  Since then he's been having problems with bits of bone breaking off and floating around behind his kneecap.  Every few years he has to have an invasive and painful surgery to remove these bits of bone so that he can straighten his leg out. The most recent of these was a few weeks ago.  It took two incisions and eighteen staples (which, incidentally, are exactly like the staples that were in your third-grade teachers desk drawer only thicker) but he did get to come home with a little sterile container with about five or six pea- to quarter-sized bones that had been removed, but don't mention it to him because since then it got set on the bumper of my car after showing a friend and is now smashed all over Main Street and I'm not sure if the pain he still feels is from the surgery or from that loss.
Never one to follow instructions too closely Justin insisted on building a turtle habitat (that's a whole other story) in the utility room in the garage a couple of days after the surgery. There were tools and turtles and blood everywhere, but at least the turtles will not be spending another winter in my bathtub.  
Soon after that he decided that he would be in a lot less pain if the staples were just removed.  So here in our living room with wire cutters and needle-nosed pliers he took out all eighteen of them.  Again, tools and blood everywhere, not turtles though so that was an improvement.
He knee was doing much better and we were all prepared for a little break before his toe surgery.  I'll clarify: TOE surgery.  And this is not the first Justin has had.  Years ago there was a nearly-fatal golf cart incident that severed two of the little toes on his left foot (they were able to be reattached, although a little crookedly).  The upcoming surgery is on his right.  His pre-op appointment was last Friday.  Thursday night Justin was walking through the kitchen and stubbed his big toe (on the left, non-surgery foot) on one of the chairs.  I stub my toes a lot and it hurts, sometimes I even get a hangnail from the ordeal and that's even worse but I clip it and its sore for a bit and then it's fine.  Justin limped into the bedroom after stubbing his toe and said "look at this."  I looked and the nail was cracked all the way down the middle and there was this odd white fluid pouring from the crack.  "That's doesn't look right, does it?" he asked. Keep in mind he stubbed his toe on a chair, not a cement wall or the side of a building, not something immovable, but a chair which if struck with enough force to crack a big toenail down the center should, by all rights, have moved first.  Not for Justin though.
And no, it didn't look right.  So when he went to his pre-op appointment he had the doctor take a quick look at the oozing toe on his way out.
When he came hobbling in that night I asked, shocked, what had happened.
"I had surgery."
"On what?"
Well, it turns out that the doctor took one look at his toe and decided they needed to remove the whole toenail.  The proceeding explanation of this process seems like something from the Malleus Maleficarum and should never have to happen in this day and age of pain medication and lasers and those Google maps that show you a satellite picture, clear as day, of your location (from outer space!).  First they put up one of those surgical curtains like they give women who are getting c-sections so you can't see what they're really doing.  Then they take about four long needles and shove them as far under the offending toe as possible and pump as much anesthetic under there as you can stand.  When you're good and numb (of course "you'll still feel some pressure") they take some sort of instrument, which can't be a whole lot different from a pair of pliers, to grip the toenail and then just yank it off allowing blood and puss to squirt "all over the walls!"
His toe is healing nicely and there's even this little film, just a hint of a new toenail and now that he's had his physical with the family doctor to make sure his body will survive another surgery we're planning on the next toe operation this Friday, in which they break two of them, shave off some bone from each, sever the ligaments in two others and insert rods into all of them to straighten them out, that is unless something else happens before then that needs to be addressed.  Friday is a long way away in Justin-time.

1 comment:

  1. You make me laugh all the time. Not the "LOL" kind of laugh where you say you laugh but really don't. Its more of a really "I'm laughing out loud and everyone is staring at me but I can't stop" kind of laugh. Thank you for brightening my day. Again.