So on the trip to Africa we learned that maybe it isn’t the greatest idea to go for a mountain climb when you have a bum leg. Apparently, there are infections to be found in that part of the world, and one seems to have settled in on my toe which was taking most of the weight off of my ankle, and the disease now seems to have made a little green home for itself where I once had a rather pinkish toenail.
While on the trip, I noted that it was oversized, unpleasant-looking, more-than-unpleasant feeling, and generally should probably be looked at by a medical professional. Upon returning home, I got up the nerve to examine it again and realized that it was turning… well… green. By green, I mean the color of a freshly manicured golf course in the springtime combined with that of your average pepper. Delightful though this color might be on lawns, apples, and possibly on living room walls, I figured that it was probably a bad color for a part of the body to be turning. I therefore took it upon myself to schedule an appointment with the lovely medical personnel in the Army.
And so I went to the appointment. I only waited to see someone for half an hour between getting my blood pressure read and the doctor actually showing up, which might be some kind of record, and when he asked the question of why I was there I promptly pointed to the toe, which was also lovely shades of purple to accompany the green and blue hues already present, and told him that it did not exactly feel what I would call “good.”
He gave me a perscription for Motrin and told me to make another appointment to have the nail removed so they could see if it was infected. He then sent me on my way with instructions that I probably shouldn’t run for a few weeks. He also mumbled something about how if that got much worse I would probably lose the toe, then hustled me out of the room.
Now, to me, green is usually a bad sign. One might think, perhaps, that the name gangrene came from somewhere, though admittedly the spelling is a little off. Also, despite the fact that I was now back in the land of regular running water, there was still an interesting and thankfully undescribable scent accompanying this little discoloration. Combined with losing feeling in the tip of the toe and the inability to bend the toe, I was a touch leery of the prognosis as I returned to my unit, but it was, after all, doctor orders.
There isn’t much to do at the company these days, so upon hearing of my trip to the doctor, a few of my stronger-stomached compatriots wanted to see the freakish toe. Upon the removal of my sock, a few changed their minds, and my lieutenant casually asked as he turned away why exactly I wasn’t getting that looked at. I told him of my adventure and he told me to hurry up and do something. I called for the procedure appointment and was told that the first opening for removal would be in a month. My command was quick to sign the sick call slip to go back to the doctor and find an alternative, before I grossed everyone out of the company. We did, however, get to play the interesting game of seeing which non-commissioned officer would throw up first.
And so, two days later, after the day in between where I had a dental appointment only to arrive and find that the dentist had quit and they had “tried to call some people and reschedule” but apparently I hadn’t made the cut, I wandered back to the hospital for another opinion.
This time, I received two strong perscription medications plus an antibiotic, as well as permission (though not recommendation) to wear my duck slippers to work if I felt I needed to. Actually, all he said was that he suggested I not wear fuzzy pink bunny slippers, and when I told him I had ducks and they were yellow, he just shrugged. I also found out that I might even get to keep the tip of my toe, now that I was actually on antibiotics. Apparently the “staving off further infection” part was not included in the previous exam.
So now I get to hobble around for the next month doped up on perscription painkillers waiting for time or the procedure clinic to remove my toenail and see what lies beneath and whether or not I get to keep my beloved big toe. Every day brings new photo opportunities for the crazies at my unit who are enjoying the progress of the infection, and I have decided that I am going to start charging if they begin parading me around the batallion as some sort of carnival sideshow. After all, just because I can regularly hear the circus theme music wafting in the background noise of my brain most moments that I spend in the Army does not mean it is a free show.