Public service announcement: If you think you have a wart on your foot, do not let it fester for seven months before going to the podiatrist. You'll regret it.
Now would be a good time for the squeamish people to do an about-face and go look at cute kid pictures or something.
So the thing showed up on my foot in October. I know this because I assumed it was a callous or a plantar wart and used OTC callous/wart remover on it, which resulted in my wading around at the water park on my birthday in early November with a bandaid covering the hole in my foot. I was pissed, because I had planned to get a pedicure at the spa as a birthday present for myself, but I wasn't going to risk it with that on my foot. I burned the living crud out of that hard little nubbin on the bottom of my foot just where the back of the foot joins on to the instep, burned it until so much skin was gone that it hurt to touch it.
Meanwhile, another one showed up in the exact same place on my other foot. I decided that maybe it wasn't a wart, because really, what are the chances of them showing up in identical locations at virtually the same time if it's a viral infection instead of some physical issue? I had just stopped wearing my sandals and started wearing winter shoes, which irritated the spots and made them hurt even when I wasn't wearing shoes at all. I researched other possible culprits, including bursitis, and heel spurs, and plantar fasciitis (I love words with two i's in a row), and corns. Didn't look like any of them, or like warts for that matter, so I went to see my doctor.
Corns, he said, grinning as he used a scalpel to cut the center out of each of them. Probably developed to protect something wrong with the architecture of my foot, or aggravated by switching to unsupportive shoes. Wear supportive shoes and pumice away the hard skin around it, and it should go away once the annoyance has been removed. They felt better for a few days after his impromptu surgery, until the centers started to grow back.
And the pain got worse. Instead of feeling like I was walking with a nickel in my shoe all the time, it felt like I had a pointy rock digging into my foot whenever I went barefoot for more than a few minutes or wore any shoes other than Birkenstocks. A dull ache most of the time, unless I stepped on something in that area ... which I inevitably did, several times a day, sending pain so bad it brought tears to my eyes shooting up the nerves in my foot. Worse, the concave shape of the areas after my doctor's little craft project was done made it act like a suction cup on wet surfaces, so when I was in the shower my feet would literally stick to the inside of the tub, and boy, did that hurt when I picked up my feet and the skin stretched a little before the suction let go.
Just a corn. Wear supportive shoes. Give it some time to heal. Eventually I decided that the fact I was avoiding going for walks meant it was bad enough to go see a podiatrist, but every time I called the one my doctor had recommended, his office was closed and I got the Surly Answering Service Lady. Then the thyroid stuff came up, and I decided that seeing one specialist at a time was all I could handle.
Thyroid situation on hold, I called this week for an appointment. Got to have another chat with Surly Answering Service Lady, but the following day I booked an appointment for today. Huzzah, more fun stuff to look forward to! More expensive tests and x-rays and stuff! Orthotics! Surgery! Debilitating longterm condition that requires amputation!
Or, not. I walk in, he takes on look at my foot, and says, "Warts." More specifically, "Wow, those are some big ones you've got there." Dude, I sooo did not want to hear that. Anytime my doctor seems impressed with my particular affliction, it's a sign that bad things are about to happen. "Yeah, you hit the jackpot on these. They're in a sensitive area, so we can't go in with novocaine and the laser (!) and cut them out, unless you want to be off your feet for a long time. So we'll just use this 70% acid solution and burn them off every couple of weeks until they're gone." He grabs a bottle of liquid and a scalpel and goes to work without even giving me a chance to get a word in edgewise. I am a total pussy when it comes to pain - ask my parents about my childhood band-aid removal tantrums - so I keep talking to try to keep my mind off of what's going on down there.
===="So, my regular doctor said these weren't warts, just corns. Are you sure we need to be digging them out like that?" erghhhhh oh, not pleasant at all
-----"Honestly, family doctors are not the people to see about feet issues. See how this one is bleeding? Warts are vascular like that. Boy, this one is a lot deeper than it looks!" I hazard a look toward my feet and see him wielding the scalpel like he's coring a tomato. Blargh. Look at ceiling. Look at kid. Do not look at feet. Dig dig scrape dab wipe dig dig
===="And the fact that they're in an unusual location, and showed up on both feet at the same time?"
"Mommy, can I ride in the chair when you're done?"
===="We'll ask the doctor once he's done digging all the way up to my knee with no anesthesia and ooooh boy, dammit, that's gone from uncomfortable to painful, could we let that one have a break for a while?"
"Mommy, we don't say dammit."
-----"Dude, have you seen what he's doing to my foot? I think it's okay for a grownup to say it in this situation gaaaaaahhhhh."
-----"Okay, taking a break. Now this one, wow, that's a big one." He's tackling the one on my other foot now, the calloused white crater that's the size of a dime and actually made Jason recoil in horror when he saw it last night. Dab dab dig dig wipe off blood dab dab dig dig
===="Yeah, that's the one I didn't treat with the OTC stuff. Hey, I guess the dozen little craters that showed up on my heel a week ago aren't just my winter callouses wearing off from pumicing the sore spot, huh?"
-----"Nope, those are satellites. They're still tiny, so we'll get rid of those pretty easily."
===="So, what are you coloring down there, Liza? Wow, nice letters. It was nice of the nurse to lend you those highlighters, wasn't it?" Please try not to notice that I'm gripping the arms of the chair so hard that I've lost feeling in my fingers. Boy, I should have brought my knitting in for this one. I couldn't have knit, but at least I could have stabbed the dude back with something pointy in retribution.
===="Arrrrrrgh. So, you're sure this is the less painful way?"
-----"Oh, yeah. Trust me, you don't want to dig these out all at once when they're in this part of your foot." He's finished now, wiping the debris off and getting bandages on my feet. Liza is fascinated, watching over his shoulder like a residency student. She's a little miffed that I didn't get Hello Kitty bandages like she does when she gets a boo-boo.
-----"So, are you going to be a doctor when you grow up?"
No, I'm going to be a ballerina astronaut.
-----"Okaaaaay. Now these shouldn't hurt much. We'll just keep digging them out a little at a time. Another four or six visits and they should be gone, okay? See you in two weeks!"
I got to my feet gingerly, convinced that the warts are going to bleed through the bandages and ruin my good Birkenstocks right before the summer starts. But the only thing that hurts is where the self-stick ace bandage thing that's wrapped around my instep bends and pinches the top of my foot. All that unpleasant digging and scraping that led me to believe that I have a gaping wound the size of Pluto (with satellites!) on the bottom of my foot ... is miraculously pain-free, even though I'm standing with a lump of gauze and bandage and stuff strapped directly over the previously painful spot. You know, the exact spot that had me howling in agony if I stepped on a wrinkle in the bath mat with it.
Damn right I'll be back in two weeks ... I might have a three-bourbon lunch before I come so I can sit in that chair without digging holes in my palms to match the ones in my feet, and I'll probably avoid bringing the kiddo with me, but I'll be back. Now, if I can just get up the nerve to rip off the bandages tomorrow morning, I'll be fine. shudder
Those tiny red dots are the "vascular" thing the podiatrist mentioned, which you couldn't see before he carved up this foot. Similar dots were clearly visible in the other foot this morning, but you can't see them in the middle picture because they're obscured by the remarkably quick upwelling of blood that showed up any time I took pressure off of the wound.
As I hopped around trying to wrangle a camera in bad light with a dripping foot, I joked with Jason that I hoped I didn't bleed out while I sleep tonight. Hah! See, there's that comedic exaggeration again!
I slapped some antibiotic ointment on an extra-large band-aid and covered that with a sock to keep the whole mess in place overnight. Then I got ready for bed, marveling at how the actual giant gaping wound on my foot still hurt less than the wart did this morning.
Then I noticed that I was leaving bloody footprints on the floor. Through the bandaid. And the sock (which luckily was a store-bought one, not a hand-knit one, or I'd have been really pissed).
Now I've got an extra-thick jogging sock (thank you, orphaned sock pile!) over it, and I'm going to go think good coagulating thoughts for my poor wounded appendage. Wish me luck tonight! Because if things go badly, I'll have Jason post pictures of my exsanguinated*** corpse tomorrow before he calls EMS. And nobody wants to see that.
***thanks to my college drama teacher, I actually knew that word without having to look it up online. That, and "defenistrate" are two of the least useful bonus point vocabulary questions in the world. But now I finally used one in a legitimate context! Hurrah! See, there IS a bright side to this whole bloody mess.