But I could have lost a foot.
The official diagnosis was “foreign object impaled in foot.” When I was a kid, we called them “splinters.” But this sounds so much more medically important. My general practitioner took one look at it and scheduled me with a podiatric surgeon. Seriously? But it gets better. When I met with the podiatrist, she said the foreign object was deeply impaled and if she couldn’t remove in the office, we would have to schedule an operating room. Could this possibly get any more unnecessarily dramatic?
She then explained that she could anesthetize the area, but that it would be very painful due to the thin skin and lack of fat in the area of the impalement. Already being needle phobic when it is merely regularly painful, I opted to forgo the anesthesia. And the reason I opted out is because I had my Super Power black nail polish on, which I am completely convinced gives me Super Power pain tolerance.
After a swipe of lidocaine and alcohol, she shaved away at the abscessed skin one layer at a time with her scalpel, which was probably a better choice than the Exacto knife I had considered using. The sensation was more of a tugging discomfort rather than pain, per se. But I gave birth to babies when drugs and spinal blocks were out of vogue. Couldn’t have done that spinal needle thing, anyway. But I digress.
When the doctor reached the head of the foreign object, I could feel the scalpel make contact. It was weirdly like those scenes where someone is digging for treasure or bodies and suddenly hits the treasure chest or coffin, only this was a miniature version involving my actual flesh and blood. And just like in the buried treasure scenes, where they use the shovel to find the edges of the box, she used a little medical tool (that looked like a fancy cuticle trimmer) to clear the edges of the foreign object.
With the foreign object properly exposed, the doctor employed yet another impressive medical tool (“tweezers” in layman’s terms), and extracted it one piece. I had warned her that it was large and, indeed, she held up a wooden splinter at least an inch in length. There was surprisingly little blood or pus. I attribute that completely to my Super Power.
So the takeaway from this experience is this:
1. What used to be merely a minor, fix-it-yourself splinter is now considered to be a full trauma medical situation; and
2. You should always carry a portable manicure set in case you have to perform your own surgery.