Monday, 23 September 2013

Is This Bye-Bye Big Toe? WARNING! Icky Sicky Photos...


“I was walking through the garden one day!  In the merry merry month of… September”

The generator is located on the far side of the shop from the house.  This is great when it comes to reducing noise pollution but means a bit of a walk when it comes time to shut the generator down at night.  Since we do not have the concrete pathways thrown yet, this means a Beau Geste style slog through the sand that is my garden at the moment.  It’s no hardship really.  On a clear night, the stars, filtered through the rustling leaves of the many palm trees on the property are divine and Charlie loves these midnight walks.

As this is a hot country, I tend to wear sandals and shorts when at home, far more comfortable and convenient than boots and safari gear.  But this is bush.  My nearest neighbour is half a mile away and at night, the silence is deafening.

Just over 36 hours ago, I set off for the generator, Charlie gambolling along by my side when I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my big toe.  I shone the torch down to inspect it but could see little else but a couple of beads of blood.  There is a type of weed that grows in profusion around here that casts spiky seeds presenting a constant, but no more than irritating hazard to those walking in bare feet or, indeed, sandals, so I thought no more of it, switched the generator off and went to bed.  

At one thirty in the morning I woke up.  My toe was on fire.  Bugger, I thought, I have probably picked up a chigger.  Chiggers are a type of flea that burrow into flesh, usually under toe nails and have to be carefully and painfully excised so as not to burst the egg sac for doing so would only multiply the grief.  My maid may be pretty much useless in all other respects but she is unsurpassed when it comes to digging chiggers out so I resigned myself to five minutes brutal torture the following morning and tried to go back to sleep.

By three in the morning, I was extremely discomfited.  By four I was running a fever yet my teeth were chattering uncontrollably I felt so cold.  I reached for the torch on my bedside table but clumsily knocked it to the floor the impact with which smashed it.

Bugger, I thought, a chigger AND malaria.  So I resigned myself to the few miserable hours left of the night before Marcia woke up and could go and get me a malaria treatment from the pharmacy.  I never slept a wink and as the throbbing of my toe increased and rose up my calf muscle, I wondered just how many chiggers I had picked up.  I spent that night sitting at my desk smoking and drinking whisky in the dark.  Just before dawn, shivering yet lathered in perspiration and with a blinding headache, I vomited copiously.  It’s definitely malaria, I thought as I hobbled painfully to the kitchen to feel around for a cloth so I could clean the mess off Marcia’s newly varnished wooden floor.

Just as it was light enough to see, Marcia awoke and came out of the bedroom.  ‘Don’t tell me you have spent the whole night in front of your computer drinking’, she said with ill disguised contempt.

‘I think I have malaria’, I said to her retreating back, ‘and I have a sore toe’

She didn’t say anything but her body language said, ‘Diddums’

I hobbled over to one of the windows and raised the blind to let in more early morning light before making my way to the sofa.  I placed my foot onto the coffee table so I could give my toe a good look.

‘Come and have a look at this, Marcia’, I called out.

‘Meu Deus!’ she said.  My God indeed.

‘I bet that hurts,’ she continued.

‘Well, it is jolly uncomfortable’, I conceded while I stared in fascination at my toe.  I decided to take a photograph:

Seven hours after the incident

A few hours later, I took another:



I have to confess, I was amazed at the speed of the necrosis.  The nip on the toe that started all this occurred Saturday night.  It was now Sunday so the nearest medical attention would be a clinic several hours away in Luanda.  All they would do is scrub the appendage and dose me up with antibiotics.  I was perfectly capable of doing that myself and, besides. Harald Klein was coming for Sunday lunch, our first ever guest to the new house and I had set my heart on preparing his favourite German dishes so I wasn’t about to call the whole show off over a sore toe.  Both of us, during the war, had endured far worse.

Klein is diabetic.  When he noticed my toe he was immediately concerned and produced his survival pack for diabetics and insisted on testing my blood sugar.  I never knew that the toes of diabetics could fall off suddenly.  Lepers, sure, no use playing poker with lepers, they’re forever tossing their hands in.  I thought untreated diabetics went blind, then fell into comas and died.  ‘Not so’, said Klein who, being German was too polite to acknowledge irony.  Good old Klein, he is the uncle I never had.

I submitted myself to the test (which required me drawing my own blood) and scored 115 on his machine.

‘Is that good?’ I asked.

‘I’m over 200!’ said Klein.

‘OK, you win’, I replied.

‘Are you going to go to hospital?’ Marcia asked me much later that evening.

‘Nope.’ I replied without averting my gaze from the TV, ‘If I go to one of the clinics what do you think the Cuban doctor will do to my toe?’ I looked at Marcia, ‘realistically?’

Marcia didn’t say anything.

‘Temos que cortar o dedo!’ I said in a probably very poor imitation of a Cuban doctor speaking Portuguese saying, “We have to amputate your toe”.  I think Marcia’s silence said it all.  Cuban doctor’s here are famous for amputating rather than reconstructing.

‘I am very fond of my toe,’ I continued, ‘we have been friends for life.  I am emotionally, figuratively and physically attached to my toe.  Just because he is sick, I am not going to abandon him.  I will wash him, excise dead flesh and dose myself up to the eyeballs with antibiotics.’  I decided to record another stage of my developing toe:

Oh dear!  Everything swollen, surrounding flesh bright pink...


Last night was pretty uncomfortable, wild dreams, fever, sweaty, freezing wakefulness and throbbing all the way up to my knee.  My toe now looked like this:



‘Are we going to hospital?’ Marcia asked me.

‘It’s slowed down!’ I said to Marcia, ‘look! Last night it only advanced half a centimetre.’

‘Yesterday you said if it went past the joint, you would go to hospital,’ she complained, ‘well isn’t that past the joint?’

‘I think we leave it one more day, Marcia,’ I said, ‘give the antibiotics time to kick in.’

Oh come on!  They don’t let you smoke or drink in hospital.  I’d only go there in a real emergency.

 

83 comments:

  1. Tom know you are a tough old bird
    But for fucks sake
    GO TO HOSPITAL
    You need IV antibiotics
    And a full blood review

    Shakes head
    You are a mad fucker......
    X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A full review of my blood might be a trifle embarrassing...

      Delete
  2. And probably a fucking X-ray
    ( if I couple pickle your innate bodily strength and could bottle it) I would be a rich man

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Instead of leaving my body to science, I shall leave it to you. Should make for some interesting posts over on Going Gently.

      Delete
  3. YEEUCGH! Take Nurse Gray's advice and get your throbbing appendage attended to tout-suite! It is quite amazing how quickly the infection took hold. Are you sure it wasn't a snake bite? For effective ambulation that big toe is so vital. You certainly don't want to lose it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Throbbing appendage?
      How very Charles hawtrey

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    2. Can't be sure what it was YP. Rest assured I will look after the old toe.

      Delete
  4. Ah, suck it up, you'll be fine! said NO ONE with a dying toe. Seriously man, go get it sorted or else you're gonna be saying adios to your lifetime friend pretty soon. Unless it continues to progress of course, then you could lose your foot but what the heck, by that time your body will succumbing to blood poison anyway. Yes, you keep on chucking naff antibiotics down your gullet - way to go!! Let us know how that works out for you ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh. You remind me of Jeremy Clarkson. He shoots from the hip as well!

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    2. I do try lmao. Glad to hear you 'think' it's on the mend though :)

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  5. SNAKEBITE! STOP and HURRY to hospital!

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    1. Before everyone loses their heads, first we have to confirm that it was a snake bite and then complete all the necessary pre admission paperwork

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  6. I am more worried about his raised blood sugar
    Any snake that bites tom will be pissed in under 30 seconds xxx

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    Replies
    1. Is my blood sugar elevated? Klein said it was OK.

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  7. Holy cow! That looks bad. Adding you to my blogroll to keep up with how you are doing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like you blog, thanks for dropping by. With a blog title like Beach Bum, I just had to take a peek!

      Delete
  8. Visiting from John's Bosoms. I think maybe you would have died by now if you were going to.

    Uncle Crit used to keep dried snake root and chew it when he was bitten. He was bitten a lot!

    I hope the swelling goes down soon and your toe does not fall off. Happy healing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gail! Nice to see you! Well I am not dead but for future incidentes like this, I sure could use some of your Uncle's Snake Root!

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    2. Sadly Uncle Crit's been for years but not from snake bite. I cannot identify the plant.

      Delete
  9. OMG. Please seek medical attention. My foot and leg swelled up like that from bites from a wee flying beastly in a mangrove swamp. Lots of injections for that. Obviously not the toe part.

    It looks very angry and red!

    Holding thumbs for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't be bothered with medical attention! They don't call them Sawbones for nothing!

      Delete
  10. I came over from your friend's blog as Africa and hippos are interesting to me, but ay yi yi, your toe is scarey. Please find a GOOD doctor!

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    Replies
    1. And now you have discovered that my blog has absolutely nothing to do with Hippos! Thankyou very much for visiting, I am sure I will get better.

      Delete
  11. Another visitor from John's home. Urk. And urk again. You are such a stoic - perhaps past the point of sanity?

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  12. Came over from John's blog.....
    In Arizona when a Rattlesnake bites you it is off to the hospital ! The poison affect more than just where you get bitten. We have all the symptoms you said then it leads to heart failure.
    It gets hot here 118 + in the summer but when I go outside I always wear covered shoes.
    That toe looks really bad.
    I hope when you read this you are better.

    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting better, thanks! Here it is the puff adder.

      Delete
  13. I am feeling badly about my earlier comment. My Hubby looked at the picture and said you should go or you might lose the whole foot. Hubby is concerned about gangrene. If you knew it immediately kerosene is the old time treatment for a snake bite.

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    Replies
    1. I thought your earlier comment was very nice. The kerosene trick is new to me, I'll get some in!

      Delete
  14. Your boys both need a father who can walk around and watch over and guide them. Stop that macho bu##sh*t and get to those IV drugs or the consequences could be dire and I'm not talking about just a toe!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "or the consequences could be dire"

      You're going to come over here and give me a good kicking!

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    2. I'm surprised Marcia hasn't done that already !!

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  15. Sorry tom
    I needed re enforcements x

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  16. Geejusss! Get yourself to hospital asap please Tom!

    ReplyDelete
  17. YEEUCGH! Take Nurse Gray's advice and get your throbbing appendage attended to tout-suite! It is quite amazing how quickly the infection took hold. Are you sure it wasn't a snake bite? For effective ambulation that big toe is so vital. You certainly don't want to lose it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure it was a snake, could've been I suppose but I didn't see anything in the dark. It's not that bad really.

      Delete
  18. I hope that the fact that you posted this four times in a row does not mean that you keeled over onto the keyboard, but rather went running (well hopping) to the hospital and the computer had a mind of it's own.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry about that, now corrected. Perhaps feverish fingers trembling multiple times on the post button.

      Delete
  19. I speak from experience. I waited too long for a simple blister on my big toe to heal 7 years ago. It never looked as bad as yours, and they cut it off. That was here in the U.S., no Cuban doctors. I was in the hospital for 7 stinking days while they made sure the infection had been eliminated with the toe, otherwise I would have lost half my foot. Do not mess with your favorite toe. I miss mine every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blimey! In the States they cut your toe off for a blister!!!

      No way I'd go to a doctor in the States now!

      Delete
  20. Bloody hell. Now perhaps you'll take me more seriously when I suggest keeping a Mongoose! I shall be doing my famous 'Toe healing' dance for you. I presume by now you will have been to the quack.... let us know!

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    Replies
    1. Have you ever seen a goose kill a snake, Cro? I'm not being flippant now, the mongoose idea is great but I was stunned to see Goosie kill a snake. The snake struck repeatedly but only managed a mouthfull of feathers while Goosie wore the bastard down nipping at it with wings outstretched to confuse it until it was a punctured inner tube. Amazing.

      Delete
  21. I see St Francis has sent in the troops.

    Am in two minds as to how to respond. It is not easy to tread a fine line between telling someone he is an idiot and uploading a bucket full of commiserations. Of course, one could say you are already two fingers short what's a toe here or there? Give it a few more years and there will be little ashes of you left to be added to dust.

    I sincerely hope you are not dead yet,
    U

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  22. Hop foot it to hospital NOW Tom. Better that than hop footing it for the rest of your days. One leg and a swinger ain't no good for no man.

    LLX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So long as the swinger still works?

      Delete
  23. If all else fails, and amputation is called for, may I suggest the 'Service Revolver' method, and a quick jog on the beach (in salt water). You may not live, but the method has kudos!

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    1. Only a true Gentleman could offer such sensible advice.

      Delete
  24. If you are still alive to read this - GET TO A DOCTOR AND GET THAT BL**DY TOE SEEN TO - please :-)

    Another friend of your favourite medic John, dashing over to tell you off.

    At least get it checked out, big toes are pretty useful you know, you could end up losing this one, please spare all it's little friends or you could be wearing one size 10 boot and one size 6.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But I'm normally a size nine?

      Thanks for popping over, I'll be alright.

      Delete
  25. Thought I had left a message this morning. STOP Just checking back on your progress. STOP. Lots of people worried STOP. laugh though that you have enough presence of mind to blog about the ordeal to let your readers know STOP

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    Replies
    1. Thankyou Carol. Will work my way through the many gratefully received comments and then post an update!

      Delete
  26. Yup I'm over from John's too...looks bad to me Tom. Please let us read your next post from hospital.
    My daughter was bitten by a spider while working in America this summer. The two little marks on her ankle looked like a Vampire had missed his mark !
    Seriously, hope you seek medical attention quickly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So nice of you to drop by, Penny!

      No, I am not writing this from hospital. I reckon I am confident I will be able to dispense with expensive medical attention.

      Delete
  27. Another member of John's army ... please get to hospital ... now!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The4re are no táxis this time of the night, I have nothing to wear, my suit is still in the cleaners, my boots don't fit anymore...

      Enough excuses?

      Delete
  28. I know who the real hero is in this story - Marcia. Good god shes got the patience of a saint....though it was nice that you did clean up her new floor...shes just going to have to wait until your in a coma to take you in, isnt she...Meanwhile you did make me laugh out loud at the leper card joke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Feminist!

      Glad you liked the joke. It was adapted from the joke; Two lepers playing cards, one threw his hand in, the other laughed his head off.

      I'm amazed you like these sick jokes. I have more...

      Delete
    2. youre amazed? you forgot - i do follow your blog...LOL

      I know what you mean about the rural medical community - here in montana im better off at home googling what ails me versus going to the local clinic 45 miles away where they dont have a doctor on staff, but they do have a nurse who also works at the local bank. Id take my chances too, if they are chop happy...

      and marcia is still a saint. ;p

      Delete
  29. Hey tom I think from your writings you were like me never bothered with hospitals until it was too late, mate seriously get your backside in there, take it from me after everything I went through with my kidneys & blood clots you are not doing yourself any favours, what's worse being without a cigarette for a few hours or being without a big toe for the rest of your live, I know what I would choose!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ye you said you can't smoke or drink at the hospital......you sure it's your toe that's got something wrong with it.....lol

      Delete
  30. Bloody hell. You still didn't say what caused it for sure, but that toe aint gonna heal with a wing and a prayer. You need to head pronto to a hospital. Amputation or no, you're heading for septicaemia, if you try to deal with it yourself. Sod the fags and booze for 24 hours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, My dear Addy, stop fussing! It's only a sore toe and, I have a spare!

      I have no idea what caused it. All I felt was a nip in the night.

      Delete
  31. Oh man...that's gross. It looks bad to my totally untrained medical eye. Hospital pronto seems like the only way to go. Hope they sort it out quickly for your sake....don't wait, looks like that's not going to fix itself

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    Replies
    1. You wanna bet? Normally they swab wounds with alcohol on the outside, I'm swabbing it from the inside....

      Delete
  32. Holy sh*t dude....you need to go to the hospital!!!! I'm sitting here cringing as I look at those pictures! Aren't you afraid of blood poisoning? And losing a toe?

    I admire your manliness, but you really should do something. What does your wife say? I'd give my husband such a hard time going to the hospital would be preferable to listening to me!

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    Replies
    1. The only thing that will cure this is loads of antibiotics. I can scoff those at home!

      Delete
  33. I hope you foot is getting better!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Well..........? An update picture would perhaps be in order to be added someday to some obscure medical journal. It's clear now that medical help was not procured. Perhaps wisely. I'm assuming that it is getting better and or has fallen off by now. The peg leg will be a nice addition and conversation piece. It could be hollow, which has interesting possibilities for storage of antibiotics, in case the other side incurs the same problem in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If my peg leg was hollow it would have a whiskt dispener fitted!

      Delete
  35. IF YOU ARE STILL UPRIGHT AND STILL HAVE ALL YOUR TOES AND GET THROUGH THIS..............then I want you in my lifeboat when the time comes.........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does your life boat have a well stocked drinks cabinet?

      Delete
  36. Sh****t ....you now that its a snake bite?!
    right? And ,like jenny said it can cause blood poisoning...
    GET YOUR F***NG A** UP AND GO TO THE HOSPITAL...
    luv u

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really, Son? I thought it was just a blister caused by my boots!

      You know how I feel about hospitals. Ask your mother how many times I did a runner from the Sagrada Esperanca when I woke up and found myself there!

      Delete
    2. Hi Dominic, I hope all is going well over there. Looks like your dad has go himself in another fine mess.

      Delete
  37. I've just been catching up on your blog as I tried to read this the otehr morning over breakfast then thought better of it when I saw the picture. I think a fine toothed tennon saw would probably be best to take him off with, and there's me moaningt o my wife about an ingrown toe nail!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I did a Google Image search on sore toe --- you blew them away. Then I did a search on swollen toe -- similar outcome. Then I did a search on septic toe - now you have some stiff competition. Try not to stub it.

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  39. I'm so glad I didn't read this before your more recent post that hints that you may have been able to keep your toe. I can think of some pretty choice phrases for Marcia to use (in Spanish with a Cuban-Portuguese accent if you want).

    I have swollen glands and have been to the doctor twice.

    ReplyDelete
  40. i was googling something else entirely (cat nails) and your article came up in my results and the picture caught my attention so I came to your website to see what it was about. i note the date of the incident was over 2 years ago - so what happened? do you still have your toe? was it a snake bite? did you seek out and receive medical attention? you built the story up, but left it with no ending!!!!!

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to comment, good or bad. I will allow anything that isn't truly offensive to any other commentator. Me? You can slag me without mercy but try and be witty while you are about it.