It's true, I was in the hospital for the past three days. Here's the rough progression.
Sunday, middle of the night - My big toe (left foot) starts hurting. I don't think much about it at the time. It's a mite annoying, but I work through it. Figure I might've bruised it or something without realizing it.
Monday, daytime - Toe keeps hurting. Nothing strenuous is going on, so I don't think much of it. I'm already nursing the final stages of a cold and I feel like crap anyway, so I just chalk up the toe pain up to general crappy-feeling.
Monday, evening - Maggie's school is having a parents meeting. I reluctantly put on shoes and attend the meeting. I'm clearly not in the best of health. In addition to walking with a pronounced limp because of the toe, I've got the sweats from the cold. When I get home, I take off my shoe, and the toe's swollen and turning purple. We elevate my foot and put on some ice.
Tuesday, 4:00 AM - Toe is now the size of a golf ball and is turning blue and black. Veins radiating away from my toe are turning bright red and are visible almost to my ankle. The pain is incredible -- feels like my toe's being crushed in a vise.
So we head down to the emergency room. After seeing the toe, I'm admitted immediately. I get lots of questions, most of 'em "why did you wait so friggin' long to come here". When I explain that it took about 24 hours for the situation to go from "dull pain" to "yikes, it looks like your foot's about to drop off", they take things more seriously. I'm taken upstairs, I'm given a syringe of something that makes the world get all fuzzy and melty, and I'm hooked up to a IV bottle of somesuch antibiotic. . .
Which Shelly looked up later on the internet to find that it's the strongest stuff out there and is generally reserved for advanced stages of jungle-rot and/or bites from Sumatran Rat-Monkeys
After swelling calms down a mite, the podiatrist shows up. She looks things over, declares that I had AT LEAST one kind of infection living under my toenail for quite some time that decided to evolve itself into some kind of uber-bacteria before deciding to take over the rest of my body. She declares that the toenail will have to go. Immediately.
Getting your big toenail removed is every bit as pleasant as you can imagine. It starts out with six shots of Novocaine, all around the base of your toe. Which in itself is as much fun as it sounds. Not a lot of fatty tissue in a toe like. . .for example. . .your forearm, so sticking a needle in it is a bunch of pain. Six times.
After that, the toe itself is feeling no pain, so removing the toenail itself isn't much different from removing a nail from a board using a pair of pliers. Almost exactly the same actually. I can't actually feel the nail coming off (and I sure as heck ain't watching) but I can feel my foot getting wrenched back and forth like I'm getting something removed that's not wanting to be removed.
Not painful, but it ranks a ten on the ooky-factor.
Interestingly, after the nail's removed, all is getting right with the world. It's wrapped up in about 20 layers of bandages and all the maleficent vitreous humors (to use modern medical speak) are draining off. I'm up to about four quart-sized IV-bottles of "flesh eating bacteria-B-gone" in my body. Apart from the lack of a toenail, the foot is starting to look more and more like the mirror-image control foot that I have attached to my other leg. It looks like everything's gonna be just ducky.
But no, I've gotta stay in the hospital one more day. Turns out I might have gotten MRSA, which is some kind of new uber-bacteria that doesn't talk to regular antibiotic pills and requires loads more of the IV stuff I've been getting.
If you recall about a year ago, there was a tabloid story of a woman who got a pedicure somewhere. Then her toe started hurting shortly after. She went to the doc and got some antibiotic pills, then she dropped dead of a heart-attack two days later. Turns out that's what she had, and she didn't live all that far away from here, and they wanted to make sure that it wasn't what I had. Since it was capable of eating most of WHOLE FREAKIN' FOOT in two days, they weren't taking chances.
So I get three days in the hospital and about six bottles of high-powered antibiotic in my blood to wipe out the foot-eatin' bacteria. This AM the doc pronounces me healed, and I head back home for a much-needed shower.
Shelly and I now reflect back in amusement that I spent one more day in the hospital for a toe than Shelly spent in the hospital for a baby.
Interestingly, the doc said that it was probably good that I didn't go to a doc on day one and get some pills. As gnasty as the infection was, the pills probably wouldn't have killed it off. Probably would've just delayed the action a bit and caused me to come into the hospital a week later, only with an even worse infection due to the antibiotic pills naturally selecting out the weaker members of the colony and leaving me with an even stronger strain with which to deal.
So put that in your collective pipes and smoke it, you evolution-denying Kansans. You want proof that we're descended from unter-primates? I had all the proof UNDER MY FREAKIN' TOENAIL!
So I'm back among the living and my foot no longer hungers for human flesh. Another day, though, and I would've had to go Evil Dead on the thing.