Monday, March 21, 2011

Toes and Mondays

Mondays are never the best. I was going to say that Mondays are the worst, but that isn't really true- I never mind going to work and for whatever reason Wednesdays and Thursdays often end up being the roughest days for me. But still, Mondays are perhaps not my favorite. And the Monday after a week long, totally unplugged vacation is really not my favorite. It took me nearly five hours to get through my emails and get back on top of a doc review I'm supposed to be managing (10 contract attorneys produces a lot of email traffic) and to shake my head clear from all the time off. It really felt like I was coming back from a mini maternity leave again.

So work was a little crazy, but I had prepared by dressing in a cheerful spring ensemble of white tailored pants, a bright peachy sleeveless shirt (the same one I'm wearing here), gold open toe sandals, and turquoise and gold dangley earrings. I was flagrantly violating dress code with the sleevelessness and the summer sandals, but it made me happy.

It was also necessary. Or at least the offending shoes were, I have no excuse for the shirt other than I like it and didn't feel like wearing a jacket. You see I seriously messed up my toes skiing. I didn't mention it because I was already sick of my whining by the time I wrote the last post about our trip, but damn, my toes REALLY hurt-- enough to keep me from falling asleep at night. It started on Tuesday night with a dull ache. Then on Wednesday my toes were killing me but it was our last day of skiing and nothing was standing in my way, even though that night they felt like they were pulsing with their own little heartbeats and I was limping when I walked. Thursday, our travel day, my toes hurt so badly that I actually sat down while waiting for our luggage because I couldn't handle the pressure of being on my feet. I felt like a wimp. I was determined to suck it up and get over it because seriously, who is sidelined by toe pain? But it just kept getting worse. On Saturday the pressure was so great that after whining to JP for the millionth time that "my tooooeeesss huuurrrtttt" he finally looked at them and said, "hmmm, looks like there's a bruise at the bottom of the nail down there." For whatever reason, that had escaped my notice, so I very quickly and very gently took off my toe nail polish only to find an entirely black, bruised-all-to-hell big toe nail on both feet. Oh. So that's why they were throbbing in pain and I couldn't walk by the end of the day and I visibly flinched any time one of my children came within 2 feet of my feet.

Yesterday I was still pretty sure that ibuprofen and time would fix it, but after yet another night of lying in bed feeling my pulse under each big toe nail, I decided a doctor might be needed. So, even though today was crazy and I was tired, I dragged myself to the urgent care clinic near our house at 6:30, after a brief stop at home to hug the Biscuit and change out of my white pants in fear that treatment might get messy. I wrote "toe pain" on the intake sheet because how else do you describe a toe with its own heartbeat of pain? In triage, when the nurse asked for a few more details, I just pointed to them, figuring they were self explanatory. He stared at my toes, looked back up at me, then looked back at my toes that I was still pointing to, and finally said, "oh, you mean that isn't nail polish?!".

The doctor came in a few minutes later and pronounced my subungual hematoma a "most unusual presentation." He then quite cheerfully informed me that he'd drill into my toenail so I could drain out some of the blood to relieve the pressure, but I'd probably still lose both nails and they take about 10 months to a year to grow back. Awesome, just in time for spring/summer open toed shoe season.

Yes, the first thing I thought about was all the shoes I wouldn't be able to wear, the drilling into my toe nail came second. I laid back on the exam table, hoping some sort of numbing was going to be involved, but it wasn't a big deal. I could smell burning toe nail (not a good smell) and then feel a small prick and then it was over. For the next 45 minutes I got to squeeze blood out of my toe bed to relieve pressure. That was exactly as gross as it sounds. When I got home an hour later, I poured a very large glass of wine and sat on my couch with gauze pads stuck up on my big toes, typing and giggling at my computer (facebook chat with my sister; I'd share it, but I don't think it's nearly as funny to anyone else as we found it to be; it involved knitted hats for my toes and the irony of her toe nail polish being named "decay"). JP was tutoring one of his swimmers in Algebra II at our kitchen table and I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm crazy. I wanted to reassure her that I was a gainfully employed attorney by day, but then I wasn't sure that would make it better. Instead, I opened a large bag of dark chocolate m&m's and munched away.

So that was my Monday. My toes still ache, but they don't pulse with quite the same intensity as they did yesterday. Progress, I suppose. They do look like they were shot with a very tiny gun with even tinier bullets. I have to wear flat, open toed shoes to work for the next week, so at least my co-workers will get the benefit of seeing some super cute illegal sandals that they've never seen before. Of course they'll also have to see two dark purple toe nails with holes in the middle. I wonder if my cutely fashionable reputation can withstand that? I suppose not, but my red wine and dark chocolate m&m intake has reached a level where I have ceased to care. Bring it on Tuesday and Toes!


  1. Ughhh I felt a little sick reading this! I'm sorry about your toes, and hopefully the nail grows back faster than 10 months. When I lost one, it *only* took seven. It will still be warm in Texas then. :)

  2. I know, it's gross, I should probably have some sort of warning at the top. And seven months? I suppose that's some hope, but still, ewww and booo.

  3. Oh okay, let's just add this to my list of reasons why I have zero interest in skiing. (And I totally would have been thinking about shoes first and impending toe pain second, too.)

  4. Oh no! You took that news (and the drilling) so much better than I would have. The thought of nailless toeas creeps me out! This reminds me of our firm's infamous "toenail" case. A case seriously about a toenail injury. It is currently up on appeal andand its pretty humorous. Hope the m&ms take your summer shoe sadness away!

  5. Ouch! I had one of those in October, only I dropped my scale on my toe instead of having fun skiing. I didn't lose the nail and the black nasty part is *almost* gone. Hopefully by the time the snow finally melts in upstate NY and sandal season rolls around I'll be good to go!

  6. My first thought when you said that you would probably lose the nails was, "No! It's open-toed shoes, sandals, and flip-flops time!!" That just sucks. I totally understand worrying about that before the drilling. Drilling only lasts a few minutes. This is a whole footwear season GONE!

    On a less superficial note - how will your toes be protected? What if one of the kids rolls over your nailess toe in a trike?

  7. This post makes me very relieved that I hate skiing with a passion. That toe sound so painful. I actually lost a toenail when I was 4. I dropped a chair on my toe when I was in pre-school. I can't remember how long it took for the toenail to grow back in, but I do remember the whole experience to be very painful.

    Happily there are some cute sling backs out there, although they aren't quite as cute as open toed shoes. Also, your beautiful Kate Spade shoes are closed toed and perfect for summer!

  8. Ouch! Sounds painful...but I'm glad to hear you have a sense of humor about it! And I love the "medicine" you prescribed for yourself - wine and dark chocolate M&Ms!

  9. Hey LL! I am a former classmate of yours and longtime reader but first-time commenter!

    This happened to me last year, and I was soooo disappointed about the sandal dilemma you described. You might not believe this, but Express French press-on nails by Kiss (about 6 bucks at Walgreens) SAVED ME! Not only did the press-on nails mask the lost nail while it grew back, but I have never gotten so many compliments on my toes before! Lol. I think I will start using them again soon as the weather warms up.

    Just be sure to use the Express kind (no glue applicator required), vs. the kind where you have to apply my experience, the latter were almost impossible to remove.

    Good luck;)

  10. Youch! Doesn't it feel better after they drill your nail? That happened to my finger and it was SO much better I could have cried. Sorry about the toes, but yay sandals, right?

  11. LL-- I'm a big fan of your blog. Not sure why the toe nail post made me feel compelled to comment...

    Anyway, I lost my both of my big toe nails twice-- once after a lacrosse game and then again after my first marathon. I was amazed, but it really did take every bit of 10 months for them to grow back. I just kind of spent my summer with funky no-nail toes, but press-ons seem like a great idea!

  12. OMG. GROSS. hahaha.
    Can I say that I speak for everyone when I thank you for not posting a picture of your toes?
    Although I totally would have if they were my toes and my blog, because I'm gross like that.

  13. So happy you wrote about this! I just ran my first half marathon 9 days ago, and the heartbeat in my fourth toe just stopped yesterday. I knew a doctor would want to drain it, and I just couldn't face that. I'm sure I'll lose a few nails just in time for summer, too. (I had what you describe under 4, but only 1 seriously hurt..) We can be toenail-less together. Boo.

  14. Thanks for the support everyone, it may be an emotionally difficult first few months of summer show season. I gave my new tan wedges a little pat today, just to let them know they shouldn't feel bad because I won't be wearing them anytime soon.

    And Legally Fab- I do have a picture, but I thought I'd save everyone's stomachs by not posting it. My parents were not so lucky; I sent it to them immediately. Aren't they lucky we're so close?