Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Toe

"Go and spend ten minutes with this lady" says the doctor, "tell me what the deal is."

Neither of us have seen her before - she only came into hospital yesterday. I pick up some blank paper and stride in, ready for anything.

She is propped up in bed, a frame keeping the sheets away from her feet. Cellulitis, maybe?

I ask what she's in for, and she draws back the sheets to show me her right foot. Or rather, the fourth toe on her right foot. Or rather ... I think it used to be a toe.

It is black, it is shrivelled, and it smells terrible. There is pus oozing from its base, and it looks as if it's hanging on by a thread - one good twist and the toe would be gone. Her foot is red and hypersensitive - she gasps and draws back as I touch her other toes. The infection is spreading, but I take heart in the fact that the pulse is strong.

She doesn't want to lose her toe. I hope she keeps her foot.


Pink Stethoscopes said...

I saw Our Lady of the Toe today. She is quite pleased with the results from her amputation and the wound bed looks really good, for a wound bed.

pAnDaR~ said...

how did you convince her to get rid of the toe? took me 6 months and lots of reverse psychology for a lady to remove her leg or she had die.

Pink Stethoscopes said...

I'm at a fairly small hospital, so we sent her interstate to see the surgeon who'd operated originally (she had something wrong with the vasculature to begin with).

And being a surgeon I'm sure he just said "we have to cut that off, see you in theatre".

There was really no option with that toe - it was literally rotten. Worst smell ever.

pAnDaR~ said...

Ouch. Well, where I was it was nursing home, therefore she had the choice of running away if we so much as come near her with a gurney to haul her to the hospital to amputate it. resident's rights!

she did, however, also had the right to die with that leg if she so wish.

poor lady of the toe, it's good that it's gone though, she's still got her feet!