Thursday, October 27, 2005
something's a foot
I have weird feet. No, don’t go all “No, surely not!” on me, I do. I was born with six toes on one foot and five on the other. So was Marilyn Monroe by the way, only she had an extra pinkie toe on her left foot, and I had an extra big toe on my right. For real. Bone, joint, nail and all - An extra toe. I also had little extra pinkie fingers, but not as complete and cool as the extra toe. In fact, the doctor cut those “fingers” off using a bit of thin wire pulled around them when I was about five minutes old. I’m guessing I cried about it, but it was no big deal. My extra toe was another matter…
Since my right foot’s left big toe stuck out at a 90º angle I couldn’t wear shoes until it was removed. This happened in March of 1980 when I was one year and a half old. In the same ward as me in the hospital there was a four-year-old boy with six fully functional fingers on each hand. His parents apparently discussed the possibility to let him keep them. My guess is that he unfortunately wasn’t interested in playing the piano, or we would have heard of him by now.
Anyway, they took my toe away, not knowing which one was really the extra one, the inner or outer big toe. As it turns out it was probably the inner one, the one I kept, because it stopped growing and curled up when I was about ten years old. This resulted in a second operation on my feet when I was sixteen. The story of me influenced by the anaesthesia is worthy of its own blog entry if I ever write it down. Let’s just say I respond to calming blue pills with giggle fits and I slapped a doctor.
During this procedure they brought out the bone saw and made my toe single jointed, putting a screw through it to straighten it out. Ten years later I got to see an X-ray of my foot today, and they weren’t kidding about that screw! It looks as if I had an accident in a carpenter’s workshop.
When I woke up after the operation the doctor came to see me and announced happily that they had successfully carved and sawed in my foot. Dizzy from the drugs and the pain in my plastered foot, this was not the choice of words I wished to hear. This sixteen-year-old girl cried her eyes out over her carved and sawed toe, until my boyfriend at that time came to sit by my bed until I could hop home on crutches two hours later. He asked me if I was thirsty and poured me some lemonade. I answered him no, and then drank about a litre and a half. I’m afraid of anaesthesia now.
When all this was done my left foot started to feel jealous of all the attention my right foot had gotten, so it started to act up. Apparently the disfiguration that gave me my extra toe existed in the left foot too. It just hadn’t developed. This meant my left big toe, which by the way was much bigger than my straightened right one, started to bully the other toes. It turned on them and pushed them to lie on top of each other, and formed a big bump on the side of the foot. It looked similar to a foot on a lady who has worn pointy shoes all her life. I haven’t even owned a pair of pointy shoes.
All the same I got a third operation, this time on my left foot, at the age of twenty-two. They took out a bit of bone and cut a string to straighten my big toe. No screw this time, but six painful weeks on crutches. And they also helped me develop my fear of painkilling drugs, even though I wasn’t asleep this time. The anaesthesia didn’t take the first time, so after they had drained my foot of blood and started cutting in my toe, I suddenly felt the knife inside my foot! The pain! I howled. And then they added some more painkillers through a needle into my dry veins. The bruising was… ugly afterwards.
And why am I telling you this depressing feet’s tale? Well, history repeats itself and it’s soon time for my fourth and fifth procedure on my feet. It’s the right one’s turn again. A few years ago, after my trip to Italy, my feet started to turn purple around the ankle. Well… not bright purple like a lilac version of the Hulk, but spotted purple, like a big bruise. And it hurt. After having limped now and then waiting to see the orthopaedist for about a year and a half I finally got to see him today. Diagnoses: Nerves pinched in the heel and something disturbing the joint making it lock and click, and eventually unlock and click every now and then which is really painful.
So, I’m waiting again. I am to be contacted in about three months to get a date for the nerve thing. They’re just going to “clean up” around the nerves and unhinge them from whatever they’re pinched against. Then I have to wait again to eventually do something about the locking joint. The bruising that makes the feet lilac is still there, but nothing can be done until my feet are well again, and then it’s only removable using the same laser treatment you use to get rid of tattoos.
My mother was born with webbed toes and I have all this… If I ever have kids, they’ll probably be born with three arms each or something.