I’m writing this as fast as I can BEFORE the pain-killing lidocaine numbing effect on my left foot wears off!!!! Sometimes I like to give you the climax of the story right up front…to get your attention kind of like baiting the hook.
And of course there’s more to the story.
This day actually started last night when I called Chiara’s neighbor, Christina to confirm what time she was going to pick up Finley to go to gymnastics camp. OHhhhh didn’t I mention that I was in Florida? Well, if you’ve been following this blog, you know that no trip to Florida goes unscathed, so to speak. So…back to the phone call. Before Ms Organization left for a mini-vacation on a friend’s 4 bedroom yacht in Barbados (oh yes she lives well), Chiara wrote out the kids daily schedule. The calendar said, camp was from 9am-12pm, and if I wanted she could stay for the afternoon session, 2pm-3pm. Christina said camp began at 8:30am and Matte was driving. So then I called Matte to ask her at what time should I have Finley ready. Matte said 8:45am and she would bring Finley back at 12:30.
I was picking up stray puzzle pieces and random markers in the kitchen when all of sudden I felt this stab in my foot. Damn, I had stepped on something. It felt sharp but then almost anything you step on feels sharper and larger than what it turn out to be. I tried to look at my foot but a)they were dirty from walking barefoot all day inside and out, and I didn’t have my glasses on. Peering closer, I could discern as spot and what looked like a tiny piece of skin. I thought it was like one of those cuts you can sometime get on the sole of your foot where the part that hurts is the little flap of tissue so I yanked it off. Now my foot hurt because it had a little tiny opening in it, so I put some neosporin on it and a Dora the Explorer band-aid. Two hours later it still really hurt when I walked on it.
When we got into bed, I told Peter about the incident (he had been out at the time) and said the damn thing hurt much more than it should given what I thought it was. He looked closely (and yes I did wash my feet before getting into bed) and said, “You have a piece of glass in your foot”. Forty-five minutes later I called off Peter’s intense mission to remove the sliver. He denies it, but part of him was loving the task of trying to figure out how to extricate the shard. Tomorrow is another day, maybe in the morning it will be easier. Oh WRONGGG!
It hurt a lot going down the stairs and I was hobbling in the kitchen trying to get Finley fed, Francesca fed and Finny out the door. I asked Peter to get me a ponytail rubber band for Finley’s hair -it was upstairs in the top drawer in the kids bathroom. He returned with a length of orange ribbon. Muttering several four letter words and poly-syllabic names at him, I went upstairs, opened the drawer, saw two little sating top boxes, opened one, took out the colored band and limped down the stairs, cursing all the way.
After Finley left for camp, Peter thought we should try again to get the glass out of my foot and to do so we should be in the bright sunshine. Francesca, Pete and I went in the backyard and sat down. During the night, a brainstorm came to him, he would use a razor to slice the skin and sort of release the sliver so it could be easily pulled out. I wasn’t exactly enamored with this idea and for the last half hour kept saying that I was going to go to a Walk-in Docs and see if they could do it. Well I let him make several attempts to grab the piece but I know that tweezers cant’t really hold the grasp on a piece of glass. After a couple of OMG’s and Owwwwwws, I knew this wasn’t going to work at all and went in the house where I immediately opened up my computer and went online to find a Walk-In Urgent Care facility. I called, checked if they took Medicare (who am I kidding, this IS Florida) and said I would be in shortly.
Leaving the house with Frankie requires several things; she has to get dressed, she has to wear shoes, we have to pick out at least 3 books and we have to pack a snack to take along. We are headed to Dr.G’s Urgent Care; Peter is convinced we will spend hours there waiting to be taken I’m convinced I’ll be in and out because after all it is only a sliver. Turns out we were both right.
After filling out 5 pages of forms and signing my name at least 7 times and giving them my Medicare card and my Master card, because apparently this is a pay first before you get treatment place. I thought that was a little strange, I mean after all, even doctors in New York City don’t make you pay before they treat you. But then again, this IS Florida and just maybe do you think they’re afraid the patient might expire before the bill was paid if it was sent in the mail?
In I go to Room #4 where soon a person comes in to ask me what medications I take – the fact that he asked me how to spell two of them was a little disconcerting. Then he takes my blood pressure, my temperature and my pulse rate AND then he says I need to have an X-Ray. “An X-Ray”!?, I say, “I have a sliver, I can see it on my foot”. With that he walks out. I sit and wait (we have been here at least 45 minutes). In walks a woman (not quite dressed like a doctor). She asks me some redundant questions and announces I MUST have an X-Ray pre and post because there is a foreign body in my body, and she leaves. I sit and wait. Along comes Ben who brings me a wheelchair and takes me to X-Ray. Three pictures of my foot and I am back in Room #4. Ben returns with a basin filled with brown liquid which I believe to be part Benzocaine, because I need to soak my foot and soften it up. Then he realizes that Room #4 is too small so back into the wheelchair and he deposits me in Room #2 and I soak my foot.
Tracey (the non-doctor, she is a PA) arrives shortly thereafter and wants to know how did I get the glass in my foot, how long has it been in and she’s seen the X-Ray and the sliver is really in there!!!! I tell her how my husband wanted to try to slice open my foot and release the sliver and I shudder – She says, “How do you think I’m going to do it? I have a scalpel”. After swallowing hard, I say, “But at least you’re going to make sure it doesn’t hurt”. And then Tracey, aka Nurse Rachet, produces a hypodermic syringe and says,”You’ll feel a little pinch” and proceeds to stab my foot. I SCREAMED! Yes, I SCREAMED,” OWWWWwwww, oh my God”! Tears sprang to my eyes and I jerked my foot away. This totally annoyed Tracey who asked me if I wanted her to slice open my foot without anesthetic? I hesitated because there was no way I could imagine allowing her to jab me again and push in some burning liquid which I think was pure lidocaine. She sat, needle in hand, awaiting my answer. I said OK but and before I got any other words out the needle was in but this time it was only a pinch. My interruption of the procedure had allowed some numbing take place so the second jab was only a pinch. Thank God!!!
She has an array of tools beside her; scalpel, several tweezer and other pointy things. She asks me if I feel that and I say no. The next thing I know she is yelling for Brian to come in and bring her an Eppi - an Eppi? That sounds familiar, thank you Grey’s Anatomy. She can’t believe how much blood is coming out of my foot and wants to know if I’m on blood thinners or aspirin. NO, I’m not. She can’t see the glass because of the blood and the Eppi will stop it and sure enough it does. More probing and finally a tiny piece of glass comes out. Time for a post X-Ray. She bandages my foot and I’m back in the wheelchair with Ben and off for two more pictures.
BAD NEWS! Tracey says there is still a good size piece in my foot. She asks for another lidocaine/eppi syringe. Brian questions the combination but she says she thinks it works better that way. I am sitting in this chair worrying about the time because by now it is 12:30 and Finley was going to be dropped off at home. Luckily with some measure of aforethought, I called Christina (because Matte didn’t pick up her phone) earlier and asked her if she could get a hold of Matte and ask her to keep Finley if I wasn’t back from the clinic. By now, Tracey is calling for help to hold open the incision (OMG!) so she can see better into the tunnel where she believes the rest of the glass is. Now she’s asking for saline and a syringe because she thinks she can flush it out. After a while and she is convinced she got another piece, she calls for Ben to take another set of X-Rays of the foot to make sure she got it all. Back in the chair and same old, same old all over again. It’s now after 1pm and I’m very concerned about both Finny who is with Matte who might have had plans for her own family and Francesca who has been out in the waiting room for over an hour. I ask one of the nurses to go ask my husband for my cell phone and glasses. What comes back to me is my cell phone and my sun glasses! OY VEY. I thought I might have Matte’s telephone number on my cell but I don’t so I did what I had to do and called Chiara in Barbados on the 4 BR yacht – did I mention she lives well? I explain to her where I am and why and she should call Matte and hope Finley can stay there till I return. Things are getting worse…
I’ve been wheeled back to Room #2 to await the development of the X-Rays number 6 and 7. I can hear them talking in the hallway and as I hear Tracey say to Ben, “How can that be? Well at least it’s less than it was”. My heart sank, I knew what was coming. Sure enough, she’s back and giving me a song and dance about how she was sure she got another piece out, BUT the X-Ray showed that there was still a piece in my foot. Oh dear Lord…
At this point since she is now saying what she really needs is yet another pair of hands to hold open the incision and she is going in again, I ask her if the numbing is still in effect and just to make sure, she calls for another lidocaine/eppi cocktail. Now there is serious flushing going on and another person with tweezers says she doesn’t feel anything (and thank God I’m not feeling anything either). Perhaps the tiny piece is in the third bloody basin. Encouragingly, Tracey announces that it looks like someone committed Hari-Cari in here! Geez did that ever make me feel good!!!! She calls for another set of X-Rays. Ben and I make our trip to the X-Ray room again where I put my foot on the table for numbers 8 and 9. Really I will probably glow in the dark tonight. It’s pushing 3:00 and now that I have my phone I call Peter in the waiting room and suggest he take Frankie to MacDonald’s. He’s resistant and I’m not sure why he is suggesting home but after about a minute of back and forth I give my usual blessing which goes like this: “Do whatever the f__k you want to do” and hang up.
I sit in Room #2 and wait and wait but I have lost all hope of ever leaving this place alive or at least in one piece. Again I hear voices in the hallway and what I’m hearing only confirms that things are getting worse. Tracey returns with a cadre of helpers and with the determination of General Custer decides to make another charge at the foot. Although she’s convinced she actually got a piece and it is floating in the kidney-shaped basin, her two cohorts feel otherwise. I thought it a good idea to remind her that glass doesn’t float and when one of them said that what she saw was tissue, I began to think about making out a will.
Nothing convinces Tracey like an X-Ray so she tells Ben to take another just to confirm that she got the piece. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Meantime Chiara calls me while I’m in the torture chamber and tells me not to worry about Finley, she’s fine and can stay as long as it takes. X-Ray number 10 is taken, this time only one because Ben the technician has decided to defy the boss because he thinks I’ve probably had enough radiation for one day, ya think???
Number 10 like all the other preceding it confirmed that STILL the sliver of glass remained intact and inside. Tracey came in and threw up her hands and said,”I’m done”. Mmmmmm here I am with an open bleeding incision, a piece of glass in my heel still, a 4 yr old in the care of others, a 2yr old and a husband wandering around Boynton Beach looking for a MacDonald’s and it’s after 3pm and SHE’s giving up??!!! They left the room and left me sitting there wondering if someone would come back to bandage up my foot so I could…what? leave?
And then, she came back. Tracey had decided to call in the big guns to do battle with the glass sliver. She informed me that the “Doctor” was on the way, be here in 5 minutes. Of course the 5 minutes was actually about 15 minutes before the “doctor” walked in. She was given a briefing on the various procedures that failed to remove the splinter, she looked at the X-Rays and turned to Tracey and said, “You never cut deep enough”. OMG not deep enough? She smiled at me and said I’m going to numb your foot and see what I can see. Oh and she also handed me the big lie, “you’ll feel a pinch”. Of course I felt nothing because my foot had already been shot up a few times. She noticed that I didn’t scream or anything and since she knew the “pinch” was a BIG lie, she asked me if I felt the needle and I smiled and said “No” and added words to the effect that had this foot not been numb I would have been hitting my head on the ceiling about now. Tracey concurred that the original “pinch” had produced a howling OWwww.
Doctor orders her instruments of torture, a syringe, saline, tweezers, and mercifully no scalpel because she did think perhaps the cutting was deep enough after all. She squeezed enough saline in that hole in my foot that I began to wonder where does that all go? Some comes out of course and blood-red but…….? Doctor made an executive decision and said that the sliver was too small to feel in there so best solution would be to see a podiatrist who could use a fluoroscope to see where he should probe while he was actually probing. Of course I was NEVER again going to allow a syringe of lidocaine to be jabbed into my foot, but they didn’t know that. I said I was going home on Monday and had my own podiatrist. BUT just to make sure the sliver really was still there, I should have another X-Ray! Can you believe this? Even Ben was getting anxious about the number of X-Rays he had administered to me that day. When I was in the room with him (and by the way I’m still wheelchair bound) he told me to wait and he would develop it right away and I could see for myself – and sure enough there it was, lodged into my heel and holding on for dear life.
Doctor said to give me the first and last X-Rays to take and strongly insisted that I take antibiotics and anti-inflammatory/pain killers. OK I agreed, anything to get out of there as it was now 4pm! And it’s possible that the body will reject the foreign body in due time, I was told. Umm I wonder what due time really means? I made some remark about the 4+ hours I had been there and Doctor, who turned out to be Dr. G’s daughter was clearly disturbed and annoyed. She had already chastised Tracey for using too much of the special tape, for wasting a needle, and she told Brian he had wasted a syringe by opening it up to contamination before giving it to her and also said something about the number of basins that had been used! Clearly business and not medicine was the first priority here.
By the time I got the prescriptions – You HAD to know that Dr. G also ran a pharmacy? You’re not surprised, are you? I wasn’t but oh well the prices didn’t seem to out of line but what do I know, I’m hobbling again and have an Ace bandage wrapped around my foot and a piece of glass in my heel. I was so shaken at this point that as soon as I got in the car, I started to cry and don’t you know within 30 seconds Chiara called (from the yacht in Barbados in case you forgot). She already knew about the glass but didn’t know why I was crying! Really?? Seriously??
Now while all this was happening to me, Francesca and Papa Pete spent 4 hours of quality time together! She never cried, she was happy to have him all to herself and she amused herself to no end.
This was one strange day and NOT so Good Friday!
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
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