It’s nothing, really. Just chop it off all ready – I have nine more.

A funny thing happened to me on Tuesday night. Wait. Painful. I mean painful.

My weapon of choice for the evening was a nice wooden breadboard with a sharp triangular edge (i.e. a trapezioid cross-section), which I managed to drop vertically onto my right foot from the worktop (about three feet?) at about 9:30, causing much gnashing and wailing of teeth.

Only when I took my sock off did I realise that it wasn’t just bloody painful, it was also just bloody bloody. Yuck indeed: split nail, split skin, lots of the red stuff, etc. Basically the sharp edge of the breadboard had thundered into my big toe right at the base of the nail, where it could do the maximum damage.

I don’t immediately fall into a swoon at the sight of my own blood, but it was a bit distressing and, as I said, bloody painful, so I sat on the floor and concentrated on Keeping My Shit Together. Fortunately there was a nice young lady on hand to ply me with ice and sugared water, and then drive me to casualty, where we had a nice wait for three and a half hours before the very amiable doctor Laura called my name. She and the nurse generally agreed with my diagnosis of “ooh, that looks nasty”, but displayed their greater medical expertise by not merely looking on, nodding, and chewing their lips thoughtfully, but also suggesting that a) I should get it x-rayed in case it was broken, and b) they should pierce the nail with a needle to let the blood out from underneath.

a) was sensible but annoying because the particular hospital we’d gone do doesn’t have radiology, so this would mean a trip to the one on the other side of town tomorrow, and more waiting around. On the other hand, at least that wouldn’t be late-night waiting around, so hey, small mercies.

b) was exciting and worrying – sounded painful. Off they went in search of the apparently elusive needle necessary for this trick, and when they came back I was suprised to see an implement that looked to my untrained medical eye less like a needle and more like an electric toothbrush. By that I mean it was a hand-held white plastic device of that approximate size and shape – though I should make it clear that there was, at least, a (very small) sharp piece of metal on the end, rather than the less worrying but admittedly less effective (for this purpose) head of bristles one might otherwise expect from my previous sentence.

In the end, it was nothing. Clearly the needle – spring loaded, triggered, and instant in its action – was the result of years of careful observation and design, so suited was it to the task of rapidly piercing the toenail and leaving the piercee feeling pleasantly suprised that the whole experience wasn’t nearly as bad as expected. By way of comparison, I’d say it was marginally less noticeable than that pin-prick they do on your thumb when you go to give blood, so they can test you’re not in fact a gene-stealing alien come to take over the planet. Thus, designers of medical implements, we salute you.

Once it was cleaned up it didn’t look half bad – a bit messy but much more back to normal. Unfortunately I didn’t have the presence of mind to photograph it between cleaning and dressing, so you’ll have to take my word for it. However, in case anyone’s interested (hi Mum!), here are the photos I took before the whole procedure, while waiting, in glorious Zoom-O-Vision:

Both feet forward

Right foot

Right foot - close up

Right foot - Extreme Close Up!

Good thing: during the time spent waiting I managed to scream through a large chunk of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which I’d just recently started. I’d put this book off for ages, dismissing it as “the book of the film, which I hadn’t seen though was supposed to be quite good, but I don’t know, it looked a bit schmultzy from the trailer”. I was surprised to learn recently that People Who Know thought different and maybe I should read it after all. And it’s fab – nearly finished now. :-)

Bash used the time well too, ever working, ever working:

Ever on the job

To conclude, I went to the other hospital yesterday and ploughed some more through the book, before learning that no the toe wasn’t broken, and I should just be nice to it, basically. They dressed it again, and now I am muchos swaddled in white linen a la:

Very big toe due to enormous bandages

What an exciting life I lead, eh?