Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Big Toe

Okay, so I am one of the most severe critics of people who, in a prayer circle, ask for prayer for their "big toe." Which is a symbol of things that really don't matter in the big scope of things.

Okay, so I have two big toes which annually take the brunt of my foolish, perhaps, hobby and avocation of mountain climbing. For those of you initiates or, worse, couch potatoes, who don't have a clue about what downclimbing on steep slopes can do to one's largest toes, here's the deal: they jam into the ends of one's boots, causing significant trauma to the space beneath the big toe nail, which gets bruised, then turns blue because of dead blood, then the toe nail dies, then the new toe nail pushes up from underneath, causing a most hideous and double depth toe nail that takes at least a year to grow out. The unfortunate thing that happens is that one, like me, who is back into the craft of climbing, is already doing the damage of a new year before the old toe nail is done growing out. And that is doubled, because every year I have two toe nails which bear the brunt of these climbs. My toes annually look like death. Sigh.

So, I have been good this 2010 climbing season. As of July 8th, I had already climbed 5 14ers, and 3 other peaks, and 6 other hikes, without damage to my almost healed big toe nails. But Friday the 9th, I did a mountain with my daughter Annie, which is a fairly severe up and downclimb. And somewhere on the way down I realized that my right big toe was in trauma. sigh. Again. sigh.

And sure enough, when I got home to Colorado Springs last night, I could see and feel the story. The area beneath the big toe nail was swollen, the color beneath it was already changing color to a dark blue, and i was in for another year of ridiculous, deadened, dying, god-awful-looking toenail.

So, drawing back to something my dear friend Dan Clader told me years ago, having come to the end of my patience and endurance, I did the only thing that I had left to my disposal. I got out my elecric drill.

Yep. Dan told me years ago about one of his kids having one of these toenails, severely under pressure from the damage done underneath the nail, and how they, around the campfire, found a way to puncture the gathering pressure underneath the nail. And how they got the pressure relieved with something. . .

And so, the electric drill . . . and I decided, in that moment in the garage, that I was ready to try something I had never done, and, good grief, enough is enough, and, heck, I'm a real self who has courage, and personal strength, and, crap, if it doesn't work, then I'm big enough to live with consequences, and dang it, I'm done with this pressure under the toenail.

So, I drilled it. Took the smallest drill bit I had. Hooked it up to the stupid drill, and within, what?, 15 seconds, blasted through the toenail and blood pooled and trapped underneath blasted like an oil geyser up through the tiny hole, and at once there was relief from the pressure and I laughed like a mad man.

Yep. The toe's good. No pressure. No dark blue hideous color. Just a tiny hole in the big toe nail.

Just in case you missed it, I'm a stud. Don't you ever turn your back on me when I have an electric drill in my hand. . .


hootenannie said...

OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!

As soon as you said "electric drill," I was like, no way. NO WAY.

Yes way.

I am simultaneously disgusted and impressed. Congratulations on achieving that very thin line in the mind of your daughter. :)

The Bug said...

Annie made me come over here & I think her OMG is the appropriate comment - OMG!

An electric drill in MY hand pointed at any body part would be a recipe for disaster. Ouch!

Peg said...

Yep Annie's Dad - impressive! I had a feeling about this end when the story started. Right in there with my impressive doctor dad -- one time when I was about 10 I walked into the bathroom to see him stitching up his OWN leg! Apparently he had gashed it in the garden. Yeesh. Way to go on the toe treatment. It IS indeed the best cure.

Chet said...

That is one of the coolest stories I have read in a long long while.

I could see Grandpop doing something like that, but with that tiny pocketknife he always had in his pocket.

Very nice.

Bethany said...

Oh dear God.

You should be initiated into some thug man band of those who feel no pain. or something.


Dan said...

Yes, yes, yes!
Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do.
Paul, you da' man!

rachel rianne said...

i'll never look at you the same, paul.
love you!

annie said...

That's so cool.

Jesse Weddle said...

I am proud to call you my friend.