Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Sometimes even angels get injured.

I'm doing this thing with my feet at the moment, in an attempt to make myself more beautiful. I know feet aren't something that one tends to see a lot, but with the increased amount of nakedness that summer tends to wield, having nice feet is probably a good thing.

I have a love/hate relationship with the soles of my feet; running down the alley that borders my house in bare feet when I was young was fine, but tripping and cutting my big toe open on an escalator in Italy when I was 14 was very painful indeed. I'd like to think I take good care of them, but I still garner a lot of dry skin on them and, despite the occasional scoop of Nivea Creme and the brushes with tea tree oil and the rough end of a bath sponge every now and again, I get painful hard pads of skin on my feet, and the occasional growth which may or may not be a wart of a verruca. I'm also incredibly ticklish.

So. My régime starts when I go to bed. I peel off the dry skin, apply the gel (which stings, but that's probably because it contains salicylic acid), wipe off any residue and wait for it to dry. The idea is that it forms a solid white barrier over the wart(s) or callus(es), which you can peel off daily and reapply, and that if you rub what's left every week with an emery board (or pumice stone, but I've no idea where to get one of them), it gets rid of them. This is the theory, anyway. I've been doing it for a few weeks and it hasn't worked too effectively yet. I'm seeing a bit of improvement, though.

I saw a flap of dry skin hanging from my big toe yesterday evening, though, after returning from a pub night during which I bought one single drink. Simple, I thought, I'll just pull that off. It might be a bit painful, though, so I closed my eyes, took a breath. One, two, three...

Okay, pulled it, and it's increased in size. I'll have another go. One, two, three...

"FUCK!" I screamed, somehow avoiding waking up my parents.

My big toe had somehow been ripped open. Okay, so it wasn't a massive wound, but this is a toe, which has a huge amount of nerve endings, on a hypersensitive boy. And to he fair, it wasn't a tiny scratch, either. It was an open wound, dripping blood (mercifully onto the dry flannel which I had under my feet at the time). My hands reached for the baby wipes and solidly wrapped a few around the bleeding toe while my brain whizzed, wondering what to do - although clouded somewhat, admittedly, by pain.

It took me a while to remember that we have sticking plasters, but they were downstairs in the kitchen. So there was nothing else for it... I hopped all the way down to the kitchen - possibly the room in my house that's the furthest possible distance from my bedroom - and fumbled through the drawers looking for something suitable. Limping back upstairs, collecting the bits of baby wipe that had fallen off on the way, I lay back on my bed, applying pressure on the toe as I did so, and peeled the plaster's wrapping off, fixing it securely on my toe across about half the open wound.

It fell off. Immediately.

Repeating the F-word over and over and over again, it clicked in my brain suddenly that I had practically a working hospital as close as my bedroom drawers. I rolled over (leaving a red stain on my lovely white bedsheets, dammit!), opened all the drawers and extracted my first-aid kit, which had a good few strong, sturdy plasters. Forgoing gauze and surgical tape, which may have been a bit too extreme, I wiped the wound with an antiseptic wipe, and tightly wrapped a couple of good-quality plasters over the wound, covering it completely - and, for good measure, one of the weak plasters too, in order to secure them in place. Once I was sure that they were secure, I let go of my foot, and lay on my back, weak and in pain.

A few minutes later I cleaned up the mess - and considering there were a considerable number of blood-stained baby wipes, sticking plaster covers, et ceteri, there was a fair amount of mess. But, all things considering, I hadn't done such a bad job of it all.

47 came over today to pick up his car (which he'd left in my road for a week, for some reason). He, it turned out, had hurt his ankle while climbing over a fence into his girlfriend's garden; we both had quite a pronounced limp. But while his was getting better, I couldn't put the bottom of my big toe onto the floor at all, otherwise it felt like it was committing seppuku. Were I a ballet dancer, I'd probably be physically dead by now. We swapped foot stories, charged his 'phone and I limped him to the front door. Taking a kind of savage pride in the fact that I was in more pain than he was, I shuffled back up the stairs to change the dressing (and so I did, fresh plasters feel good).

It occurred to me halfway up the stairs that my limping, hunched gait makes me look a bit like Igor at the moment...

...but never mind. It's a talking point.


Catharine said...


Anonymous said...

Gah, this is even worse reading it in detail! Hope you feel less hop-along soon.