Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Dramatic Sunday and a Visit to the ER...

Today was a train wreck.

I was dizzy and light headed when I woke up and it took me three tries to get my hair up because I thought I was going to faint, but after managing to get out of the house things were looking up.  I made it through Mass and was walking up our walkway on the way to our side door, when I felt and heard a pop that went through my shoe and into my foot.  I'm sure I probably didn't actually hear anything at all, but the feeling seemed to echo through my body as I stood there, perfectly still, and suddenly terrified.  I didn't want to look.  I knew that what I was going to see was going to be bad.

Paul and the girls were in front of me when my panicked voice told them to wait.  I glanced at the bottom of my shoe as I stood, perfectly still, on one foot, still holding my jumbo diaper bag and two bags with food.  I could see the rusty nail poking out of the bottom of my grey ballet flat.

It hurt, although the tears that started to flow weren't really from the pain... they were a result of the panic of knowing that the nail was going to have to come back out and that the whole process was likely to be pretty awful.  Paul took the girls inside.  He was having a hard time understanding why his wife was wailing on the walkway, since I appeared to be perfectly fine and was apparently too teary to be clearly understood.  Finally he saw the nail.

He loaded the girls in the car while I debated whether this truly qualified as an "emergency."  He assured me that yes, in fact, it did.

After realizing that every single movement that involved my shoe moving at all made thing much, much worse, he scooped me up and carried me to the car and then I hobbled into my seat.  A few minutes later I was being wheeled into the ER by a security guard.

The triage nurse was awesome.  I got the impression that quite a few of my fellow patients were there in an attempt to get pain killers and she rushed me through, although there was brief half hour period where she thought I'd been taken back  and spent thirty minutes wincing as people stumbled by my foot, praying they weren't about to drive the nail deeper in with a misplaced bump (since they had my foot extended straight out in front of me on the wheel chair).

My foot was definitely a focal point in the ER.  With the nail extending out of the arch of my shoe it seemed impossible for my fellow patients not to stare (and I can't blame them... even the staff was pretty fascinated!).  The pain was steadily increasing, in a throbbing sort of way, and even being pushed in the chair seemed to make things much, much worse.

Almost an hour later I made it to my own room.  Over the course of the next hours there were lots of jabs with needles (numbing agents have never worked on me very well and so they had to numb my foot twice to make it work at all).  There was a tetanus shot.  And there was a near disaster when the radiologist tried to remove my shoe, since he'd been told he was x-raying a foot, but hadn't been let on that the shoe was nailed to the foot he'd be x-raying.  By now narcotics had been administered, as a discussion began about how there was a good chance they'd need to slit my foot open to clean it out.

The radiologist was pretty funny.  He told me that x-raying this particular injury made his whole day because it was the most interesting thing he'd seen in a while.  Another worked came over and looked horrified as she realized what she was looking at.

Thankfully the nail was only in "a little."  Okay, a medical "little" still seemed like quite a lot to me, since the rusty nail was embedded about an inch into my foot (since it wasn't stuck in any bones it "wasn't too bad").

After more numbing pokes that really hurt (apparently really hurting meant it was in the right spot) a maintenance man appeared to deliver a pair of pliers, which were then used to yank the roofing nail out of my foot (he looked pretty shocked when he realized what the pliers he'd brought up were going to be used for).  Lots of some sort of cleaning agent was shot into the wound (thankfully all of this was pretty painless) and then I took the first round of many days of antibiotics (which were the worst part of the non-nail related moments because they made me pretty sick since I hadn't eaten since 9 am).  Bandages were applied and I finally was sent on my way, with plenty of warnings about what to look for in case it becomes infected.

I have to say that I really like this hospital, which is a very good thing since we're planning on having the baby there.

And hopefully there won't be any more dramatic visits before the baby arrives.

You see, this is the problem with having a baby bump that's so big that you can't see your feet...  I couldn't see the giant rusty roofing nail past my beach ball tummy...

I'm ready for a totally uneventful week!


  1. Oh. My. Gosh. I am so sorry you went through that! But honestly, awesome post. That's horrific. (And I know it probably wasn't comforting to you at the time, but I feel really sorry for the ER staff who get excited over *actual* injuries instead of having to wade through and decide who's really in pain and who just wants painkillers. What a miserable job that must be.) And bonus points: now you've had a tetanus booster, so if you step on another rusty nail you won't have to have one! (Too soon?)

  2. Oh wow, Cam, that sounds horrible. I can't believe the nail was in an inch and it didn't hit a bone. No photos? I think I would have taken a picture of it, but I guess that's kind of gross...and probably not a priority. Can you walk on it?

  3. I was so border line on not needing the shot! My last one was six years ago.. although it definitely made me feel safer because the nail was so, so rusty and gross!

    And I really wanted to snap a picture, but my cell phone had gone dead! Because it was kind of spectacularly awful wen you looked at it through the shoe!

  4. Oh dear! I am so sorry this happened to you! I was reading your post and could just about feel it in my foot! Please watch for anything that might indicate infection. Don't try to tough this out... take care of yourself.


  5. OUCH! My older sister once knelt on a knitting needle and it went four inches into her leg (luckily parallel to the bone so nothing was damaged long term). Heal safely and quickly!

  6. Man, that's awful. Hope it heals fast and isn't too painful in the morning. Ow!!

  7. I don't even know what to say in terms of how to cheer you up over stepping on a nail, its the one thing every one of our moms said to us, always look out for rusty nails sticking out of the ground. I truly am sorry. I feel bad for anyone having to see you in such pain.

    -Adam Ahmed


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