My Anxiety Built Up Toe Surgery Into A Life-Threatening Crisis!


I am not normally an anxious person, but I am feeling a little anxious this week, for medical reasons. I’m not sick, but I’m anxious enough to make myself sick — that’s a good imagination at work.

Because I have started walking regularly (yes, I am going to blame this whole thing on a strict exercise regimen), my big toe has chosen to hide under my second toe. The second toe, a sympathetic little thing, has curled itself up to make room for the big toe, even though this means bumping against the roof of my shoe. It’s called a bunion. If the second toe continues in this fashion, it will get worse, and then it will be called a hammertoe. All very unattractive names for something that hurts.

But it doesn’t hurt all the time — just when I exercise regularly (told you I was going to blame it on that). Or stand for a long time. Or use my right foot. If I hop, it doesn’t hurt, but hopping isn’t really that convenient for me.

So, I went to see the doctor, who told me (and I quote), “I think I can fix it.” Wow. That level of confidence really keeps a girl from getting, you know, anxious. Especially since his little experiment involves cutting my foot open and slicing two little wedges out of my bone in order to straighten it.

“Wedges?” I asked, trying not to sound anxious. “You mean like when they fell a tree?”

(A good imagination can really mess with your head. “You mean like when they fell a tree and it crashes to the ground with little splinters shooting up?” was my follow-up question, which, of course, I did not ask.)

“Yes,” he answered, obviously not picturing the same thing in his head that I was picturing. “You need to call your regular doctor and see if it’s OK to stop taking your low-dose aspirin.”

My doctor prescribed a low-dose aspirin two years ago when my brother literally dropped dead from a heart attack. I have been taking them religiously all this time but, because they thin the blood, the foot guy wanted me to stop them for a week before surgery, so I wouldn’t (here’s my imagination again) spurt blood all over the place. Aaackk!

The thought of stopping them makes me anxious.

The thought of my blood spurting all over the place makes me anxious.

The fact that I have not been able to reach my doctor for three days makes me anxious.

The fact that I have stopped taking them — on the advice of a person who answers my doctor’s phone but admits they know nothing about medicine — makes me anxious.

The fact that my doctor hasn’t called me back yet makes me anxious because I don’t know if it’s because my question is a low priority or because I’m already a dead duck.

And then, of course, there’s the surgery itself.

And the fact that I won’t be able to walk for weeks. That really scares me. I mean, how am I going to exercise?

Hmmm. Come to think of it, turns out every cloud really does have a silver lining!