Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Where Did You Say You Got That Medical Degree?

 Today I am having a 'minimally invasive' laser procedure done. These two terms: 'minimally invasive' and 'laser' just don't seem to work together to insure confidence. At least I figure it will result in a couple of blog posts. So, in order to set the mood, I am posting a  previous adventure in medical care:

                                        Yes, We Have No Bananas

I am lucky. I just happen to work at one of the finest medical facilities in the nation and as such, thanks to employer subsidized healthcare, have access to some of the finest medical care a twenty dollar co-pay can buy. This came in quite handy recently when my left foot decided to take on a life of its own and grow what can only be described as the spinal cord of what I am sure was my unborn twin.
I guess here is where I should insert the WARNING – this post will include discussion of feet. As much as I like shoes, I do not like feet, toes, toenails or any of the myriad of gross ailments that those body parts can acquire. That being said, when the ball of my left foot began to hurt I was forced to remove the Carlos Santana Hooker Heels and take a look.
After months of poking, pumicing and ignoring I decided that the painful lump was not going to go away on its own. So I did what any responsible healthcare consumer does. I made an appointment with my primary care physician, fully expecting a 'get that gross hoof out of my office' and a referral to a podiatrist.
Now, it should be mentioned that the building where my doctor – a highly regarded diagnostician – maintains his office, has the word 'ADVANCED' in it. This will become important later in this story.
I hobbled in for my appointment and after the obligatory blood pressure check and always fun weigh in, I took my seat on the exam table. I don't know about you but I find it impossible to not swing my legs like a three year old when I sit on an exam table. By the time the doctor came in I had performed most of the can-can and was starting in on a Rockette kick line. I took a gracious bow and proceeded to explain the reason for my visit:
"There is something sprouting from the bottom of my left foot. It feels like I have been walking in a cheap pair of Walmart pumps."
The Highly Regarded Diagnostician nodded knowingly, sat on his wheely chair and gently took my foot in his hand. He turned it this way and that, studying the intricacies of the offending growth and commenting on the lovely color of polish on my toenails. (OPI-Lunch at the Dehli). He then looked up sheepishly and said, "well, we have a couple of options here." He offered the expected referral to a podiatrist – a physician I can only assume either has deep seated mental issues or some major community service hours to execute - OR my Doctor said he could possibly take care of it himself.
Then he qualified his claim with "Now, don't laugh." (Here is where I ask that you keep the word ADVANCED as well as the word MEDICINE in the back of your mind.)
Doctor went on to outline his treatment plan. (WARNING!) Where he would shave the growth down, which would render it painless immediately. However, this was only step one. Feeling that I would be a compliant patient, he went on to explain my portion of the treatment, warning me again to "Not Laugh."
I was intrigued.
"Tonight, when you go to bed, wrap a banana peel around the foot." He barely got the words out before once again saying, "Please, don't laugh." It was sort of fun to watch him twist back and forth on his wheely chair as he told me to secure the peel with an ACE wrap. The treatment would only need to be performed one time he assured me. I did not tell him that with a banana peel wrapped around my foot, I would only be allowed to sleep in the same bed as my husband one time...most likely, the last time.
He left the exam room long enough for me to do a couple of high kicks and returned with a sterile knife blade. He proceeded to ask after my kids, our summer plans, and work. I am an extremely trusting human being, some would say gullible, but why quibble. When another human is coming at your foot with a sharp blade it is very hard to make small talk. I tried my best to answer but with my teeth clenched as tightly as they were I doubt he got much beyond "mmphh" and "eee".
Five minutes later I left his office, soul of my foot neatly shaved and no longer painful. He looked at me hopefully. "So, are you really going to try the banana peel?"
I shrugged and said "Only if you give me a cut of the bet you are obviously about to win."
He chuckled as he handed my chart to the clerk, his hopeful expression turned to worry. "And, please, don't tell anyone."
Now he was worried about who might hear this? Well, sorry Doc, confidentiality is not a two way street. I had a week's worth of tweets ready to post.
I left the office and made my way to Trader Joe's for some of the finest organic bananas my healthcare dollars could buy; all the while trying to figure out how to explain to my family why I would be tying an entire banana peel around my foot. They were surprising supportive. My husband offered to call 911 when I slipped on the peel in the middle of the night and broke my hip while my daughter did an extensive on-line search of 'banana peel+foot+insanity'. My son ate the banana for me.
In the end, I trimmed down the peel to bandage size and placed it – banana side in- to my foot and secured it with a large bandaid. Now, here is where it gets weird. When I first stepped down on the poulticed foot it tingled. Alot. The tingling was soon replaced by an almost electric thumping. And the next morning the weird little spot had nearly vanished!
Now I just need to figure out what to do with the remainder of those 26 nineteen-cent bananas I had to buy to meet my five dollar co-pay on generic prescriptions.

(For purpose of full disclosure-what I had was a plantar wart. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT search this malady on the internet. Take my word for it, the text search results are bad enough. The image search will make you want to wash your eyeballs with antibiotic ointment. However, treatment for plantar wart actually does include the Banana Peel Protocol. And you know what they say – If its on the Internet, it has to be true!)

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