Throwback Thursday: Liane Likely to Lose Limb

Thursday : It comes from the Middle English “Thor’s Day.” On this beautiful Thursday in DC, I’m throwing it back! Today’s post brings me back to simpler times–before I had a stock options or a lease. In fact, I barely had a bed. Ok, I still barely have a bed, but a futon is more like a bed than the hostels of Europe. Yes, you heard me right. It’s another in a long line of shameless self-promotion for my Notebook of a Nomad blog. Here’s a throwback, and I hope you’ll check out more if you like it!

During that first run-in with the beach I acquired some new information about Malaga. To tell you this story I’m going to begin with another story: Last year my parents, my brother Erik and I went to Pismo Beach. We stashed our belongings in our room and headed out on a fact-finding expedition. And by fact-finding expedition, I mean we went to check out the beach. After a lovely stroll down the seaside, I discovered a black muck on my foot. I went back to the room and spend a good hour scraping and peeling and scrubbing a persistent goo from my poor foot which was, in some places, now skinless. From what I gathered, this mess was tar. A little later, my father quick to do a little research found out that Pismo Beach was named by the Indians of the area. Pismo was their word for “tar”. I learned that the hard way. Somehow, I always am the one lucky enough to step right into history–literally.

I don’t know what Malaga means, but once again I stepped in something. After Douglas convinced me to swim in the rocky ocean (though there was a less rocky alternative nearby), I emerged with feet whose bottoms were stained the color of iodine (to which scrubbing has had no effect), scrapes all over my legs, and a strangely swollen right big toe. Initially I thought it was a splinter since I could see a little dot/puncture wound. But as the pain increased and no foreign body surfaced, another theory came to light. Perhaps, somewhere in the rocky, algae-filled water…something bit/stung me. I don’t know what it is, but I started freaking out when this morning, I started to lose feeling in my big toe and realized I couldn’t actually walk.

I knew I needed to act quickly, so act quickly I did.

1. Operation Uba: My father, Ralf, is the namesake to this attempt at curing my ailment. It’s also called “Operation Walk-It-Off”. As kids, whenever we hurt ourselves, my parents were fans of the “Get Over It And Walk It Off” method of dealing with it. While insensitive, usually, this actually works. So I threw on my flip-flops and grabbed my camera, intending to kill two birds with one stone and providing you lovely folks with some pictures. I got out the door and only halfway to the pool before I realized that “Operation Uba” had failed. I was limping and the pain was getting worse. I had visions of amputation. Worse, self-inflicted amputation just to stop the pain.

2. Operation Ice, Ice Baby: My next instinct was that the pain was caused by the swelling. So I grabbed an ice-cube, wrapped it in a paper towel, and started Operation Ice, Ice Baby. The swelling continued. The redness was spreading. The pain was spreading too. Fail.

3. Operation Self-Medicate: I take three ibuprofen. Toe is throbbing. Can still not walk. Urge to amputate increases. Assuring myself that I can call it “Operation Operation”. Fear of self increases.

4. Operation Elevator: Douglas suggests elevating the foot. No signs of improvement. Patience wearing thin. Pain making me delirious. I think the knife is smiling at me.

Dismal results have me rethinking my strategy. Up to that point I had been formulating my plans on the assumption that the spreading was bad. Well, the spreading of the pain WAS bad, but what if it was poison not just simple swelling.

Let me explain. I am terrified of being bit by something in the water. I love the ocean. It’s one of my favorite (nonhuman) things. Other than sushi-which comes from the ocean, and doubles my love for it! (I also love the iphone and the internet–these do not mix well with water)I wanted to believe it was a splinter. Because if I had, in fact, been bit/stung by something, one of my deepest, darkest fears had been realized. I am not sure how my psyche would recover. What if I would never swim in the ocean again?

Immediacy of problem increases.

If the new working hypothesis was that it was poison, then I wanted to dissipate the poison through my bloodstream. I needed to spread it faster, not slower. It would explain why the ice made things worse. So I implemented:

5. Operation Hot Tub Time Machine: Great movie, by the way, I was pleasantly surprised. In my final attempt at preserving my love of the ocean–and my toe– I would limp to the leisure center, sit in the Jacuzzi and put my toe in front of one of the jets. Perhaps, if I was lucky, the poison would disperse and travel away from its centralized location on my toe

(insert HOUSE-like graphics where the poison breaks into little balls and moves through the bloodstream–though hopefully not causing some kind of massive internal damage which may or may not include full-body paralysis. If I do go into full-body paralysis, people might mistake me for dead. Then I would be buried alive. And that would make pretty much all my major fears realized.)

When a baby is born, and the nurse puts it into the arms of its (because it could be a he or a she, or some kind of tranny thing or a he “trapped in the body of a she” or a she “trapped in the body of a he”..etc..) parents the first thing they (also, these days it could be a he/she couple, a he/he couple or a she/she couple or other/other couple) do is count the ten fingers and ten toes (then whether its a hermaphrodite or not). (Way too many parenthesis, right?)

So, you sit there wondering, will I come back from Europe with one less digit? Will my parents cry when they see the little stub where my perfectly pedicured big toe once was? Will my brothers laugh when I hobble around because my balance no longer serves me since my equilibrium is destroyed from lack of big toe?

As I sat in the hot tub, I thought about all these macabre possibilities…then I thought about Hot Tub Time Machine, because really–HILARIOUS movie….and then, before I knew it, and before the fat guy in the speedo could re-start the jets…the pain began to subside.

I plan to do a follow-up operation this evening, possibly called Operation Hot Tranny Mess (name still in the works). The current status of the mission is looking brighter. The redness is nearly unnoticeable, the swelling has gone down and I can walk without people checking to see if I have a peg instead of a leg.

Thank you for your concerns, prayers, well-wishes, candle-lit vigils and donations to Make a Wish. The cheery prognosis could not have been possible without you.

And….we’re back in the future. For the record…it was a sea urchin.
Black Spiny Urchins 1920