Last Tuesday morning it was off to the Clementine Churchill Hospital just up the road for (quote) a minor procedure - the permanent removal, sorry, ablation, of the nail on my right big toe. ‘The Clem’ (as the cab drivers tend to call it) looks exactly like a conference centre, both within and without, all pastel walls and art overkill, with strategically placed plants, but it is both clean and pleasant, with very friendly staff, and I know my way round, give or take a rebuilt bit or two.
Because the procedure only needed a local anaesthetic, it was a live broadcast, as it were: the podiatrist is a cheerful type and chatted away to all of us between bits, including a horror he’d heard recently about an anaesthetised patient coming to in the middle of a foot op and doing a runner! As he said, how do you proceed? You’ve lost the sterile environment, so you can’t just carry on with the op, but because it involved bone breaking, you can’t leave it either. Maybe they should fit operating tables with safety belts…very pre-Victorian!
Anyway, the offending nail (which had regrown from the last time in rather saurian form, as below) went into the bin with a satisfactory clang, and phenol was applied to dissolve the root. Off to Recovery, with coffee and bourbon biscuits, and home again by half past ten. I had to go to a hospital at Bushey to see the podiatrist at his clinic there for a follow-up next morning, and he was almost unbelievably bright and cheerful for eight thirty in the morning – but at least that’s better than the medics who look as though they’re about to take coffin measurements! And the hospital, though equally modern, isn’t as well laid out or as welcoming as ‘the Clem’ – can’t even provide you with old magazines to read while you wait! – so he did redress the balance a bit.
The whole business now is to keep it from getting infected, since it’s an open wound, and bleeds fairly readily – although that is probably not a bad thing at this stage, if rather annoying. I’m working at home at the moment, and am certainly not looking forward to taking it on the tube. I have always so much work to do actually at work, that I shall have to make the attempt tomorrow, but Mr Les is taking me there by car (sadly no longer the Merc, but no matter).
Meanwhile, it is not painful, much to my surprise, especially after the previous experience some years ago – but then that was a purely surgical procedure and the area was probably infected despite a prepatory course of antibiotics. I suspect I shall get heartily bored with wearing sandals over the next six weeks, but at least it’s summer, and it will be brilliant if the treatment works.