Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gross Post: Another Foot Procedure

Pre-surgery Plantar Wart
 On Friday I decided to take care of an issue I've had with my foot since 2006.  Thanks to the gym at DePaul University, I contracted a plantar wart on my right foot.  At first it was just an annoying little callous, but it grew into a full fledged flaming virus that caused mild discomfort.  Kinda like the current batch of Republican presidential nominees.  I've tried treating it over the years but have never been able to fully cure it.

I went to this one Podiatry center where the doctors were fun but the staff was extremely incompetent.  I'd call for an appointment and they'd disconnect me.  Surprisingly, they have moved or gone out of business.  They did the freeze it with freon thing and since a big old bubble of blood pooled beneath the surface, we thought we had it.  Not so fast.  It didn't go away but other things that year kept me from going back until the office disappeared.

Next I went to a podiatrist who was a bit closer to my house but had the worst office hours ever unless you happen to be a housewife from the 1950s.  Just getting in to see him was tricky since the only day he had that matched my schedule was Saturday and I was usually doing marathon training those mornings.  Naturally his schedule was booked. Oh and apparently he was the Valedictorian of Podiatrist because he often went out of town to attend lectures at Podiatry Conventions. Yes, there are such things.

Now that I've got yet another insurance plan and its the start of a new year, I figured I'd get this addressed as quickly as possible rather than put it off to the end of the year.  I googled and found Dr Virani who is 5 minutes away from my office.  Actually he has three offices and wouldn't you know it, the next available appointment that worked for me was at the Villa Park office.  The choices were make an appointment now or wait a month, I opted to make the appointment.

He looked at my foot and listened to me describe the history.  We agreed that laser blasting it was the way to go.  As luck would have it, he did have an opening the following Friday.  Like my knee scope last year, this was simply an outpatient procedure.  In fact, it should have been less involved because there would be no anaesthesia involved.  However, everyone at the Surgical Center was treated it like it was major open heart surgery. [Warning: gross picture coming after the jump!!!]

Just before the procedure

Surgical Centers are basically the McDonalds of Operating Rooms. They make their money off out-patient surgery and the more patients they can see the better.  The thing is, they have to comply with all these rules and regulations in order to not get there asses sued off provide you with the best service possible.  So they read questions off a one-size fits all cookie-cutter questionnaire without even bothering to determine if these apply to you.

To be sure, I'm not saying you need a specific form for every procedure, that would be a paperwork nightmare.  I'm just saying it probably isn't necessary to ask a guy who getting his foot lasered if he has a history of heart disease.  And don't get me started on the whole make the patient fill out their forms in ink.  It's 2012 people, you know I'm coming and you have computers!  There is software that can pre-populate the forms with information you already know like my name and address.  This would actually help because it would save time and reduce error.

Back to the procedure.  It is possible to have it done while you're knocked out.  However, this is only done in extreme cases like if you have a dozen of these warts on your foot.  Because I only had one, we agreed that a local anaesthesic would be sufficient.  Yet no one could get past that.  It's like asking someone who doesn't own a boat if they have yacht insurance. 

When the anaesthesiologist came over, I said to her that I tried to explain to everyone not to waste her time, but she wasn't needed and please don't bill my insurance.  She said no problem, we won't.  About ten minutes late we were wondering what the hold up was and it was because the anaesthesiologist hadn't signed off on me, they couldn't send me in the room. 

I don't know if she was supposed to or if someone suggested it, but the anaesthesiologist came back and listened to my heart and lungs through the stethoscope.  We joked that now they could justify her billing my insurance for this, only I'm sure it's not a joke.

Believe it or not, this will grow back
Finally we were able to get into the operating room.  There were two doctors and four nurses, seems like overkill for this kind of thing.  The only painful part -- aside from the bill which I have yet to receive -- was when the doctor gave me the local anaestethesic, because it felt like he stuck the needle in my foot and wasn't gonna stop until it shot out my head.  While only about 60 seconds, it felt like forever.  He waited a few minutes to be certain the local took hold and then they fired up the CO2 Laser.  There were one or two seconds where I noticed a pinching sensation that felt white hot but it quickly faded.  I assume this was just the laser hitting a cell that wasn't numb yet.

It felt like the doctor was scrapping at my callous but I felt no pain.  For some reason, I had thought that I would simply have a neat perfect whole a few millimeters thick on my foot.  Instead I ended up with a gaping hole, which is the real expected result.  As circumstances would have it, that evening I joined Mr Lumpy and crew for Trivia Night and one of his friends had a similar procedure done about 15 years ago.  This apparently was before the laser option was available. 

post procedure recovery

She said that they simply cut the skin out and showed her the virus afterwards.  It had all these tentacles and was scary looking.  That wasn't an option here as the sucker was burned to death.  She said that she was on crutches for a day or so and it hurt a lot.  I didn't experience much of that the first 12 hours, until the local completely wore off.  Then it was a bit painful until Nightingale changed my bandages. 

I'm not as mobile as I would like.  In fact, I think I was more mobile after my knee scope.  Running is off the table for at least a week.  However, the bandage dressing keeps getting smaller each day so I'm thinking tomorrow (Wednesday) I will be able to wear shoes on both feet.


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