Come in, Captain Obvious! We need your help!
Or, at least, I do. And when you lend me your aid, could you do so in a slightly more timely manner. Like when I was at the podiatrist on Wednesday and complaining that it felt as though my toes on the right foot were on fire. Well, I reported it as a burning sensation.
There are some details in this post, so if a fungal infection of the feet bothers you, perhaps you should run along and read some other source of material. I recommend The Iliad. =P
Admittedly, it's a tough call to make. Because of the Charcot arthropathy, there is perpetual swelling and discoloration. Skin against skin tends to produce sweat. (I remember an old joke. Q: Why to people sweat? A: So they don't catch fire while making love.) So at a glance, things appear to be status quo. A physical exam is also hampered on the doctor's part because he wisely wears gloves. It's the smart thing to do when dealing with the sweaty feet of someone whose hygiene habits are unknown to you.
By Thursday evening, the burning sensation at my toes now felt like they were actually on fire. While tending to my foot, I noticed that my toes appeared to be...crusty. Said crust could easily be dismissed as dead, scaling skin. Since I can't bend my leg or foot to get a better view, I rely on my sense of touch during such self-examinations. As my fingers moved between my toes, there was so much moisture that when I removed them from between my toes, I fully expected to see blood. Instead, whatever the fluid was, it was completely clear. I would gladly have dismissed it as simple sweat, but the stench...! Oh, dear G-d, it stank!
I don't recall ever having athlete's foot, and to think of a disabled man having it when all he does is sit around in his socks seems contradictory. But I quickly looked it up, and saw pictures that seemed to indicate I was right on the money.
Thus, I did what I could immediately. First, I dried as much of the fluid as I could with a paper towel, trying my best to clear away that crusty material. Then I scrubbed my toes with another paper towel soaked with rubbing alcohol. In my mind, the 70% isopropyl alcohol and water mix is enough to kill just about any germ alive. I've even used the stuff to kill the bacteria in kitchen sponges with great success. But I am also a firm believer in my fallibility, and didn't have enough faith in my ability to get the alcohol everywhere it was needed. So, using a third paper towel, I dried my toes and then coated them with a little Gold Bond Medicated Powder that I have on hand. I also poured more powder into my sock before putting it back on.
An hour or two later, I was feeling a bit better, hinting to me that I just might be completely accurate on my self-diagnosis.
While I could TRY to treat it on my own, I'm just not like that with anything that bothers me, as demonstrated by my recent dental adventures. Thus, I called the podiatrist on Friday morning and described my symptoms to his receptionist. She, in turn, put me on hold and reported to the doctor. When she came back, she told me that they would be calling in an anti-fungal cream, and that if there was no improvement in the days to come, I was to call back to be seen.
My concerns involve the fact that I feel this topical fungal infection so badly. While the underside of my feet are miraculously sensitive, my toes tend to be a bit numb when it comes to collisions and cuts. My fear - yes, another fear! - is that this thing is a bit deeper than I can observe visually or by touch. My hope - yes, another hope! - is that the cream will address the problem and there'll be no complications. (Having said that, there'll be complications. Just you wait and see!)
I just wish Captain Obvious had been on hand Wednesday afternoon. Just the mention of the burning pain should have had my podiatrist looking for signed of athlete's foot. Perhaps it simply wasn't bad enough at the time. I don't remember there being any crusting along my toes during the visit. Then again, the doctor had a much better vantage point than I'll ever have.
Oh, I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. I like this guy. Between him and my PCP, I honestly wish all of my doctors were like them. But if the foot guy is going to start missing or overlooking the obvious, then I suspect there's going to be big problems for my in the future.
Well, it was certainly nice to get back to my usual complaining, wasn't it? =P
Be well, and DFTBA!