Archives for September 24, 2008

A Wart And The “Keys To The Kingdom”

As many of my close followers know, I’m “in between blogs” at the moment. My new website has not launched yet, so I’ve asked a few close friends if I could guest-blog at their sites until further notice. Dear Grunt Doc actually offered me a password and authority to post directly to his blog. Now that’s trusting! I mean, I could fill up his site with LOLcats posts if I wanted.

A few blog-hijacking fantasies later, I decided to ask myself – “What sort of content would be appropriate to contribute to an Emergency Medicine blog?” The answer, of course, is “real photos of anything gross.”

And as luck would have it, I do have a nice photo of something gross (albeit mildly so). Even better, it’s my own grossness so there’s no HIPAA violation looming. What is it? Well, it’s the sadistic work of a dermatologist. (By the way, dermatologists have the best photo galleries of really gory conditions).

Let me explain.

You know how every once in a while in life you think, “Gee, this is a really bad idea” but then you go ahead with it anyway? That happened to me 7 years ago. I had accompanied a friend to a hair salon in Rochester, New York. And since the process of having her hair colored would take about 2 hours, I figured I’d find something to amuse myself. The salon offered manicures and pedicures. So I opted for a pedicure.

A little voice inside me said, “Is it hygienic to do a pedicure in a plastic tub with tools that don’t look as if they’ve been sterilized?” But then I figured, “it’ll be fine.”

A few weeks later I noticed a plantar wart on the heel of my foot. “Crap. I guess I’ll just go and have my PCP freeze it off.” Sounds easy enough – but 7 years later I have to tell you that this wart virus is still alive and kicking. Here’s what I’ve hit it with:

Liquid nitrogen Q month x 24 months, salicylic acid pads QD x 12 months, duct tape, OTC wart spray, podofilox topical solution, aldara cream (costs $500/3 month supply), bleomycin injection (that’s the chemo that can cause pulmonary fibrosis), and now blistering acid solution.

I had the “blistering acid” applied yesterday. And it’s 4:30 am and I was awoken by a sharp pain in my foot. So I got up and saw – you guessed it – blood blisters on the bottom of my foot. Yum! Not to be outdone by Paul Levy, I snapped a photo for Grunt Doc’s blog, feeling very satisfied with my contribution.

Here it is:

What on earth is the moral of this story? Ladies (and a few gents), if you have any doubt about the hygiene practices of your local nail salon – do NOT override your instincts. Just remember my story, and how I discovered the virus that will survive a nuclear war. If this series of blistering acid treatments doesn’t do the trick, I’m coming to GD’s ER for a wide excisional biopsy. God bless EMTALA.

P.S. If the injury site begins to look really gross, I’ll snap you another photo!