The blister nearly killed me | AspenTimes.com
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The blister nearly killed me

Alison Berkley

OK, fine. So I’m a bit of a hypochondriac.This occurred to me the other day when I was sitting in the emergency room screaming at the top of my lungs as Aggressive Doctor Man injected anesthetic into my foot. It was honestly the most pain I have experienced since getting my belly button pierced. I know blisters seem super minor – until they happen to you.My dear friend Txell (pronounced “Shell” with a “t” in front of it) totally thought I was overreacting. A Spaniard who doesn’t ski, she had no sympathy whatsoever for the suffering I had endured on my first hut trip. I tried to explain to her that I had skied like a million miles carrying a 400-pound pack with blisters that had developed in the first hour of the first day. But she just lowered her white wrap sunglasses down to the end of her tiny nose and rolled her eyes at me. I think she was mostly annoyed because my hobbling pace slowed down our shopping spree considerably.One of the blisters that had formed over a thick callus I had from my running shoes is particularly sore and seemed (at least to me), to be getting worse. It swells up and turns colors and soon my toes look like little sausages. Then I run into a friend of mine from yoga, so naturally I show her my blisters and she starts freaking out. She is from Russia so she has an accent that makes everything she says sound more dramatic. “Diss ees bery seeerious,” she says, putting her hand on my shoulder like I might die any second. “You coult get gang-greent. It coult spreat to your heart bery bery quickly.”All of a sudden I start to feel sick. I can feel the infection spreading through my veins and my wound is throbbing with such intensity it’s like my heart is beating in my toes. I become weak, dizzy and disoriented as I bid Txell goodbye (cue more eye rolling) and slowly make my way to my car (I’ve been going through this thing lately where I can never remember where I parked and it makes me feel insane).I call my Dad, who is famous for underestimating my ailments. One time I had this nasty rash that turned out to be shingles and he barely glances at it and goes, “Yep, those are red bumps all right. That’s what they are.” He’s always throwing medication at me and convincing me this pill or that drug will solve everything from stage fright to drooling too much in my sleep. “I have a drug that will help you with that” is one of his favorite lines of all time. Inevitably, I take his magic little pill and immediately have horrible side effects that are always worse than whatever symptom I had in the first place. It’s like dropping acid and realizing you can’t take it back and you have to suffer through whatever bad trip you’ve been dealt. He so does not feel sorry for me, and just sits there and shrugs and makes these excuses like, “You’re like the 1 percent of people who has had this side effect.” He recently told me I am the most wacked out patient he has ever had, which, coming from a shrink, is not exactly what you want to hear.But this time Dad goes, “You don’t want to mess around with that. You should go to the emergency room today.”Admittedly I feel a little foolish checking in for a blister, so I try to qualify it with something impressive, like, “My friend told me it could be gangrene.” I think ultimately, the biggest fear of a true hypochondriac isn’t about being sick, but about not being sick. The worst-case scenario is a doctor who tells you there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Hypochondriacs actually like getting hurt or being sick, not only because of all the attention they get, but because no one gets to find out what a big fat freak they really are. The good news is the docs act like maybe the blister is worth a little attention. I’m secretly pleased with that – until they come over to my bed armed with all these big needles. They give me like four shots to numb my foot so they can cut the thing off and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, sweating profusely and squirming around so they have to hold me down like a crazy person. Meanwhile, the guy in the bed next to me, who is like 102 years old, dislocated his hip and blew out his MCL skiing. He’s just chilling with his wife, raving about how wonderful Easter Sunday services were at the church this year.When it’s all over the doc gives me a little pat on the knee and tells me, “You were right to come in,” even though I can tell he’s lying. I’m sure he’s used to dealing with types like me and knows the best medicine is telling me exactly what I want to hear.I limp over to the checkout counter dragging my numb foot behind like some hobbit or gnome and the girl smiles like she’s got the best news in the world for me and says, “That’s going to be $600 please.”Now that hurts. The Princess is sitting on a plane to Los Angeles right this very minute and promises to write. Send your Aspen love to alison@berkleymedia.com


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