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I hope this will be the last episode of the ongoing adventures of Toe Girl, aka my daughter Ilsa and her amazing, never-ending toe infection.

Our last week in Morocco, we went to for one last time to our new-and-improved Dr. Two. (not her real name, which I’ve forgotten. The second dr, the better one) She said the infection was “mastered,” which meant it wasn’t gone but wasn’t getting worse, and told us we’d need to see a doctor in America upon arrival. She stressed the importance of this, saying that if it got worse again and went into the bone, Ilsa could end up losing her toe.

This concerned Ilsa. She fretted and worried. “Would they give me a fake toe?” she asked. Donn had fun with this. Yes, a bionic toe, he told her. You’ll be a super-hero with your amazing power to kick the bad guys, and they’ll call you Toe Girl! And he started a cheer. “Toe Girl! Toe Girl!”

For days, whenever she was worried, we would call her Toe Girl, and she would giggle.

Our first full day in the US, we took  her to a place called Zoom care. I am not making that up. Everything is sort of pastel purple, and all the staff, nurses and doctors are young and blonde and very, very nice. I wonder how they screen for that.

Our nurse-practitioner purses her lips at Ilsa’s toe and decides to scrape out the pus. Good job! Ilsa, however, does not take kindly to the idea. “Last time I had a couple of days to prepare myself,” she tells me in an anguished whisper. And apparently last time was more traumatic than we knew at the time. The surgeon didn’t give the novacaine (or whatever they use) enough time to throroughly “take” and she felt more than just pressure, although she was very brave. This time, although the NP waits and flicks her toe to make sure it’s numb, Ilsa is panicky.

We get through it. Donn lets her squeeze his hand bloodless and promises her a new book of her choice at Powells, which has a branch just down the street. This cheers her up no end. We regale the NP with stories of last time, how they wouldn’t let us go back into the room with Ilsa (her jaw drops open in disbelief), about the two dead babies in the waiting room (her jaw sags even wider).

Afterwards, when the NP has taken off the two sides of Ilsa’s nail, painted the entire toe brown, and wrapped it in really fun bright red tape, Ilsa is resigned. We set off with much better prescriptions than last time, when all she got was Tylenol. The nurse gives us the bucket they used to soak her foot, since they can’t resuse them, which mystifies us. It’s made of hard teal-coloured plastic–how could it not be reuseable? America is just so weird.

She gave us the name of a podiatrist, just in case, but said she’s about 55% sure this will take care of the problem altogether. I hope so. Toe Girl may be the cutest new superhero on the block, but I prefer just plain Ilsa.

August 2010

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