Friday, May 31, 2013

Fun with Radiation

About two months ago, while out on an awesome safari hike, I injured my toe.  I don't remember injuring it, I just remember it hurting.  It could have been from impact against my shoe, or it might have been from bracing myself as I descended into a creek bed.  Anyway, it hurt.  Not enough to cause me to stop doing anything, but enough to remind me it was there.

It never really got better.  Then, about two weeks ago, I stubbed this same toe HARD against my bed frame.  Enter blinding pain.  But once the initial shock wore off, I was back to a dull ache when I walked and some more throbbing pain when I manipulated said toe.

With my London trip looming, I decided to get it checked out.  Dr. Google told me it was most likely not broken (which I had guessed) but also said that sprains really shouldn't last that long.  Our health unit checked it out, said it probably wasn't broken, but that getting an x-ray wouldn't hurt.

I have been lucky in my FS overseas career so far, knock on wood.  The worst thing I ever had in Saudi was a possible case of strep throat and a boil that needed to be lanced.  I never had to go to a doctor or hospital.  Though now that I think about it, I did have a visitor who sprained her ankle, so I did take her to the hospital, but that's beside the point.

What would an x-ray be like in Kampala?  I was about to find out.  The health unit made an appointment for me, I booked a car (since I hadn't driven to work that day), and I braced my boss for the possibility that I might be out most of the afternoon.  Traffic wasn't bad, and we made it to the clinic in less than 15 minutes.  A nurse met me at the door, showed me where to pay my $24, and took me back right away.  No forms, no waiting!  The technician set up my scans, positioned my foot, reluctantly gave me a lead apron (he seemed very surprised when I asked for it), took the first scan, repositioned my foot, took the second scan, and then I was free to go.  Less than 15 minutes!  The longest part of the whole thing was the traffic back to the embassy - about 25 minutes. 

The radiologist sent an email the next day with the results - nothing broken, normal findings.  Which is good and what I expected, but it still left no answers.  And the pain hasn't gone away, but it's still not debilitating and doesn't interfere in daily activities. 

So, I don't have a broken toe!  That is the good news.  The bad news is, this is either the world's slowest-healing sprain, or I am constantly re-injuring said toe with no idea I'm doing it.  Anyway, a week of intense walking in London and it's not any worse, thankfully.  But it isn't better either.  But I did learn that x-rays in Kampala are easy and a bargain.  And I checked out the MRI prices while I was there - those too are a bargain.  Nice to have that nugget in my back pocket...