The Dark Side Of Traveling

“Sure I’ll take a walk in the park.”

A special girl invited me to Parque Lage in Rio a couple days before I was set to leave the city. I prefer nighttime outings as they have a higher chance of ending up in sex, but I agreed because I didn’t want to appear so one-dimensional.

During the hottest part of the day we took a little stroll up one of the park’s hills near a pleasant waterfall. We climbed some more for a nice view of Lagoa and the surrounding mountains, and halfway through our slightly romantic hike we sat down to eat a sweetsop fruit (tasted like pineapple). It’s then I felt something around my right ankle. Was it the syphilis flaring up again? I looked down and saw four little specs of blood where I was bitten by insects. Sloppy mosquitoes I thought, to let all that blood go to waste. I wiped myself off and then it was time to take smushy-faced camera phone pictures with my date.

When I went to bed that night I counted sixteen bites around my right ankle. I got out the hydrocortisone and every two hours I scratched myself awake and slathered on some cream. It was itchier than a normal mosquito bite and reminded me of when I got attacked by bedbugs two years prior. I assumed it was a tropical Brazilian insect I hadn’t encountered before, but in the end it’s only bug bites so I’m not going to freak out.

I freaked out the next day when I noticed my ankle turned into a cankle. It didn’t have a normal range of motion because of all the liquid jammed in there, and I felt a little jiggle with every step I took (I don’t know how you morbidly obese people do it). Later in the day I squeezed into my shoes to pick up my laundry I had left two days before.

The laundromat fucked up my load and three shirts had weird pink stains, including a nice shirt I had just bought at Zara (thankfully I saved the receipt). While arguing with the incompetent staff I’m furiously scratching my ankle and not realizing it. I left the laundromat without paying and looked down at my ankle to see blood streaks going into my shoe. I went next door to the pharmacy and bought an antibiotic cream with anti-itch steroid mixed in.

For the rest of the day the holes in my ankle oozed a yellowish liquid that crusted over. Pain set it and walking became difficult. After some googling on my symptoms I concluded that I was bitten by fleas and developed an allergic reaction. This didn’t surprise me because I’m allergic to bee stings and bedbug bites. I just had to wait a few days until it would clear.

The lease on my favela room expired and I left Rio with the swollen ankle. I made it to a little town in Minas Gerais called Tiradentes. There the swelling moved down into the right side of my foot. It was red and warm to the touch and I was feeling chilly and slightly weak. Because I was in a town that didn’t have a hospital, I had to visit a very old doctor who worked out of a worn leather bag. I couldn’t understand his Portuguese accent very well but I felt confident when he examined my ankle and nodded up and down. He prescribed me antibiotics (tetracycline).

Five days later my foot was still swollen. Now little red lines underneath my skin snaked down to my pinky toe, where a boil was developing. Every eight hours I took Advil to deal with the stubborn fever. Walking remained difficult. I returned to the doctor and he gave me the address of a private clinic in the next biggest town about 45 minutes away (São João del Rei). There they stabbed the boil and out exploded a pink combination of pus and blood. I showed them the tetracycline pills I was taking and they prescribed me something different: cephalexin.

The tetracycline already fucked up my stomach and this one would add to the problem. I wouldn’t shit for the next four days. During that time the swelling went down around my ankle and foot, but my pinky toe was changing color from dark red to light purple, as if it was starved of oxygen. It felt cold and was painful to touch. The boil didn’t seem to be healing so I went back to the clinic.

They sent me to a hospital where finally I was seen by a doctor who spoke English. He told me that the infection I had was “obviously” resistant to the antibiotics and looked like an MRSA infection. They immediately extracted some fluid from the boil, which was beginning to swallow my pinky toe, and told me to sit tight for the lab results.

Four hours later he said, “I’m afraid it’s MRSA.” I noticed he put on gloves and a face mask.

He said the only drugs left to treat my infection are a combination of vancomycin and teicoplanin, but they must be administered by IV. I had to come to the hospital every twelve hours for the next five days, my bill slowly increasing to god-knows-what. Before I left he popped the boil on my toe again and this time the juice color was purple. The toe began to shrink like a raisin and have a mummified appearance. For the first time I was afraid.

After three days of treatment my pinky toe didn’t improve. It pretty much looked dead.

The doctor shook his head and said that there is a serious risk the infection will spread and enter my bloodstream. If that happened, he said, there wasn’t much he could do for me. He wanted to amputate my pinky toe immediately.

The first thing I wanted to know was how much it cost.

“Oh it’s cheap,” he said, excitedly. “Cheaper than the antibiotics. We just use local anesthesia and cut it right off. Takes only ten minutes.”

“Will this eliminate the infection?”

“80% chance it will.”

“And how about if it doesn’t?”

“You’ll have to go to a hospital in Rio or Belo Horizonte for more options. But if we don’t do this now I’m afraid it will spread.”

“Can I think for a couple minutes?” I said.

I cried like a little girl. I wanted to call my family but I knew they would’ve freaked out and made me more nervous. They only knew about the allergic reaction and nothing else. I wanted to call my doctor but I didn’t think he was going to give his medical opinion over the phone without knowing all the information.

I tried to imagine life without a pinky toe. The doctor said that I’d still walk normally, but I was afraid I’d get laid a lot less if I only had nine toes. How could I pull like a champ with a very obvious deformity? But I can’t get laid if I’m dead, so I told him to take it off. This was four days ago. The procedure cost $760.

Right now I have a little bandage on my stump, but the doctor says leathery skin will grow over it. The infection seems to be gone as there is no discoloration, pain, or boils, but I have to visit in a few days to undergo one final test. In addition to everything else my total medical bills cost $2,823.76. I know it would be a lot more in the States, which is why I stayed in Brazil for treatment (possibly risking my life in the process).

It’s very weird to look down on my right foot and see a missing digit, but honestly I’m not too bummed about it. The only time people will notice is when I’m at the beach or pool, but I’m wondering when I should tell girls that I’m missing a toe. Do I have to tell them before sex as if I had herpes, or can it wait? Or maybe I should not say anything until they find out? I don’t think it will be disgusting, but then again I would be freaked out if I discovered missing toes on a girl in the bedroom. I’m shallow enough to where that would be a definite dealbreaker.

It’s times like this I’m thankful for my Buddhist studies. Sure there is real pain, but suffering is optional. Life goes on without a pinky toe, and I don’t have any regrets about the choices I’ve made. I rather have nine toes than watch have my soul defeated in some office job where I fantasize about killing myself. I just hope that I can still pull those hipster girls for one night stands when I come back home.

66 Comments
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Steve Lurkel
Steve Lurkel
10 years ago

Nice one, Roosh…you had me going for a minute there…April f**kin’ Fools!

Dude
Dude
10 years ago

Roosh . . . this is one of your best written blog posts yet. Your writing has improved. Sorry to hear about the toe. My advice is you don’t tell the chicks . . . reveal on a need to know basis only, and they don’t need to know before you slip them the sausage. Let them find out naturally at the pool or in bed. Unless you want to make it part of your routine. Perhaps some field testing is in order. Anyways, good job. These are the sort of stories that would make a good book.

Spaceman
Spaceman
10 years ago

your april fools jokes get more complicated every year. i personally like the Ethiopia one the most.

I lol’d hard on that one.

Morpho
Morpho
10 years ago

April Fools!!!

Nick S.
Nick S.
10 years ago

April fools?

Writing fiction this well is dangerous since it makes readers question the truth in the rest of your posts.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

roosh what i want to know is did you eat the toe wrapped in a banana peel or something

Chris
Chris
10 years ago

Way to man up Roosh, you’ve got some balls on that skinny body for sure…thats a tough decision, but at the same time no decision at all (in a life vs death sense)…and a fucked up situation all around.

If you didn’t have your man card before, you sure as hell have it now.

The missing toe will add to your mystique as you grow into a pirate-esque old salty traveler. Just tell chicks you lost it dramatically. Like perhaps in a gun fight with FARC in Colombia. When your in Colombia, tell them you lost in in a gunfight with some paramilitary group in another country. Or with pirates. Maybe leave out the crying part.

Man, you are so fucking lucky you only lost a toe. I think that you dodged a HUGE bullet. Remember that Brazilian beauty queen that had everything, as in all her limbs(if I remember correctly) amputated last year, and then died anyway?. She also had MRSA.

Huge fucking bullet.

Whats up with all the MRSA in Brazil? I wonder if it snuck into the bite area after the fact, or if it was transmitted by the insects. It sounds like it was transmitted, which is scary as hell.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

april fools

homeless
10 years ago

april’s fool!

homeless’s last blog post: A guide to drugs on Koh Phangan.

Hughman
Hughman
10 years ago

April Fool’s? Or you actually being serious?

Oh no!!!
Oh no!!!
10 years ago

It’s called April Fool’s, gentlemen… great reading Roosh 🙂 High 4.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

April.

Fools.

The Rookie
The Rookie
10 years ago

I hoped you kept the toe. Put it on your mantle or something. Better yet, hang it around your neck so it’ll always be with you.

Evan
Evan
10 years ago

Ok. For individuals like me who grew up in deracinated landscapes lacking the proper, traditional, flesh-in-blood male guides and gurus, there’s this little Game subculture of writers and observers and pickup artists who end up functioning as pale, indirect replacements. It’s not perfect, but nothing is. Anyway, Roosh’s writing in particular I’ve benefited from.

But how much is a sometime reader really connected to a blogger? Not very much. But a few days ago I did think to myself, “It’s been a few days longer than usual since a Roosh post, and he didn’t sound entirely secure in his most recent remarks. All things being equal I’d like to know that he’s ok.” Then this post.

The Game side of me says simply that Roosh has experience to build into a good story (no need to explain to readers here what to do with stories, how to embellish them and use them) and what in effect can be displayed as an intriguing scar. But I’m not stranded below the equator paying medical bills, so obviously that’s easy for me to say.

Roman
Roman
10 years ago

Awesome April 1st Joke, much better than moving to Africa – last year. Keep up the good work.

April Fools
April Fools
10 years ago

April Fools! You didn’t lose a toe.. no way.. I’ve known people with MRSA. They would’ve amputated your whole foot before your toe. April Fools! Woo!

Big Snot
Big Snot
10 years ago

Roosh loves a good Aprils Fools howler. What a guy.

Flashman
Flashman
10 years ago

Jerk

Sherwin
Sherwin
10 years ago

lol… cant believe people STILL fall for your april fools posts

Anonymous-SF
Anonymous-SF
10 years ago

Sorry to hear about it but glad you took it well and seem to be doing well. Good luck with everything.

TAllagash
10 years ago

my dad almost lost his leg below the knee this way. it was kinda cankle-ish for a few days, then he woke up, and his leg below the knee was elephant man sized. glad you’re okay, MRSA is some seeerious shit, esp. when misdiagnosed.

TAllagash’s last blog post: Pretty Lies/False Industries.

Top of the World
Top of the World
10 years ago

Heh, “posting too quickly”.

Virgle Kent
10 years ago

When you callled me and told me about this I couldn’t stop thanking god I never came to visit you down there, I knew something like this would happen, I warned you the jungle doesn’t love you

Culdcept
10 years ago

Damn, wrote this nice long post and also got the ‘posting too quickly’ error.

I was wondering why you haven’t posted in a few days and now I know. Its unfortunate that is was actually something bad. At least the little toe is one of the least important parts of the body. You are very lucky in that regard and definitely earned your man card here.

I think this toe will provide quite a bit of intrigue for the girls. With some good answers to the ‘how’d you lose it’ questions, you are golden. Keep your socks on during sex for the shallow girls (they tend not to notice until after) and there shouldn’t be a problem. Even with sandals, it would be hard to notice.

Good luck with your recovery and keep us updated on how it goes with the girls.

Culdcept’s last blog post: Conservation of Momentum.