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

  1. Steve Lurkel April 1, 2010 at 8:17 am

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

  2. Dude April 1, 2010 at 8:21 am

    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.

  3. Spaceman April 1, 2010 at 8:29 am

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

    I lol’d hard on that one.

  4. Morpho April 1, 2010 at 8:31 am

    April Fools!!!

  5. Nick S. April 1, 2010 at 8:36 am

    April fools?

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

  6. Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 8:48 am

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

  7. Chris April 1, 2010 at 8:53 am

    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.

  8. Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 8:58 am

    april fools

  9. Hughman April 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

    April Fool’s? Or you actually being serious?

  10. Oh no!!! April 1, 2010 at 9:06 am

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

  11. Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 9:08 am

    April.

    Fools.

  12. The Rookie April 1, 2010 at 9:16 am

    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.

  13. Evan April 1, 2010 at 9:21 am

    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.

  14. Roman April 1, 2010 at 9:34 am

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

  15. April Fools April 1, 2010 at 9:44 am

    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!

  16. Big Snot April 1, 2010 at 9:45 am

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

  17. Flashman April 1, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Jerk

  18. Sherwin April 1, 2010 at 9:58 am

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

  19. Anonymous-SF April 1, 2010 at 10:04 am

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

  20. TAllagash April 1, 2010 at 10:08 am

    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.

  21. Top of the World April 1, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Heh, “posting too quickly”.

  22. Virgle Kent April 1, 2010 at 10:09 am

    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

  23. Culdcept April 1, 2010 at 10:13 am

    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.

  24. inSOMnia April 1, 2010 at 10:16 am

    April Fools

  25. Sore Spot April 1, 2010 at 10:16 am

    But what about the kids Rooshv? Think about the Ethiopian kids they are starting. You must go on to help them even with this terrible injury.

  26. Sore Spot April 1, 2010 at 10:17 am

    *starving

  27. XQB April 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

    haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  28. Chris Bock April 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I smell April Fools?

  29. Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

    don’t worry… with nine toes you can still accomplish amazing things, like boning DC lawyer succubi or freeze-drying Cuba

  30. Anonymous-SF April 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

    crap, april fool’s. i just got got.

  31. Crazy Cuban April 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Honestly this has “April Fools” written all over it…..

  32. NYCbachelor April 1, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Time for the DHV story about how you lost your toe saving a maiden and some small children in the favela.

  33. Papillon April 1, 2010 at 10:38 am

    The Dark Side of Not Traveling:
    You still risk serious health problems, including MRSA etc. right at in the “safety” of your own home.

    For example, you could get e-coli from eating a taco at Taco Bell in Omaha, NE and croak there. Or get MRSA from the yoga mat at the gym.

    As for the 9 toes… you hate flip flops anyway, so who cares.

  34. NYCbachelor April 1, 2010 at 10:39 am

    “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.”

    She didn’t have MRSA- that stands for Methacillin Resistant Staph Aureaus. Staph being a type of bacteria. The linked article clearly states that she died after becoming septic (blood infection) with Psuedomonas- which is a completely different species of bacteria.

    That’s all nit picking though.

    NYCbachelor’s last blog post: Commitment means nothing to women.

  35. lynch April 1, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Given what we’ve seen previously, I do wonder if this is an April Fools post.

    If not, I’m glad you’re doing ok now. Best wishes.

  36. Brandon E April 1, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Yeah, I had to get my weiner amputated the other day. I’m not too worried about not getting laid though, I think the chicks will still dig it.

  37. Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Good one, had me going for a while

  38. Chris April 1, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Ah, fuck. Forgot about the date. Good one.

  39. HeMan3 April 1, 2010 at 11:08 am

    April Fool. Pretty good one though!

  40. Hardcore April 1, 2010 at 11:11 am

    well played, Roosh

  41. Culdcept April 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Came back to post about what an idiot I am. Not posting for a week and then this. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

    Culdcept’s last blog post: Conservation of Momentum.

  42. Roosh April 1, 2010 at 11:30 am

    2, 7, 15, 21, 22, 25, 35, 39: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    Comments with “april fools” in them have been released from moderation.

    :laugh:

  43. Papillon April 1, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Nice. There’s still a pair of Havaianas with your name it.

  44. The G Manifesto April 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

    “I’m shallow enough to where that would be a definite dealbreaker.”

    Great line.

    – MPM

    The G Manifesto’s last blog post: Language Lessons.

  45. nathan April 1, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I bought this until about 50% through

  46. Ross April 1, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I heard Roosh lost the toe when gangsters stormed his favela room and held him hostage because they thought he was muscling in on their turf. He lost his toe during his escape. Just saying…

  47. retired backpacker April 1, 2010 at 11:56 am

    This was really well written, I was on the edge of my seat for the first half of the story, until realization kicked in!!

  48. Evan April 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    . . . Does this mean I’m not cool?

  49. Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    well researched, though! (med student)

    although there would be some other alternatives to try to treat MRSA with (linezolid, tigecycline, daptomycine, streptogramine)

    tetracycline went from broad range antibiotic to only a few indications nowadays, so it would not be first choice by any means.. cephalexin, that’s more like it..

    also, MRSA is usually acquired IN the hospital, and even if community acquired MRSA (caMRSA) is a possibility in South America, you can NOT get it from an insect bite, rather mud or an infected human being

  50. Carl Sagan April 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I saw this coming from a mile away.

  51. The G String Proclamation April 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    can somebody post cliff notes for me?

  52. Josh April 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I love it.

  53. Chris April 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    “She didn’t have MRSA- that stands for Methacillin Resistant Staph Aureaus. Staph being a type of bacteria. The linked article clearly states that she died after becoming septic (blood infection) with Psuedomonas- which is a completely different species of bacteria.

    That’s all nit picking though.”

    I should have said “nasty-ass antibiotic resistant bacteria that causes your appendages to get amputated, and later, death.”

    That would have covered both situations, if this one wasn’t a joke.

    But your “look at me being superior, due to my knowledge of irrelevant minutia” post was time well spent.

  54. Pingback: More Interesting Stuff | David Black Social Masters Blog

  55. Travel bug April 1, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Well Roosh you fooled me with Ethiopia (in my defense, it was only after you kept the story going far past 4/1) but this one doesnt quite match up.

  56. roissy April 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    i think you should keep this up. find a toe somewhere and put a pic of it in your next post. wrap your foot in bloody bandages. have a girl leaning over the bandage to sign it, or maybe kiss the stump. toe game!

    roissy’s last blog post: Game Is Pushing Me Away From Love.

  57. K April 3, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I told you to go with fournier’s gangrene!!

  58. boxo April 4, 2010 at 1:12 am

    this candid expression of yours is what gets you laid, not how you look/dress or if you’re missing a toe (if this was real). leading the girl in an orderly and authoritative manner and putting her in her place also gets her tingling under the skirt.

    i’m shocked you still haven’t realized that girls aren’t attracted to guys for the same reason as guys are to the girls. ugly guys who take charge have an edge over neurotic pretty boy slicksters when it comes to getting laid. quality over quantity.

  59. Doug1 April 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    yeah April fools and all.

    Moral of this story though is if you get bitten by something strange especially in a strange tropical or subtropical land to your store of experiences, definitely hit a city or upscale or otherwise competent doctor when it starts swelling the next day, even when you’re trying to stretch limited money. Hell consider going to one the day it happens. I’d try to get advice from a good pharmacist at least, which in most non rich countries give out a lot more medical advice than they do in the US.

  60. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    ””””14 The Rookie
    2 weeks, 3 days 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.
    ””””

    For the win.

  61. Gunslingergregi April 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    ””””’44 Roosh
    2 weeks, 3 days ago
    2, 7, 15, 21, 22, 25, 35, 39:

    Comments with “april fools” in them have been released from moderation.””

    Yea had me going on that one. I was all set to come down there and lop of your head with a machette to put you out of misery he he he

  62. Jay July 17, 2010 at 8:11 am

    I just read this and believed every word of it, it totally engaged my emotions, fuck.

  63. i had mrsa!! January 22, 2013 at 12:08 am

    April Fools Joke aside,….I was diagnosed with MRSA infection a few years ago, -from poison oak!! I itched my poison oak rash so much that it led to an open infection, -which made it easier to contract germs and infections. I repeatedly went back to emergency rooms, and tried so many antibiotics before my swollen arm finally went down. A very rough 3 weeks!! youtube channel: foolraccoon