skeleton thinker

I was stumped by yet another medical mystery.

(This has happened with great frequency in my life, for some reason.)

My trouble this time around was a big and nasty plantar wart on the bottom of my right foot. Luckily, it did not bother me as I walked or ran. Unluckily, it was hideous. It was also contagious—this type of wart spreads in places like showers—and I certainly didn’t want to introduce the virus to someone else’s poor foot.

First, I tried an over-the-counter wart remover. I diligently applied the stuff every day for twelve weeks. However, while the wart did peel off layer by layer and diminish in size, the medicine failed to remove its deepest roots. When I stopped daily application, it grew back.

I visited my doctor and asked for advice. She recommended cryotherapy, a.k.a. freezing the wart off with liquid nitrogen. I gave the OK, and she administered weekly treatments for five weeks. But this was also ineffective. She then recommended surgery.

Surgery?! Though it would have been extremely minor surgery, the word sent me scampering off to the Internet. There, I learned about a state-of-the-art medicine that was ultimately successful in removing my plantar wart: apple cider vinegar. The folk tales about the stuff are, apparently, true!

All I had to do was soak a tiny piece of cotton in apple cider vinegar, squeeze out most of the excess liquid, place it on my wart, and cover and seal it with clear packaging tape. I wore this apple cider vinegar “band-aid” until it became too painful or fell off, perhaps 12 hours or so. I made myself another band-aid the next day, and the next. My wart turned black and peeled off in just three days—and it did not grow back.

(Note: the seal must completely block the cotton from the outside air. You will know the seal is good if the tape fogs up. Masking tape does not work, as I discovered. The websites I found recommended duct tape, but I didn’t have any around the house, so I used packaging tape, which worked swimmingly for me.)

So what is this medical story doing on a blog about wisdom and books? Well, it’s illustrative of how important storytelling is. The best answer to a given problem does not always emerge from the most obvious or authoritative place. Sometimes it does, of course. But at other times, it can be beneficial to seek out stories that others have told, whether on the Internet or in print, that may be applicable to your situation.

And maybe, just maybe, my story in this blog post will help someone else out there one day.*

Pass it on, friends: what medical mysteries have you solved recently?


*I am not a doctor. Nothing in this blog should be construed as medical advice. I have never set foot in a medical school. Honestly, people, the sight of blood makes me nauseous. The reader follows any advice herein at the reader's own peril and blah blah ditty blah as heretofore stated, ditty-duh blah blah bleh, and shall as per due process be assumed, to wit, construed, without bail, under the full persecution and disestablishment and distention and confection of the due ditty blah law, consequent to henceforward.

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