Sometimes you are just cruising through life, enjoying the carefree nature of summer and worshiping God in another country. And other times you learn that such a thing as “toe seeds” exist.
This is a blog about toe seeds.
About two weeks ago I set off on a mission trip to Barcelona, Spain with my students at church. (I am a youth intern if you did not know). I was ecstatic about the opportunity not only to spread the gospel and help the local churches in any way possible, but also about getting to know the students a bit better.
Most of the students on the trip were ones that I did not get many opportunities to chat with during the week, so I was excited about the chance to get to know them (right before I leave of course…but that’s a story for another time).
We were staying at a hostel in Barcelona, which meant I ended up in a room with 6 other girls. And if you have ever been to any sort of away camp you know what that entails. We had luckily made it about halfway through the week with relatively few problems when one of the students came downstairs to ask me for a band-aid.
Let me preface this by saying that my specific group went into the week with the idea that we were going to be doing ministry in the park every night. We thought that this would look something like: a craft table, a skit, and some random sports-related activities like 4-square and juggling a soccer ball while the people who were the most proficient at speaking Spanish attempted to preach the gospel.
What ended up happening however was pretty much what we expected PLUS about an hours worth of line dancing every night to bangers like Boot Scootin’ Boogie, Footloose, Chatahoochie, and of course, the American classic, The Cupid Shuffle.
Never in my life did I think the cupid shuffle would lead people to Jesus, but alas…you learn something new every day. Apparently Spanish people love watching stereotypical white people dance in sync to mediocre songs.
Anyways. After about 4 nights of dancing our hearts out in shoes not made for dancing, one of the students, we will call her M, came downstairs with blisters on her feet.
M: Do you have any band-aids? I have so many blisters.
Me: Yeah, I have band-aids specifically for blisters. I also have Peppa Pig and Sesame Street if you prefer band-aids with joy in them.
M: I’ll take the blister band-aid for this one, but I don’t know about the one under my toe. It is just some skin, I might try to clean it out. Does anyone have tweezers?
(You are getting day-to-day insight on the teenage girl. Sorry if this shatters any bubbles).
M gets some tweezers and she starts to clean out the skin under her toenail. The rest of us go about our business until she mentions that her toe hurts and she thinks it is bleeding but she cant tell.
G, who had given her the tweezers, goes to take a look and abruptly shrieks:
G: “You have toe seeds!”
Immediately, and in perfect synchrony, two tears run down M’s face as her eyes widen in shock.
G: It is a plantar wart. I’ve had them before. It is basically a wart under the skin and then the fungus grows and they look like seeds but it is just the fungus.
At which M begins to cry hysterically.
G: You guys. Come look! You can see all of the toe seeds.
Me: *moving to sit down by M, looking at G*
Probably stop saying ‘toe seeds.’
G: Yeah… But don’t worry! It’s okay! You just have to go the doctors and they will clean them out for you!
M takes this in for about 5 seconds before blurting out:
I don’t have insuraaaaaaannnnnccccceeeeee.
At this point I am wheezing. The rest of the girls huddle around us stifling their own giggles as they watch in horror as M cradles her infected toe, her hysterical crying turning into hysterical laughter because… toe seeds. What in the heck.
G: You should definitely cover them with a sock or something though because they are contagious. And everyone should wear their shoes inside. And also no-one touch her foot. Oh my gosh I touched her foot.
This was most definitely the wrong thing to say as M begins to cry again and starts apologizing to everyone, convinced that she had already given us all her toe seeds.
Us: It’s okay. It’s not your fault.
M: Yeah but before I knew they were toe seeds I put them on the flooooooooor.
Eyes widen. Laughter bursts out in unison. Everyone jumps onto a bed. M continues to cry on the floor and I take a brief moment to google plantar warts because there is no way this actually happens to people. But as it turns out, toe seeds are very real. And M most definitely had them.
We bandaged her up with about three layers of band-aids, including Peppa Pig and Cookie Monster because we decided that they would obviously make the situation better.
We all calm down long enough for someone to say:
There are probably toe seeds in the shower!
After the two hours of borderline meltdown came to a close I got a final glimpse of M, wearing her one sock and mascara streaks proudly as she headed off to bed and was reminded that I should never get too complacent in life.
At 1 am I heard a quiet “sorry guys,” from upstairs and I pretty much laughed myself to sleep.
I am two weeks removed from the situation and still find myself giggling any time I even think of the words ‘toe seeds.” M is doing fine. She told me her mom has made her put bleach on her toe every night. She also told me that she can’t tell if the bleach worked or her toe is just chemically burned. Either way she is feeling better. (She also gave me permission to write this story, so don’t worry).
Moral of the story- get yourself some good friends. The kind who will laugh AND cry with you (possibly at the same time), and will bandage up your toe fungus with cartoon bandages and only gag a little bit. It also helps to have friends well versed in the toe seed department because you never know when they will strike. Apparently plantar warts are very common.
Smaller moral of the story, always wash your feet before bed. And get any mysterious blisters checked out before they start growing seeds.