To: ****@***.com (shawn porter)
From: ***********@*****.com (RK)
Subject: thumb and big toe amputation. October 1997
Recently I heard of a fellow who decided to amputate his big toe. There have always been warnings. There is an artery there. You could end up in the emergency room of the hospital. It will affect your balance. You will join the school of funny walks from the Monty Python Flying Circus. Don’t do it!!! BE CAREFUL!!!!
Curiosity killed the cat and Satisfaction brought him/her back. Well, when one experiments with amputating a big toe or thumb, there is little room for experimentation OR if you are alone you could get in big trouble! I heard that fellow one did not end up in the ER and fellow two did. Fellow three ended up in the ER without even amputating a thumb or big toe. He only did a regular finger.
What is the problem. Foolhardy me- I decided to go the route and do my own experiment. My only minor goof was that I did not have the number of a car service in case I got into trouble. WHAT IS THE TROUBLE??? Excessive arterial blood that is probably the major problem. I was a boy scout and their motto is be prepared so that is what I did- I got prepared, at least that is what I was TRYING to do.
How can one cut off a portion of big toe and not bleed to death?? Here is a list of my preparations and what I was going to do:
The farther out on the thumb or big toe one amputates, the smaller the arteries get so I decided to only amputate to the first joint. The further back you go the bigger the artery. By allowing for that short stump I was allowing room for my next secret weapon of caution and preparedness. In case there really would be excessive bleeding I decided to have light rubber tourniquettes. I placed a wide rubber band on my thigh, two narror rubber bands (postal size) on the intep arch, and a wide rubber band on my two middle two stumps and the big toe back of the first joint.
I got all my bandages, and tools ready, and ate my yogurt 30 minutes before operation. I took my two pain killing pills 30 minutes before operation. I got a bucket of Ice Water ready, because I numb the big toe. Of course I scrubbed and used alcohol on me and my tools.
The moment of decision came, and I started to numb the big toe. It took longer than the smaller toes. Finally, I positioned my 25mm chisel, and hammer and discovered that I could have used a wider chisel, which I didn’t have. Thunk, thunk, thunk, it took a couple more but I did go through with it, but it did take gathering up some courage, after all, I have never dealt with an artery. Would all my preparations work??
At a certain point of going through with the chisel was a spray of blood a little like a little water pistol. Immediately after going through and lifting my foot and noticing that my big toe was now seperated, I started pressure with 75mmx75mm bandages. If I would have not used the rubber tourniquettes, I might have excessive bleeding, but I didn’t. The blood was about the same as my other toes. Eventually I rested, although I did not sleep well. There was more shock than other toes.
The next morning I went to work and while at work, after 12 hours since the amputation, I noticed that after all my bandage changing, the bleeding had stopped. I hardly limped when I came home from work. It will probably take 4 weeks to stop completely limping and 8 weeks to heal over the scab. It may take even longer due to the larger size of the big toe. Would I do the other big toe?? I probably would because I know that the bleeding can be controlled. I had been walking up to one mile, (1-1/2 km) not using the ball of the big toe and I don’t think I will be limping, but my gait will lose it’s spring.
In order to control the bleeding, I stopped taking aspirin and other anti-inflamatory medicines which thin the blood. I eat a lot of beets, tomatoes, and drink grape juice to aid the blood, so I did quickly coagulate.
If any of you have further questions, feel free to email me and I will answer any questions you have. Right now I just have three stumps on my left foot and the big toe and 3 stumps on the right foot.
Yours in more and better stumps,
This article ran in 1997 on the spcOnline site. Toecutter’s emails were always presented as-is, with the grammar/spelling errors intact. In 1998 he allowed BME’s Shannon Larratt to visit his NYC apartment and document a self-done fingertip amputation procedure. The video is wonderfully surreal, a perfect video portrait of Toecutter.