A woman brings her paperwork for the first time she’s seeing a podiatrist in her Cincinnati Reds tote. After meeting the podiatrist, Dr. Cardinal, she leaves his office with one less big toenail. Coincidence or conspiracy?
This really happened! The front of my feet hang over the footplate on my wheelchair and last week I hit the refrigerator with my right foot, my big toe taking the brunt of the collision. This is not new; I hit the fridge and counter bottoms often. Only this time the pain was especially nasty in the area of the toenail, which already hurt. It didn’t just go away, ike it usually does when I hit my toes. In fact the pain was there all day and when David took my shoes off that night, it was evident that there had been some bleeding.
The toe was actually okay, but a little sore the next day. It hurt like crazy in the nail area when I bumped it, but it was a brief pain and not incredibly unlike my toes often hurt, especially the big ones, around the nails when I bump them. The day after that was a different story!
The next morning David was helping me with my shoes and he slipped the canvas loafer over the tip of my foot and I started screaming to just take it off. The pain when the shoe hit the big toenail was excruciating. He got one of my too-big slippers on the foot and I was on the phone, first to the insurance company to see if a podiatrist was covered, then to a podiatrist. Good old insurance; I have the wrong disease to have a podiatrist cut my toenails, therefore knowing if thee is anything threatening my feet, but if I’m in pain, it’s absolutely okay to see a foot doctor.
So yesterday was my first-ever appointment with a podiatrist. There are several doctors at the foot and ankle clinic and they got me an opening with Dr. Cardinal. Hehe…You know my baseball brain; the first thing I thought was ‘so THIS is what the rookies do in the off-season.” Dr. Cardinal is not a rookie. He is an experienced and knowledgable professional with a reassuring and friendly bedside manner. I kinda thought the toenail was in bad shape and I knew a tone fungus had developed too. I was expecting that my first meeting with the podiatrist would include me coming back to have a toenail removal procedure. What I wasn’t expecting was him asking if I’m allergic to lidocaine and poking me in the foot in four places so I’d be numb enough to have the toenail removed in a half hour!
As I understood him, my toe hurt so bad because the nail was about 90% removed already and the 10% was just tugging on my toe bed constantly while the rest of the toe wiggled. He told me it was like a loose tooth in both what it was doing and how easy remove would be. I love a doctor who knows how to use a metaphor well so patients can understand.
A half hour after the numbing shots he was back and grabbed a couple of tools. He wanted me not to watch if I was squeamish about blood and I’d just feel a little pressure. I didn’t even feel that. I looked at him while he was talking and looked down because I did want to watch, but he was already holding my toenail in a tweezer-like tool in one hand and dabbing my bloody toe with gauze with the other. He held a little pressure on it with the gauze and then wrapped it up and sent me on my way with after-care instructions and directions to come back in 9 weeks unless there are issues with the healing before that. The foot doesn’t heal as fast as the mouth, but after a little pain when the lidocaine wore off yesterday, the pain’s been minimal today.
I miss my cute feet. At dinner for my 40th birthday I wore sandals that showed off my painted toenails. I will not have exposed toes at dinner when I turn 50. I probably won’t even have 10 toenails to paint yet ! But my ugly toes won’t hurt either!