Thank You Toe Much!

Today was less than pleasant. I had pretty high hopes that my new podiatrist would give me better news about my “funky toe”, but alas, he did not. The “funky toe” has been a part of my life for several years now, and it has become somewhat of a running joke between me and the BF. After a botched ingrown surgery, it started growing sideways. I have lived with it for several years albeit it’s unpleasant aesthetics. However, lately it has become a woe of a toe. After two courses of medicine, they ruled out an infection, and my poor deformed toe had no hopes of recovery. It was forever destined to be about as straight as Richard Simmons.

Sitting in the Podiatrist’s office is always awkward. It is for certain that I will be the youngest person there, and without contest, smell the best. It’s one of those places where you cringe before you sit, and hang your head in shame because you, too, are amongst the great unwashed. You are all there together… with your funky feet.

Of course, there are always those who want to swap those knee-slapping fun foot stories. An elderly woman made small talk with me about her compression stockings. Unfortunately for her, she searched for sympathy in an unlikely place. I pretty much told her to suck it up, because I wore them every day when I worked retail pharmacy for 12 hour shifts. Yes, putting them on is like trying to stuff a sausage down a drinking straw. Yes, they feel like demons are swallowing your legs whole. Yes, their ugliness makes one heck of a good birth control. But it’s either that or cankles. Choose your battles.

I sat down in the chair. Shamefully, I stared at “funky toe”. The Pod came in and presented me with two displeasing options: (1) We remove the nail and see if grows back correctly or (2) We remove the nail and it never grows back. I don’t think he understood the gravity of this decision… I am 27 years old. I love shoes. He doesn’t realize how important that toenail is to me. My shoes require it to be there… to be pink, blue, red, gold, or grey… with polka-dots or chevron… I told him I’d think about it and left.

After walking to the parking lot, I saw that it was pouring rain. Sigh. I thought about it. Might as well go back inside and get my toenail yanked off, right?

I sat back down in the chair. He proceeded to enter the office with a syringe of lidocaine. The needle was only about as long as my middle finger, and that was pretty much all I wanted to give him back after he stabbed my toe three times with it. He gave me a pat on the shoulder and said, “You just wait right here.” Like I was going to limp off somewhere, with my neuropathic great toe. As I watched my  toe swell up to the size of a potato, I silently wept inside.

He came back in and grabbed some sort of metal contraption and I looked away. I felt a pressure, heard a pop, and he said “there we go!” Oh, TOE! It was gone and it looked wretched. He started explaining the regrowth expectancy (a year) and the wound care component of the process and I zoned out… all I could think about was no more open-toed shoes for the next… Wait… What?! The NEXT YEAR!?!

After writing a check for $250 for this highly educated man to literally rip my toenail off with a pair of pliers, I collected my Rx for some Tylenol #3’s and Keflex. I sulked out of the office and limped to my car, staring at my foot the entire way, looking at the hideous thing wrapped up in Coban tighter than a rubberband around a walrus.

Then I had lunch… with a piece of Key Lime cake… and mourned my loss. As of yet, the toe is regaining it’s feeling and I’m about ready to make myself a codeine milkshake and toast to the life of my toenail. Here’s toe you, may shoe rest in piece.

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The Jogger

A couple came in together, both of them only a few months away from turning 80. My patient was accompanied by his wife and caregiver who displayed her devotion by holding his hand in hers throughout the entire visit. She was telling me how she had starting jogging when she was 74-years-old and now jogs 3 miles every morning, which has resulted in over 100 pounds of weight loss. She explained, “I just finally decided to do something about my OWN health.” With a sweet smile, she patted their clasped hands with her other and continued, “I just have to make sure I live ONE DAY longer than THIS butthole!” Now if that ain’t true love, I don’t know what is!