Since our first meeting, I have been seeing my podiatrist Dr Paa every 3 weeks to have him sculpt the two stubborn calluses near my big toe. My pesky bunion causes the regular medical visit, which is mutually beneficial. The benefit for me: I save myself from back strain when I don’t have to bring my face down to my right foot; or from cramp when I don’t have to bring my right foot up to my face. In addition, my good compadre Medicare pays for the procedure. The benefit for Dr Paa: He has a commanding view of my foot from his armchair and in less than half a minute, he completes a lucrative billable job. Plus, if he happens to be one of the 60% of the podiatrists who, according to my unreliable sources, have a kinky thing for big toes, he also gets some jollies. So every 3 weeks, Dr Paa and I go through the same routine, which is swift, in and out under 10 minutes. Done deal. We part, both happy.
In my latest visit, however, nothing was routine. A soon as I entered Dr Paa’s office, I announced with a broad grin, Do I have a new job for you! And what is that? he asked. I answered, Ingrown big toe nail! His eyes glistened with excitement: That’s my specialty! I muttered to myself, You don’t say! Could there be truth to the 60% rumor?
Prior to that visit, the only clue I had about ingrown toenails was from years ago when an employee of mine told me about an ingrown toenail for which she had to get emergency treatment that past weekend. I feigned sympathy but in the back of my head, she was just distracting me. Now after experiencing an ingrown toenail myself, I can safely say it is very painful indeed especially if it’s infected. Even the the weight of a bed sheet feels like a ton of bricks bearing on the poor toe. I secretly apologize to my unsuspecting ex-employee for my having been a cold-heart, inconsiderate, but otherwise wonderful and awesome human being. I feel better now.
Back to Dr Paa. He studied my right foot on his low working table, his eyes focused on the big toe. On the table was a small canister of freezing spray, a special longer-than-usual shiny toenail clipper, a bottle of antibiotic, and a couple of individually wrapped band-aids. When he aimed the the spray on my big toe, I commented, That was infected yesterday but I took care of it. He seemed annoyed, as if I had encroached on a possession of his. How did you do that? He looked at me eyeball to eyeball. I replied, I followed Dr Google’s advice to soak my foot in warm water with vinegar. He lightened up. Yes, he agreed. That will draw out the infection. I felt better, remembering the ball of dried pus that had emerged from the affected nail in the morning.
Snip. Went the clipper. In a few seconds, the whole procedure was over. My big toe felt relieved of painful pressure. Dr Paa went short of beating his chest proudly for his accomplishment. I gave him more reason to be proud. I asked him why I was having ingrown toenails, something I had never had before. Blame the aging process, he suggested. Nail becomes harder, skin gets thinner, yada, yada. I know, I assured him, who’s no spring chicken himself. Aging is not for amateurs.
Two weeks later I was back again in front for the same procedure on the other side of the right big toe. After the successful operation, he quipped, How about that! You have two problems and they were on the same big toe. I guess I was supposed to celebrate the circumstance.
I was so pleased with Dr Paa’s work that I went on and phoned my Son the Sculptor and shared my experience. I told him he should not have to suffer from the pain of ingrown big toe nail. Go straight to a podiatrist, I advised. That’s what podiatrists do. At the end, I asked, Have you ever had ingrown big toe nail? Yes, he answered, when I was a teenager. Really? What happened? I asked in quick succession. He answered, You did surgery on it. OMG! I couldn’t remember that event but knowing me, it was quite conceivable that I did it. Noticing my big silence, he pushed some more: Blood all over! Then I knew he was putting me me on, trying to get even with me. I had told him years ago how lucky he was. I suffered from postpartum depression after he was born and could have put him in the microwave oven.
Happy dance, Happy Toes!