Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Big Toe

Two weeks ago today I had a minor surgical procedure on one of my big toes. I have had an ingrown toe nail for a LONG time, at least since the summer. It had been just annoying because my nail kept breaking off at about the half way point on my nail bed. I finally got my toe nail to grow better and fill in the full length of the nail bed. Sounded good, but the ingrown toe tail nail continued to be ingrown and it was down around the mid-part of my nail, not at the top edge.

On the first evening of snow day stir crazyness, I took matters into my own hands and tried to dig out the ingrown toe nail. I soaked my foot in the tub, got my nail file, nail clippers, and cuticle scissors and went to work. I created a lot of pain and drew blood, but didn't have much success in eliminating the problem.

The days went by and my nail was still annoying but nothing unusual in that. On Saturday night I began feeling this throbbing pain in my big toe. I took off my shoe and sock and discovered that the right side of my toe was red and swollen. Oh boy this looked like a trip to the doctor. Sunday night I was miserable. Luckily my G.P. could see me on MLK day. I went in got the chastising lecture an antibiotic prescription, and an appointment with the podiatrist.

I left school early on Wednesday to see the podiatrist. He looked at my toe and said I could do one of three things. 1. Take the antibiotic and see if I that takes care of the inflammation and see if the ingrown toe nail quits bothering me. 2. Remove the ingrown nail, but in looking at my nail shape he said that I would most likely continue having ingrown toe nails because my shoes are too tight. I need to wear different shoe. 3. Permanently remove a sliver of the toe nail to eliminate the reoccurring of an ingrown toe nail.

Number one in my opinion was not really an option. I had already taken matters into my own hands. Should/Would I really just leave the nail alone and it wouldn't bother me? Number two sounded fine but who likes to hear that the problem is going to continue. And realistically in the past I did have other ingrown toe nail problems just not as deep as this one. I did ask how I would find better shoes. How do you select nice looking not tight shoes. The doc says you go to a specialty store and recommended two places in town. Not guarantee on the nice looking factor. Judging by the looks of his shoes he wouldn't know what I was talking about. Number three seemed like a good possibility. He agreed and pointed out that I still should look into shoes with a wider toe span.

He got the nurse to read all the surgical wrongs that could happen and sterilize my toe. He came back and injected my toe in at least three places maybe four with a numbing agent. Let me tell you, the part of the toe stemming form the foot is extremely sensitive to shots. That was one of the most painful shots I have ever received. The doctor leaves and will return once the medication takes effect. As the area became numb the toe really began to hurt.

The doctor returns and sits at the foot of my reclined chair (much like a chair in the dental exam rooms). He says I don't recommend that my patients watch the procedure, but I'm not oppose to having them watch. Of course, my curiosity is not going to let me sit back and ignore this process. So I lean forward and settle in to watch how this is done. The doctor takes a tool (knife) and literally digs down along the side of my nail beginning at the base of my toe near the nail bed and working his way to the tip of the nail. My flesh is wiggling around, is deathly white, and there is no blood. I was completely grossed out. As the doctor moved towards the tip of my toe, I did feel the knife and gave a little yelp. He immediately stopped and asked if I felt that. Yes!! So he pulls out the shot and shoots my toe up again and says he will be back in 15 minutes.

Now, I have a strong gross threshold. I'd even go so far as to say a fascination with the medical procedures. I've done my share of watching, hand holding during procedures, and giving basic first aid while getting those bleeding professional help. Watching this initial part of the procedure about did me in. I was ready to leave when the doctor left. I was freaking out. I had to do the mental cheer leading calm down talk to get stay and let the doctor finish.

I had a magazine in my lap from the wait time in the exam room. So when the doctor walked back into the room I immediately picked up the magazine and began reading. I am sure he was thinking, "Told you not to watch!"

Recovery has been great. I am mourning the change in my shoe situation. After the surgery I could only wear loose shoes for the first two or three days. The only thing I had that wouldn't hurt were my crocs. Crocs and socks are a nice combination. After that I still needed shoes that were wider in the toe area since my toe did seem sensitive when closed in. It was quite easy to eliminate those shoe that are too tight. So now I'm on the hunt for fashionable and comfortable shoes. Let me say that these shoes are not cheap. I mean NOT cheap. I've only paid more for a pair of boots and not much more. So I'm down to wearing two pairs of shoes and my running shoes. Although I mostly feel fine I'm holding off on trying to wear some of my old favorite shoes. I can take a bath or swim in four more weeks, so at that point I should be completely healed. Then I may try to wear some of my other shoes and see how they feel. The two new expensive, comfortable pairs may have spoiled me.

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