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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Do-it-yourself podiatry

For the last several years, my toes and I have had, at best, a strained relationship. They don't like me and I don't particularly like them, but without them my sandals would fall off and without me they'd never get to see interesting new places so we put up with each other. A few months ago, though, they went too far.

The story goes back to the summer of 1998 when I accidentally dropped a lawnmower on my foot (I know, I know, everyone has a "dropped a lawnmower on my foot" story). I was working at summer camp, and I was supposed to take a bunch of little kids on a hayride but the camp tractor still had the lawnmowing attachment on the back (looked sort of like this). When I disconnected it, it fell onto my foot - caught me right on my left big toenail. I'm fairly sure that's the most pain I've ever been in; I was completely incapacitated for a few minutes (and the close proximity of the camp pool made it impossible to let loose with any really cathartic language).

That toenail fell off a few days later, but apparently my toe was still mad at me because when it grew back it never really grew back connected to the toe and it fell off again about a year after that (meanwhile, I also lost my right big toenail after a kid from my youth group stepped on it during a heated game of "Try to Knock Mark DeVries Over with Sofa Cushions". Youth ministry is dangerous stuff). The third time seemed to be the charm, though - the toenail looked a little weird but seemed to be functional. Until last May.

Last May the inside edge of the toenail started growing down into my toe. Apparently the toenail had gotten sick of dealing with me and had decided to just remove my toe so it and the toenail could go be happy on their own. I couldn't help but admire its initiative, but I didn't want to give up my toe. After a month, it had become painful to put on shoes (not often a problem for me since I'm a devoted sandal-wearer, but I have a shoe-requiring and walking-intensive job) and every so often I'd catch the toe on something and have an entrant in the running contest to beat having a lawnmower fall on my foot for "most painful experience ever". Clearly, something needed to be done. I talked to some friends and co-workers and they all told me to go see a doctor, who would cut away the part of the toenail that was digging into my toe and leave me with an oddly-shaped but no longer painful toenail. Most of that sounded fine, but it seemed silly to me to pay someone else to cut part of my toenail off when I had plenty of cutting implements handily available to me. And so, Gentle Readers, I present for your personal edification Charlie Rod's Handy Guide to Do-It-Yourself Toenail-In-The-Toe Amelioration. All you need is a Swiss Army knife and a pair of pliers. I personally vouch for its effectiveness.

And that's today's handy tip. If any of you ever have reason to try it, please let me know - I'll be curious to see if your experience varies from mine. I'll try to post again fairly soon so that this entry doesn't stay at the top of the page for overly long.

May I just say JEEEEZ! That's the most unpleasant thing I've read in a while, made moreso by the fact that I can picture you actually doing it. Not that I'm ever one to question your sanity or anything . . .

I think the reason you're supposed to go to a podiatrist is so they can administer a local anesthetic and catch you if you faint from blood loss.

One thing I would like to see is the reaction of a qualified podiatrist to the various contents of this post.

Actually, I'd be curious just to see Mom's reaction.

Ouch. That's all I can muster at the moment. At least I feel somewhat better about the whole childbirth thing, though.
Ummmm, Charlie? I never knew you were so brave in the face of pain. Also... Ick, but I hope that you have many years of discomfort free toes.

Your friend,
Carrie D.

P.S. I have enjoyed reading all your blogs and I look forward to reading what your mind comes up with next.
That, my friend, was one of the most unpleasant stories/how-to guides I've read in some time. Maybe ever!

Back when I was a young lad growing up in Waverly, I experienced the pain of an ingrown toenail. On several occasions I removed just the sharp "corner" of the nail that was growing into my toe, but I never went so far as to hack my toenail apart and tug on the various pieces with pliers. That, I think, would have hurt immensely. Instead, after enduring a few months of discomfort and pain, I made an appointment with a trained, lisenced podiatrist, who rather quickly remedied the problem using sterile instruments. It still hurt, but not nearly as much as it hurt me to read your tale... and Dr. Ficksyerfut didn't even administer a local anesthetic. The next day I pitched in a high school baseball game.

My story wasn't nearly as icky (nor as helpful for those opposed to seeing an actual podiatrist). It wasn't even funny--only relevant. Maybe that's not enough to warrant my sharing it... Clearly, though, it's too late now. Heck, I might as well go on.

Since my visit to the podiatrist, I've suffered some other milder cases of ingrown toenails, and I've taken care of those myself. I didn't remove as much of the nail as the podiatrist (or as Charlie) did, but enough that it seemed to take care of the problem. Instead of a Swiss Army knife and pliers, though, I just used some toenail clippers.

And now, on an only barely related note, I'll share another brief story. A while back I was driving to work and passed a sign that read "Iowa Podiatric Dental Associates." I did a double-take and wondered to myself, "Why the poo would anyone combine podiatry and dentistry? That's so, so weird." Then I looked again and realized that the sign actually said "Iowa Pediatric Dentistry Associates," and then it made more sense.

Au revoir.
All you do is brag, "Digger" Hibs. You should start a blog; that would be some entertaining reading.
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