Wednesday, February 20, 2019

If All You Have is A Lot of Pain Everything Looks Like a Nail



Yesterday's post was very long and slightly boring so I am thinking about writing today something that isn't boring or navel-gazing but all I can think of really is the fact that I didn't actually break my toe on Christmas like I reported a few posts back.

I lacerated the nail bed in my toe. I know this because a week before Christmas I got a pedicure with some of the womenfolk in my Kendrick family and I chose hot pink. Hot pink was my "color of 2018" (2019 is teal) I see the world in color first--words, numbers, letters, the way I organize or design my home or closet or what I wear, how I experience nature--always color first. Even years have colors (2015 was orange-red).

Ok this is also getting boring.

But anyway, I colored my toes this beautiful hot pink color and I didn't want to look down and see my big sad banged up toe without the color so I refused to take the polish off after the eventful Christmas tragedy. My toe eventually felt better and I could semi-exercise on it and I thought we were all good. Then last week it started to hurt with a sensation I would describe as constant shark teeth ripping the flesh and bone right off my foot. I hope this is less boring now.

So I finally took the hot pink off my poor nail and wow, it looked like dark space under there. Like the very mysterious and unsolvable black hole. Like it was a portal to another dimension, even. Everything was bruised and traumatic and I became slightly worried about the recent painful regression. So I went to a podiatrist who told me that indeed I had fracture my nail bed. Not my toe itself. He came to this conclusion after he wiggled my toe around like an old school Atari stick.

This meant that a new nail was trying to grow upward and outward but my dead nail (though once  bravely decorated in that hot pink of 2018) was agitating my skin. Perfectly normal. So he sprayed my foot with a freezing solution and gave me four of the least gentle shots in my life to numb the four MAJOR NERVES that run through our toes (yes, yours AND mine) and then he sterilized his instruments and started to cut off my former nail.

I thought it would be interesting to watch because I couldn't feel a thing, but if watching a podiatrist with scissors cutting your nail straight down the middle is your thing because you like documentaries on triage then you would've had a very exciting morning in that office. I lasted maybe six seconds before I couldn't take it anymore. I looked away until my detached dead toenail was plunked down on the metal tray next to my face (ping!). Still slightly stained with hot pink, but entirely purplish black, the very color of death. I looked at it longingly. Like a cherished limb almost.

But not at all.

But sorta?

He told me in three days I wouldn't have any pain, and he was right. But now I do have an oddball of a crescent toe showing up down there. He even said I shouldn't paint the thing until it's grown back in a thick, robust way (hello!) and to "paint it with anti-fungal lacquer". I am learning so much about nail care these days. And I do feel grateful that this seems to be the most pressing pain in my life. You gotta appreciate the easy times, when not being able to paint your big toe teal (for 2019) is your biggest personal hardship.

At the beginning of this post I said I didn't want to be navel-gazing but this was definitely nail-gazing.  But it was traumatic, a real bed of nails. The Dr told me how impressed he was that I endured the pain for so long before the pain had me nailed to a wall "Shucks," I told him, "some say I am as tough as nails." But I wanted to really hit the nail right on the head when I wrote about this harrowing journey so I had to nail down a time when I could do it justice.

Anyway I might be biased, but I think I nailed it.