Known Johnson

January 16, 2009

The inbred toenail is no more

Filed under: Annoyances,Weird — Tom @ 12:20 pm

You may recall an incident late last spring when I dropped a big ol’ box on my toe, effectively crushing it. It was annoying, but it healed. Unfortunately, however, like the proverbial stone in water, there are consequences that ripple off one event in unforeseen ways . . . such as a damned ingrown toenail. Now, I admit, it didn’t look all that bad to the untrained eye, but as soon as my foot doctor saw it a couple months back, she said, “That’s going to have to come off, kiddo.” And my stomach sank. I know what the North Vietnamese did to their prisoners. I heard about sticking bamboo shoots under finger nails, and I know how much it hurts to merely pull the nail away from the bed just a bit. No thank you. So I held off hoping it would just magically heal. And then the nail broke, revealing a disgusting, bloody little hole right where my nail was digging in. But then it kind of healed back, but was sore . . . I dealt with it. Until it broke again, and then I had to admit that something was really not right. I gave in and agreed to have it taken care of.

Here’s one thing I have learned: when you have something wrong, don’t look it up. Don’t Google it and then read responses on message boards from people who claim they’ve experienced the same thing, or have friends, aunts, or know the dogs of people who have had whatever you’re looking up done. It will serve you not at all to know what these people want to say. You know when you ask someone about something possibly negative, and they go, “Oh yeah, my dad had that!” and proceed to tell you some horror story about it? It’s ten times worse on the internet. They want you to suffer and worry and possibly cancel it until it’s really, really bad. Because that’s what they did. See, something else I learned is that most people wait a really long time to do health-related things and then it’s too late for the simple, easy procedure and they get to experience the really painful, awful, disgusting things, and sometimes they wait so long that it has to be done twice. Infections and whatnot, you know. But I’m digressing.

I went to my foot doctor yesterday with visions of infested toes and mangled nails, blood-oozing sores, all set to horrific stories of pain and drawn-out affliction, infection, and other forms of grossness. And it was all for naught. Here’s what happened: I read about this, and didn’t really get it, because I thought people were saying something in a clever way. She froze my toe. And I mean literally froze my toe. It was some kind of extremely cold liquid that she poured onto my toe, numbing it. And it was cold – painfully cold, until it went numb. And then she went in with the needle to numb it. I didn’t feel the first shot at all. Cool. The second one, she repeatedly told me to breathe deep, really deep, and I just wasn’t feeling it . . . until I did, and THEN I breathed REALLY deep. That, dear Readers, was the most pain I would feel the entire time. I heard lots of snipping and cracking – big toenails are kind of grossly thick, you know – and within about 5 minutes, it was done. I was bandaged up and ready to go.

Wrapped up from ingrown-toenail removal surgery

Since I obviously couldn’t wear a regular shoe with that, I was given this stylin’ foam shoe.

The smiley-face on the shoe really helps with the healing process

The smiley face is strategically placed over the big-toe area to induce quicker healing, or so I hear.

If you are brave, jump on over to the next page for . . . toe revealed!

Not really all that bad, actually - there's a lot more blood in the bandage, however

Not bad. There was a lot more blood in the bandage I removed this morning, however. I really expected more nail to be removed, but from what she said, my problem was that the nail was curving like a C into the nail bed, so I guess what I couldn’t see was more significant. The big worry, like I said above, was that eventually it will, not could, WILL get infected, and then it’s going to be a mess. Now I have no worries of that after this heals.

And how does it feel today? Pretty good – the nail itself is good. I still get a bit sore if I do something stupid like sit with my foot bent up under my chair, or lean on it the wrong way, but it quickly yells at me and I stick it straight out in front of me.

Now that I have this one taken care of, it makes me notice that the big toe on the left foot feels just a tiny bit sore . . .



  1. I just read this post and laughed out loud, as you were basically just describing my exact thought processes and my situation up to this point. I am having my toenail off in a week having put it off for bloody ages, so I’m more than a little nervous. Anyway, it was refreshing to read something light hearted and funny on the subject for a change. Good post.

    Comment by Charlie — May 8, 2009 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  2. Go have it done with no worries, Charlie. It was no big deal and, five months later, I have no regrets – it improved things I didn’t even think were associated with it. I had no idea I was getting an ache in my foot from that toe, but as soon as that ingrown toenail was gone, so was that ache. It was all-good, nothing bad. I obviously can’t promise anything about how yours will go, but I think if you have a good doctor who is being straight with you, you’re going to be doing yourself a huge favor. Your feet are so important, any little thing that makes them uncomfortable is going to have pretty big ramifications. Good luck!

    Comment by Tom — May 8, 2009 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

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