The Case of the Missing Toenail

When it comes to minor ailments, I’m always trying to figure out “Why me?” usually while applying Neosporin and a Band-Aid.

As soon as I bought those cute new sandals, Murphy’s Law kicked in. If you buy a new pair of sandals and spend an hour giving yourself a pedicure, you can pretty much count on something bad happening.

I put on my cute new sandals and wiggled my five little piggies only to notice to my horror that one of my piggies was turning purple. I tried soaking it in Epsom salt and warm water. I promised to return the sandals and wear only crocks if only the toe would return to being its own pink self.

But it soon became obvious that a podiatrist was in my future.

I checked the Yellow Pages before it occurred to me that the Yellow Pages might not be the best way to find a doctor. So I called the Physician’s Referral service of my insurance company and after spending an hour on hold and being transferred several times, they finally gave me the name of the same podiatrist that I had found in the Yellow Pages.

I called and made an appointment. Of course, I had already looked it up on Google and found that black toenails come from injuries to the base of the toenail and there is nothing you can do about it except go to a doctor or let it fall off.

By the time I filled out all the paper work at the doctor’s office and found out about all the horrible foot deformities that I did not have and had never heard of, I was feeling pretty healthy and was wondering what I was doing there. A large lady in tennis shoes sat across from me glaring as if she knew I was taking up the doctor’s time for something insignificant.

Before I could escape, however, the receptionist grabbed my insurance card, and the nurse whisked me into a back room where I was told to remove my shoes and sit on the chair that reminded me vaguely of a dentist chair. I looked behind me and saw no drills, so I must be in the right place.

I thought perhaps they planned to steal my shoes when I wasn’t looking so I couldn’t run out the back door. I kept an eye on my shoes and waited for them to soak my feet and trim my nails, like they do at the nail salon. But apparently they didn’t know about pedicures.

The doctor came in and glanced at my sick toe briefly then informed me, “The toenail needs to come off.”

Wait a minute. I need all my parts. I hadn’t planned on surgery. “Won’t it come off by itself?” I asked.

“That is not an option,” he huffed.”You don’t want it to get infected.”

He gave me a couple of shots in the toe to numb it. “This is the worst part,” he said. I knew the man had dentist genes. There is always a needle the size of a jack hammer lurking somewhere.

“It is loose already,” he said.

Yes, that is what the dentist said, I thought, right before I kicked a hole in the ceiling.

I don’t remember what happened after that. I couldn’t look and I don’t want to remember. When I came back to earth, my toenail was missing and the nurse was bandaging my toe and telling me that it would grow back and only be sore for a few days.

I wondered how I would get my shoes back on over my fat toe, but I was high motivated to get out of there before he decided to remove anything else. So I jamed the shoe on and hobbled out the door.

“Do you come back in two weeks?” asked the receptionist.

“No, he said he does not want to see me again unless I have a problem.”

That makes us even. I don’t want to see him again either.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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6 Responses to The Case of the Missing Toenail

  1. I. Hobbes says:

    Spot on! Dentists, podiatrists….they all graduate from the same sadist schools! haha. But I am sorry to hear about your ordeal. When I was a teenager I got a splinter so deep in my toe that the doctor had to surgically cut it out. I cringe around untreated/splintered floorboards to this day.


  2. Lois Hunter says:

    Ouch. I don’t know what would be worse. Letting the nail fall off on it’s own, or dealing with a jerk doctor with needles. I agree that you should keep wearing your sandals. Hope it heals fast.


  3. Sheila Moss says:

    I have only been that one time and hope it stays that way.


  4. Sarah Davis says:

    Sorry. I have been in a similar situation before. Wear your sandals anyway, most people will never notice. I also think podiatrist are required to have a certain jerk personality traits.


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