Friday, April 04, 2008

Journal of a Living Lady #319
Nancy White Kelly

You will never hear me complain about birthdays. Living through two major bouts of metastatic cancer makes me appreciate every one of them. Yet, getting older brings limitations. Cutting my own toenails is beyond me now.

I can barely reach my toes which are not entirely due to age. While putting on hosiery is a struggle, it is still doable. Trimming my own toenails is impossible.

For the last couple of years I have joined the rank of the privileged. Frugal me has paid someone else to do that chore, heretofore unthinkable.

Working five days a week as a school marm, plus Saturdays at the Ye Old Coin Shop, make time a precious commodity. I took advantage of having a few extra hours during spring break and stopped by a leased nail salon inside Wally World. No appointment was needed.

A pleasant Asian-looking woman settled me into a vibrating chair that provided a pulsating back massage. What a welcomed retreat.I shut my eyes to the world. Without conversation, the girl guided each foot in and out of the swirling water with jus the poke of a finger.

Unexpectedly, the pedicurist had an aggressive style. She scrubbed my soles and toes with a short brush. Each sweep of the bristles began with a jab. The rough brushing became increasingly uncomfortable. I said nothing, believing that the procedure was a taught one which would soon stop.

My golden silence became red blood when the girl brushed the exterior of my big toe one last time. Unfazed, the young woman dabbed my raw toe with wet cotton before painting my toenails. No acknowledgement or apology was forthcoming. Nonchalantly she moved to next customer.

I waited in quiet shock as the toe paint dried. After several minutes I gathered my purse and glasses. The girl informed me that I needed to wait another 30 minutes before wearing my shoes. Noticing my frown, she offered some thin yellow flip-flops. I paid the male cashier as if nothing unusual had happened and even gave the girl a tip. At home I applied a topical ointment hoping that all would be well eventually.

All during the night my toe throbbed. When I told Buddy I was going to skip Sunday school, he knew something was wrong. He over-reacted just as I feared he might. It was good that the salon was closed and the girl unidentified. If you know my Buddy, it is a bad thing to mess with his wife.

Buddy hurriedly changed his church clothes. Mumbling something about staph, he pretended to order me into the car. That began a brief spat.

“Not going,” I argued. “Emergency rooms are for life-threatening emergencies.”

“This could cost you your toe, your foot and even your life,” he replied. “Get into the car.”I finally gave in to the benign badgering and offered a compromise.

Buddy drove to the walk-in clinic much too fast. Ironically we ended up waiting nearly three hours amidst coughing and barfing.

The diagnosis was as expected: “Punctured toe, infected abrasion...” Antibiotics were prescribed.
It has been three days now. Small red lines are sprouting north of my toe knuckle. (There is such a thing, isn’t there?)

I’ll watch and wait. My purse is $24 dollars lighter for the pedicure. Needless to say the pedicurist didn’t cure my ped. A check for the prescriptions will hit the bank tomorrow. I can hardly wait for the doctor bill.

The only up-side to this story is that I have ten pretty toenails.

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