Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Tale of my Ingrown Toenail

“Is it going to be very painful”, I asked the surgeon.
“Yes, the injections are a little painful – three shots for local anesthesia”, said the surgeon.
I was in two minds again – to go ahead with the surgery or not.
“What is the other option”, I asked.
“You can take a course of antibiotics and painkillers and see me again after five days, then the chances of infection on the affected area would be less. But surgery cannot be avoided”, he asserted.

Sounds like a serious matter right? Can’t believe that the seemingly innocuous ingrown toenail can take you to the casualty ward of a hospital. I was mentally preparing myself for the inevitable pain and agony and decided to go for it. I firmly told myself: It is better to solve the problem than endure its symptoms repeatedly.

“We can do it right away, it may take an hour for the whole process, you need to take rest for two days and then visit me for removing the sutures”, said the doctor at Yashoda Hospital. As I needed someone to be with me for help I went home and brought my sister along with me.

There I was, lying on the operation ‘table’ (which was actually a stretcher), grimacing at the nurse who was trying to adjust the focused lamp on my foot, telling her about my phobia of needles and syringes and how I can’t stand the sight of blood. She laughed and told me that it’ll not be that painful. The surgeon, actually a plastic surgeon, reassured me that it’ll be okay soon. Nevertheless, deep in my heart I was actually very scared, I didn’t want to show it up, because I had decided to be bold and undergo this intervention. For everything there has to be a first time, isn’t it?

“You can see what I’m doing”, he said, “oh, no I won’t I’m scared” I immediately blurted out. “Okay, then relax” he comforted. First, I saw that he applied the yellowish brown solution (Betadine, as I learnt later) on my toes and part of my foot. Then he asked the ward boy to bring some surgical instruments and the nurse was ready with three syringes. This sight was enough for me to shut my eyes tight, turn my head and tell myself that it’s going to be fine soon.

Just then, I could feel three syringes being pricked in three different points of my big toe. I shrieked with pain. Next minute it was comfortably numb. I have no idea how the ingrown portion of the nail was removed, towards the end of the process I could feel that the skin was being tacked up. I asked him, “how long will it take for healing, will I be able to walk, drive, and carry on with routine soon?” He laughed and said, “Till now you were scared of surgery and now you are worried about healing”. He informed me about the precautions. I was advised to lie down for sometime before leaving the hospital.

The ‘real’ pain began after four hours of surgery when my toe was getting back to senses, it continued in spite of painkillers. I endured. I took all precautions not to hurt myself at this most exposed part of the body. I patted myself for this show of ‘courage’. I’m so glad now - my fear of injections and surgical instruments has considerably reduced. At least, that's how I'm feeling at this point in time:)

Few days later, the sutures were removed and the doctor advised me about how to prevent the problem of ingrown nails in future. "Just let your nails grow a little, file them and apply nail polish (this advantage is not for men as the surgeon said) why do you need cut them so deep!?" I smiled at him at the mention of nail polish and vowed to follow his advice carefully!

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