You know you are getting old when you feel the Occupational Health & Safety chaps have a point about the risks associated with open toe sandals. In one quick stumble in January, I managed to leave half a toe nail hanging by a thread, resulting in a number of choice phrases crossing my lips as I hopped up the front path clasping the afflicted foot in a move reminiscent of yoga devotee stung by a bee.
I’m a vain type, and also fond of my toes, they being one of the few body parts I am happy to flash in public, so I nursed the doomed nail on for a bit, even though it was obvious that a parting of the ways was imminent. I attempted to delay things by wrapping a large sticking plaster around the afflicted toe, only to wake at 2 a.m. convinced of the onset of gangrene owing to the painful throbbing and the fact that what could be seen of the toe appeared to be glowing red in the dark. Given the tenuous grip of the nail, ripping the plaster off was obviously out of the question, which is how I found myself balancing on the side of the bath in the early hours performing minor surgery on the plaster with a pair of blunt nail scissors.
The only upside of the absolutely hopeless summer in Sydney where rain was the order of the day, was that my feet were more likely to be shoved into my fetching leopard skin wellies than called upon to make an appearance in public, so once the toe nail and I called it quits. I breathed a sigh of relief and waited for time to restore me to my former ten-toed glory.
Then began a nagging kind of pain, similar to the dental type ache that generally heralds a sucking in noise from both dentist and credit card, only this time, the pain was in my foot. Ingrowing toenail is not a phrase I ever wanted to have flashing across my brain. So far as I am concerned it belongs firmly in the ‘piles’ section of unfashionable ailments. There are after all limited instances of heroines reclining on sofas suffering from ingrowing toenails or of heroes nobly hobbling on.
Faced with this latest manifestation of body falling apart, I made the almost fatal mistake of consulting the Internet. I should point out that if my toenail reaches the point of surgical intervention, that despite being the most appalling publicity hound, I will not be recording the operation and posting the results on YouTube, but rest assured people do. The mere sight of surgical instruments being waved around defenceless tootsies was quite enough to make my bottom hurt, not to mention toes curl. In the meantime I’m googling the number for the man no girl wants to admit to having on speed dial – the podiarist.