Toenails and Teeth

My Own Toenails Don’t Look Anywhere Near So Good

I am happy to say that basically I am in good health, even though I have lived three quarters of a century. Of course, I still don’t have a pituitary gland (and never will), and my Type II Diabetes, though under control, doesn’t show signs of leaving.

Of late, my major complains have to do with my ingrown toenails and my teeth, both problems I inherited from my father. My father also had Diabetes, and suffered from the pain of excruciating neuropathy. Back in his day, though, I don’t think that his doctors really understood Diabetes. Neither did anyone in my family. The word for Diabetes in Hungarian is cukor (pronounced TSOO-khor), the same as the word for sugar. Naturally, people believed that if you switched from sugar to saccharin, everything would be A-OK.

This week I have been soaking my toes in warm water with Epsom Salts, applying triple antibiotic ointment to two ingrown nails, and bandaging them—with Martine’s help. Tomorrow, I see the podiatrist who will past judgment on how strictly I’m going to have to care for them.

I have bad teeth, but much of the problem is my own fault. I have generally avoided brushing my teeth; consequently, plaque ran wild, caused cavities, and in general undermined my crowns. Only recently, I bought an electric rotary toothbrush (Oral B) and began the long slow process of undoing a whole lot of negligence. Medicare takes care of my toes, but teeth are an entirely different matter. As things stand, I could easily spend $20,000 or more in the next two years on my teeth—and I can’t really afford that.

 

 

Bad Toenail Karma

Toenail Edges Growing Into the Skin

I think it all started with my father. He had thick toenails that tended to curl inward as they grew. The end result: a tendency toward ingrown toenails. I remember once going with him to my podiatrist in Los Angeles. He was in such pain from the cleaning out of the ingrown toenails that he resolved never again to visit a podiatrist.

It was my misfortune to inherit my father’s toenails. Mine, in fact, are so thick that I could probably slice through heavy sheet metal with my bare feet. The difference is that I go to a podiatrist regularly to clip my nails and dig out the ingrown ones. And I tend to have at least one or two a month. Yes, it is painful; but catching them early is less painful than neglect.

Is it my shoes? I don’t believe so, if only because my toes never hurt when I walk. The only time I feel I have an ingrown toenail is from the weight of my bedsheets brushing against my toenails.

What can I do about my ingrown toenails? Since I can’t control how my toenails curcl as they grow, I just have to grin and bear it.