The first time I ever trimmed Dad’s toe nails was when we moved him up here to be closer to us. He had just been discharged from a skilled nursing facility, after a hospitalization for pneumonia where he suffered a significant adverse drug reaction (another story for another post…). After our 3-hour drive home, I took his shoes off so that he could take a nap. I quickly noticed that his toe nails looked as if they had not been tended to for some time. So as a dutiful daughter, I decided to cut them. I thought, how bad could this be?
As I gently positioned his (somewhat sweaty and rather pungent) feet across my lap, I looked down and noticed that the nails on his left foot appeared to be yellow, thick and kind of spongy – most likely a fungal infection. They were gross quite honestly, but I was determined to get the job done. Starting with the non-infected side, I began clipping. One, two, three toes done – alright not bad, I’ve got this. As I finished with the right and moved to the left, things got a little tougher. The nails were definitely infected with something that made the job more difficult. I leaned in and kept going. That’s when it happened. As I made the final cut, the toe nail clipping sprung up and landed directly in my eye! I leapt up and ran to the bathroom. I could feel it in there, its sharp little edges, but couldn’t immediately see it. Upon further investigation, I could see the dreadful thing down in the lower part of my eye lid. Despite every attempt I made to get it out, it remained. The longer I worked on it, the worse it got lodged. And the more I thought about my predicament, the more I got nauseated and worked up. How could such a simple task of goodwill turn into such a fiasco? By the time my husband arrived home from work, I was in such a complete state of panic that I could barely verbalize what was going on. Meanwhile, Dad was fast asleep.
James asked, “What the heck is wrong with you?”
Hands frantically waving around my face, “It’s in my eye, it’s in my eye!”
“What’s in your eye?”
“A piece of Dad’s toe nail!”
“A – PIECE – OF – DAD’S – TOE – NAIL!!”
More calmly; “How did that happen?”
Honestly, did I really need to explain this right now? “I was clipping his toe nails and a piece flew up and landed in my eye!! GET IT OUT!!”
“Ok, ok, relax! Come over to the sink.”
After another minute or so with the help of a Q-Tip, James finally retrieved the sickening piece of cuticle. After it was all over, I could just feel the intense dryness of having cotton swabbed over and over again in the lower half of my eye lid. What an ordeal!
3+ years later and for whatever reason, I still regularly cut Dad’s nails. I suppose we could have the onsite podiatrist take care of this, but I just can’t cough up $40 a month for something that takes me 5-minutes to do. Not sure if Dad remembers his inaugural pedicure or not, but we kid around every time we trim his nails. I usually say, “Hey, bet you never imagined we’d be having this much fun when you were in your eighties?!” He typically chuckles, then I shut my eyes very tightly and snip.