Wednesday, January 1, 2014

THE SAGA OF A TOE NAIL

UNKNOWN TO ALL of you, I had been suffering from a deformed toe nail for a year now and it limits my movements, especially when I use my right foot. You see, when pressure is applied, the overgrown nail pushes against flesh and causes so much pain. Running along trails are out of my retinue now and downhill walks are carefully measured. I am also cautious that no foot would step on mine.

This toenail remained uncut because it had warped and curled on its right edge. As if that is not enough, body fluid, water and sweat mixed in with detritus and hardened between nail and flesh as it formed another layer of hard material making the toenail extremely thick. I have bought a special nail cutter and another to trim it but the jaws are not that wide to accommodate the unusually-thick nail.

This started right after leading a climb in June 2008 up Mount Dulangdulang in Bukidnon and continuing on to Mount Kitanglad the next day. The nails on both big toes suffered from four days of jungle rot and blackened. It was very painful when it dried up. I even thought that the nails would be gone for good and was preparing myself to accept living without nails on my big toes.


By some miracle borne out of my unusual genes, the toes stayed and some of the black color faded. Not only that, it begins to grow normally although it had not adhered fully to the flesh beneath it. Because of those tiny airspace, semen fluid, water and sweat coagulate and congeal in small amounts which succeeding nail cutters efficiently removed.

The left toe had recovered slightly and had not given me any trouble anymore unlike the right toe which looked like the big toe nails of my late grandfather. When he lived, he used to trim the nails with a razor blade. He preferred the Gillette brand. But I do not have the dexterity to use a razor and I am afraid it would cut me instead.

I was contemplating of clinically removing that problematic toenail for good but I had a change of mind. I remembered reading Sir Ranulph Fiennes in his autobiography, “Mad Bad and Dangerous”. He mentioned in the book that he suffered from frostbite during his Antarctic sojourn and got rid of his two fingers later when it was becoming so bothersome and have caused extreme pain by cutting it off with a hand saw.


I followed his gist and put this to effect on the toenail on the night of November 4, 2013. Armed with a saw blade for metal, I slowly cut the annoying nail at the part two centimeters below the contour of the big toe. I work the saw blade back and forth in short cycles to lessen pain but it brought minimal respite. I get a satisfaction when that part was removed and then I move on to cut the rightmost part at an angle.

This is more difficult because the saw end would bump on the side of the toe. I persevered, doing this in very short see-saw movements until it is almost sawed off. A small part still held the rest so I wrench and pull it off from the toe. Ouch! All this had been witnessed by grandson, Gabriel. He took the pictures of this brutish operation.


When I thought I now have the desired length of the nail and felt comfortable about it, I finished the left side of the nail with my newly-acquired Mörser nailcutter. I carefully cut off the sharp edges with the cutter and it looked normal again. I rubbed some nail file to smoothen the edges.

My right foot feels light and the ugliness brought by that overgrown nail is now gone. I now feel confident to move around where, before, I was hampered. I would do this again, if ever, the toenail would grow back.  At least, for now, it is behaving.


Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer

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