Ingrown Toenails

As a teenager I was plagued with ingrown toenails. They came and went. One day as I complained about the pain, probably using it as an excuse to get out of work, my dad had heard enough. “Come here boy, I am gonna fix those toes of your” As I set in the kitchen floor, he brought out a syringe that we had recently used while castrating hogs. It had the largest and coarsest needle you can even imagine. He had the same medicine we had used for deadening the hogs. He loaded that syringe full of it and as he stuck that needle in the end of my big toe, it felt like fire. Both toes were afflicted, so I knew what was coming next. When Cecil Lewis decided to do something, there was no changing his mind. I didn’t even try.

I don’t believe hog medicine is made to be used on humans. It sure didn’t seem to deaden the pain or at least he didn’t given it enough time. In his mind it was now time to operate. He used an extra-large pair of toenail clippers. They looked more like something you’d trim trees with than dig out an in-grown toenail. He dug in. At that moment I knew then how the fellows on Gunsmoke felt when Doc Adams cut those bullets out with them fully awake. He worked feverishly while sitting on his patient’s chest to holding me down.

With surgery finally over, he bathed both of my feet in alcohol. This wasn’t like Jesus bathing the feet of his disciples, I’m here to tell you. After the bleeding mostly stopped, he poured Merthiolate all over them and used about a roll of gauze on each toe then taped his up. He was ready for the healing to begin. Best I can remember it was about two weeks before I could wear a shoe on either. The method he used didn’t really work, as my condition returned within a few months. But I never did complain around him about it.

It took several years before I got my courage up to do anything about my toes. When I was about 30 years old, I went to real a podiatrist and had him do it. There was pain associated with it that time, but at least the needle wasn’t the worst part.

So for the last half of my life I’ve been ingrown toe nail free.

4 thoughts on “Ingrown Toenails

  1. I’m glad that you and I aren’t involved in a game of “now top THIS one.” There’s no way I could ever hope to top that, especially not the line that included the words, “hog medicine.” You, good sir, are a writer!


  2. You are one terrific storyteller, Ronnie, and I nearly spilled my coffee when you recounted your Dad hollering, “Fire in the hole”. Your father never did anything ‘halfway’, I can surely tell. Not too many dull moments could have passed when he was in charge of a project!


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