Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Comparative Costs of Carelessness

A few weeks ago, I noticed a small corner of my big toenail breaking off. But I was too busy to clip the nail right then. Then I noticed a mega-huge-uber-sick-disgusting number of little bugs in the kitchen. I sprayed and squashed, and finally emptied the cupboards and called the exterminator. So I was a little bit busy with taking the kitchen apart and putting it back together. And figuring out how to feed the family without having a useable kitchen. Oh, throw in a baby shower that I was in charge of, and a daughter's 12th birthday on the same day, just for kicks! Oh yeah, I was also in the process of taking our dryer apart and fixing it and putting it back together (make that learning how to put it back together) . . .
So the dumb toenail became ingrown, and I bought Dr. Scholl's ingrown toenail pain relief treatment or something like that for around $10 at Wal-Mart. Sounds smart, no? Just say no! I spent 10 days in pain, and finally went to the urgent care clinic. The doc there could not remove the nail because I had a big bleeding growth of infected tissue covering a shockingly large portion of the toenail. So he burned some of that lovely tissue off, and his nurse dressed my wound. I was instructed to soak the toe in epsom salt solution 3x a day, and to take antibiotics prescribed for me. So I've shelled out a $50 co-pay at the clinic, and a $27 for prescription co-pays and first-aid items at the pharmacy, when I make an appointment with the podiatrist, who says that I have to come back when I've been on the antibiotic for several days. I go back and pay $45 co-pay to be told that the infection is not gone, and so he still can't remove the nail, and so I get to take a stronger medication and come back in another week. So I spend $14.20 on more first-aid-type items, and the pharmacist says he does not have my medicine in stock. So I am going to get to spend another $45 at least twice to get my foot treated and for the follow-up visit. And I'll probably have to spend $20 on the antibiotic co-pay.
So what are we up to now? $10+$50+$27+$45+14+$90+$20=$256 plus all the opportunities I missed out on while hobbling around . . . not to mention the price of yeast medications to combat the least fun of the side effects of antibiotics . . . So what's the take-home lesson? Wear shoes that fit you right, clip your toenails straight across, and if you notice a corner breaking off the nail, STOP everything and trim the darn thing.
Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I should update this post here. I went to the podiatrist for the removal of the nail, and the strangest thing happened. It was all going rather smoothly, until the nurse could not open a bottle of some chemical that the doctor needed. It's the stuff they use to deaden the nail-growth area below the cuticle. At this point, I've already had the offending toe deadened and tourniqueted (is that a word?) for a few minutes. The nurse could not get the lid off, and then the doctor couldn't either. So chances are, I'll end up with another ingrown nail. But the pre-existing dagger is now happily gone. And I can dance!

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