My cat Sootie, drinking from the fish bowl. Photo I took at age 15.

My cat Sootie, drinking from the fish bowl. Photo I took at age 15.

It’s called a matrectomy, and refers to the removal or partial removal of an ingrown toenail. Yesterday, after we sat in reception at the podiatrist’s office and watched a horror film of the disintegration of the foot as we age, I had the remains of ingrown toenails on both big toes removed.  Actually, my toes went through this minor surgery 4 years ago.  However, little slivers of residual unwanted toenail survived, so the doc excised the areas again. I hope it works this time, because it was not fun.


(Photo credit: Plashing Vole)

Why did I have ingrown toenails? I wore sensible shoes all my life.  Even when I wore heels, I wore shoes with boxy toes, never those horrible pointy toed things. According to the doc, I am drying out (meds, aging, etc.), and that includes my nails, which losing moisture, began turning in and digging into my flesh.

So, it wasn’t my fault.

When we are younger, how often do we think about the repercussions of our actions when we are older?  Probably almost never. David says he wishes he had never been a jogger because he is sure jogging on hard surfaces when he was younger led to the demise of his knee and hip joints.

Often, we cannot pinpoint what might have caused a problem we have today. I have always been a walker, and I am sure my strong bones are the result of much walking as well as a love of milk.  Mom kept a cow and chickens, so even during the dark days of rationing during the 1940s, I had good food to eat as a child.

 After I had a desk job, I walked every day at lunch. When I worked downtown, I walked to and from the Metro to my office. I took both trains and buses to work, and to class several nights per week. I walked from the bus stop to my house and afternoons, when I had no classes, I picked up a bag of groceries on the way home.

Weekends I walked all over Old town Alexandria or down town DC to museums, art galleries, libraries, monuments, theaters or homes of friends. When I was out of town on travel, I walked everywhere.  Walking built up my bones so that today, I have the bone density of a 21-year old. But the cartilage wore down in my hip and knee joints, proving you can use it and lose it.

Gardening with its shoveling and spading, as well as slinging 20 to 50 pound bags of this or that, made my arms strong, but did it harm my back?  The doc says the scoliosis in my spine is “how you were born.”  The spinal stenosis is tied to osteoarthritis, and apparently hereditary. Perhaps working outdoors helped my back to stay strong longer.


David and I will have blood drawn this week for our quarterly exams with our primary physician next week.  Each of us has an ‘order’ for the blood work with dozens of items checked.  I told David it looks as if we will each be required to give a pint of blood for all those tests, everything from CBC panels to diabetes, AFIB and PSA (prostate) for him, and white blood counts, and sodium and phosphorus levels for me.

Good grief.

17 thoughts on “Repercussions

  1. I’ve never actually seen an ingrown toenail so I didn’t know exactly what it was. I looked it up on the web and yikes! It looks painful! I do feel like I’m being to deteriorate. Just last week I took a fall face forward. Luckily my reflexes were just strong enough that I was able to break my fall with my hands. My knees hurt for several days though. I find we have to be a lot more careful about what we do. It’s hard.


  2. A family wrought with OA ( mother in the spine – sisters both having hips replaced) almost guaranteed the same for me. All those little niggles over the years were finally diagnosed about three years ago when the shooting sciatica pain started and my legs started to go numb. Yes lumbar spinal stenosis caused by OA in the spine – thanks Mum! Seems an episode with a felled tree and the resulting ‘bad back’ could have been the starting point plus like you heaving bags of you know what from the car to the shed to the garden and all that didn’t do it any good either
    Thankfully symptoms seem to be on hold at the moment – GP says that’s the nature of the ‘disease’. I’m not arguing, I am free of pain at the moment, can walk and exercise with caution, Pilates is helping and gardening is feasible again if in short bursts rather than hours.
    Sorry for the ramble Dianne – was curious as to whether you meant the OA was hereditary or the stenosis.
    Take care


    • OA definitely runs in families, and as far as I know spinal stenosis is simply arthritis of the spine. I subscribe to several magazines and health news letters dedicated to arthritis-related issues The key to managing this ailment is to keep on keeping on, especially as you age. In other words, one must work through the pain, which is what I am doing in physical therapy.


  3. I admire you both for getting everything taken care of, an inspiration to us all. I used to walk a lot also and drank a lot of milk growing up. I began walking on a treadmill a while back but have heard bad things about them and since sprained ankles and recent sprained knee have been a problem my walking has been cut down some. I love to walk, I find it’s one of the most fun forms of exercise but I have to change my scenery. Hopefully I will be able to get back to it soon.


  4. I used to wear those horrible pointy shows with very high heels. I now have one deformed foot. Nowadays I only wear the most comfortable shoes.

    A lot of what happens to us in age is also genetic. Heart disease etc. My mum had osteoporosis but I got my bone structure from my dad.

    I’d like to be fit but age brings disabilities and aches and pains. While they’re bearable I won’t complain.


  5. Are you sure that you are using the word “mastectomy” correctly. I have never heard it used that way and know that a surgical mastectomy is defined as the whole or partial removal of one or both breasts.
    On another thought. I don’t know why the photos I post can’t be enlarged with a click. I thought that was automatic with Blogger. Oh, and I like your new header, nice photo, crisp & clean.


  6. Yes, lunch next year. I’m hoping your DIL will alow this. LOL What a mess politics are right now. I cannot believe he voted for a tea party candidate. His synapse’s must be hardening for him to do that. I’m to the point where I turn off the sound on the news now when they start talking politics.

    Just back from the docs….no restrictions and come back in a year.


  7. Yes, yes, and yes. I have the 2 month visit with the Ortho doc today, and I need to schedule my yearly visit to my pulmonary doc. Still. All I can do is hope this yearly period of torture is done for the moment. At least the boobs are ok for the moment.


  8. More and more as we age I see the pluses and minuses of long-term habits come to help or haunt a person – smoking, eating, exercise, etc. But there is only so much we can do – genes play a big part too.


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