Toe Jam

I really wish I was one of those moms who relished the care and keeping of her giant children. I sometimes wish I took enjoyment out of tending to and nursing them, but I just don’t. I find it incredibly taxing on my patience, I’m an anxious mess most of the time, and I always feel like i’m ill-equipped to really know what I’m doing. Doctor’s instructions or not.

My sixteen year old has had issues with ingrown toenails. Glamorous, no? Last year one was so bad the whole nail had to come off. Around the same time, part of his other nail had to come off for the same reason. So now the entire thing has grown back and guess what? Issue. We find a more local – and patient – doc than we had before and he squeezes us in for a 15 min appointment despite the fact new patients always require a 30 min appt. I told the scheduler the dire situation and she was kind enough to fit us in.

We arrive and get set up in the office. The assistant lets us know since we’re already there, if we wanted the doc to check on the other foot while he’s treating the infected one, we could do that. Fabulous. My son hims and haws about it not really being necessary, takes his sock off and guess what?! There’s an issue with that one as well. Fantastic.

Now, interesting side note, my son takes meds for his ADD. Has been on them for ages and knows when he’s getting low to tell me. Like with lots of lead time. I went to grab his pill for him one of the mornings he couldn’t walk because his pain was so bad and there was 1 pill left. Uno. Singular. And it’s Thursday before Veteran’s Day weekend.

I am solo parenting at the moment, and have been for the last four months. It has been manageable until this week. I seem to have reached my breaking point.

Back to the podiatrist office. So i’m sitting with my fully aggitated unmedicated ADD teenager and we are explaining to the doc what the situation is. He is incredibly kind and patient with my son and I both. If folks are not familiar with how it goes- because I wasn’t until recently – to treat an infected ingrown toenail, they have to give you TWO shots in the toe that is affected. There are 2 nerves that run down each side of your big toe and if they aren’t deadened, the doctor gets kicked. (i imagine) So after talking my sensory-overloaded and VERY twitchy kid through all four shots, we are all covered in flop sweat and breathing heavily. The patients in the other rooms have heard every four-letter expletive that was once said on pirate ships and truck stops and we are now waiting for the magic to happen.

Doc comes back in and “surprise!” the last shot missed. He gets to have a third shot in the worst of the 2 toes.

I don’t know if anyone has ever wrestled an angry hormonal alligator with a broken tooth and a warrant for his arrest, but I imagine it looked something like that podiatrist’s office yesterday.

The doctor does his thang and slices and dices my poor kid’s nails and we are sent on our way. An HOUR AND A HALF LATER. I am incredibly thankful they humored us and treated him because I’m not sure how it would’ve gone had it waited until the doctor had a proper opening for both toes.

So now comes the fun part. The cleaning and redressing we get to do at home. This is where I feel like I fail as a mother. The stresses of being the one manning this broken ship and having to always be the one the kids come to day and night, angry or sad, happy or in crises. The one that has to somehow go from being a domestically-challenged slob to a disinfected patient nurse is not in my wheelhouse. My other child has begun playing the saxophone and is trying to master “Careless Whisper”. They want to have it down for Monday so they can stand up when everyone is rolling into the bandroom, play this song, blow them all away, and then just sit down.

This is an amazing challenge, and i’m so proud of their determination. But do you know what the reality is? It’s manic snow geese randomly screaming out in shock every third note. “toooNIGHT the mUUUUsic seems sO LoUd..”

And just now they have begun to seemlessly pepper in the snake charmer tune with careless whisper. Why wait to master one before you start on the second challenge?!

So while enduring the musical stylings of my 2 week old saxophonist tween, my sixteen year old is soaking his hacked up feet in warm/too cold/not hot enough/now it’s too room temperature water and then slathering it with antibiotic cream that at this point I am just hoping isn’t expired. As I reach for the box of bandaids that I’ve taken note of every time I’ve gone to the store over the past 24hrs and decidedly NOT bought more of because we have an entire box in the cabinet to find it – you guessed it – EMPTY, I about lost my shit. I go rampaging through the house like an injured gorilla looking for any bandaid that will fit a big toe.

I peace together two and have to go buy an actual box at the store.

Somewhere around this time I realize how ill-equipped I am to handle these days. I feel like in these moments every other parent has it together and can manage two bandaids and some antibiotic ointment. Why does it throw me so far off the deep end? My nerves are frayed. Truthfully, my kids have been amazing through all of it. My son has apologized over and over and thanked me for taking such good care of him. My youngest is mostly jumping at the opportunity to help their big brother whenever they can. I feel like i’m on a teeter totter of mania going from helpful mom to inadequate buffoon to regretful sop and then around and around again.

We may just look into amputating his toes, my nerves, or the saxophone after tomorrow.

Turn it up for the full effect. Ignore my sighs

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