Lymphedema Patients toss the dice – Podiatrist or PedicuristDecember 1st, 2012 by Sharon O'Hara
What does it take to keep vulnerable senior patients/any patient reasonably cared for in a rehab setting? How many oversee patients when a podiatrist comes to call and cut toenails?
Is it true that Pedicurists aren’t trained well enough for Lymphedema patients to take a chance on them. Really?
….I believed it might be true even though I had never seen bloody toenails from a pedicurist cutting nails during my career as a cosmetologist in Washington and California and a small business owner here. What do I know about medical things? I’m learning that one thing can and does frequently lead into another.
The comments from a trusted Lymphedema medical professional was enough and I stopped going to a licensed pedicurist I liked who cheerfully gave me well trimmed and bright, jazzy colored painted toenails.
And, like Jacks Beanstalk, my toenails grew … until months later I overheard that a Podiatrist would be available to cut toenails – just’ line up. I waited until mid-afternoon, then ‘got in line.’
The crowd finally thinned in the hallway. Finally, there was room inside where he and an assistant were working with patients in a semi-circle. I was escorted to an empty seat at the far end of the semi-circle facing the doorway. Many of the patients were in wheelchairs and I noticed as he made his way around to the left of the circle, some of the people wore band-aids on their toes. I watched him tap, tap push something against a toe then put the band aid on. As he got closer to me, one or two chairs away I TOLD him I had lymphedema and COULDN’T GET CUT because I too easily was infected. I had been fighting the last session almost a year. Almost nothing, I have experienced compares to the pain of lymphedema. Nothing. He did not reply.
That said, many of the bare toes left behind the Podiatrist sprouted Band-Aids as he moved along past the chairs/wheelchairs.
My visions of getting up graciously, majestically and quietly walking away before he reached me did not happen. I sat there like a stump off a log while he worked his way around to my chair and began cutting my toenails. I didn’t say a word as he finished one foot and worked on the other. I watched him get something and go tap, tap, push on the end of my big toe then placed a band aide over the end. He said something as he moved away and I was escorted out of the room to the wheelchair I pushed away down the hall. To the other end of the hall elevator and down to the next floor.. I rolled into the physical therapy room where I had an appointment and told the therapist what happened. I was shaking and she said she would find the nurse on duty when I couldn’t tell her how bad it was – only that he cut my toe.
The nurse pulled the Band-Aid away to see it and said ‘that’s not bad.’ The trouble with Lymphedema – for me, if not most of us – a simple scratch or bruise can develop into a big deal infection.
In addition, I mentioned to her the room upstairs was full of Band-Aid covered toes on patients – some in wheel chairs. What if they got infected and had to UNNECESSARILY deal with infection caused by cuts on their feet from a podiatrist? I suggested they check the patients.
I asked her to take photos for me because I couldn’t see it. The photos were taken, the Band-Aid replaced and I had my physical therapy session.
To be absolutely clear. I was loaded with antibiotics at the time. My toe healed nicely. No lawsuits then or now. I don’t know how the other patients faired.
My point here is to ask how you know your loved one is not being cut leading to an infection when a trained podiatrist cuts their toenails. You don’t know. Go watch a time or two – check these things out.
Patients be aware – patient centers too. Make sure that podiatrist is competent.
Who is watching?
Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara