The Fifth Soldier Finally Lost Her Shield! (Warning for Icky, Squeamish Stuff Related to Feet)
A few months ago, I was barefoot in my bathtub, scrubbing the bottom of it, when the brush slipped and drove into and slightly under the toenail on the big toe of my left foot. OMG. About half of it came loose. I was certain I was going to lose it. In fact, I even tried to cut away the part that had come loose, but I couldn't quite get it to lift high enough to be confident that anything I used wasn't going to hurt the toe underneath, so I left it alone.
It is no secret around these here parts that I am a blood-injury phobic. Over the years, I've tried to get a handle on the exact nature of this phobia because, while it's clear I have it, it is also extremely inconsistent. I watch gory TV and movies and usually am not bothered. (This is not without exception: for anyone who has watched Deadwood? That scene where Dan fights a man in the street in Season 3? That eyeball scene?? OMFG. I still think about that. Loved the series, would watch it again in a heartbeat, would never watch that scene again.) I have handled Emergency Situations when the need arises. Then I get a papercut and the world goes all dark and sparkly.
My particular triggers are eyes and feet. (Hence my extreme aversion to the Dan-street-fight-eyeball scene in Deadwood!) Even thinking about a pedicure makes my toes curl, like they're trying to defend themselves by hiding under my feet.
So the toenail thing was bad but, like I said, I can cowboy up when I need to, and I much prefer to care for these kinds of things myself rather than get someone else to do it, so I kept it clean, periodically tried to trim away the damaged part with no success (my nails are really hard; I stopped biting my fingernails when they started chipping my teeth!), wrapped it up for a few days, and expected to lose the nail. But didn't.
Last night in the shower, I noticed it had grown out a bit and thought I should probably trim it. My toenails have to be wet to be trimmed because they're so hard. So I got out my heavy-duty nail clippers (Bobby claims they look like something that would have been used in the Inquisition) and started chipping away at it. And that fucker lifted clean off. I put the nail clippers down and poked the nail back into place and quickly went onto doing something else.
Bobby came into the room from trying to get an HD box installed on the cable. I was like, "Did it work? Good. My toenail's coming off. I just want you to know because I'm about to take it off, so if you hear a thump, that might be me passing out."
He said, "Okay. Do you want me to do it for you?"
(Marriage: Casually offering to rip off one another's damaged toenails.)
I replied, "OMGNOOOOOO!"
"I thought you'd say that, but I wanted to be nice and ask."
One thing I've come realize about my phobia is that it is far worse to have someone else do something icky to me than to do it myself. This seems rather counterintuitive, perhaps, but I think it's an issue of control. I can pull back when something becomes too much. This is why the thought of pedicures sends me over the edge, even as I merrily do all sorts of things to my own feet. I got a bird seed hull in my eye when I was a kid and nearly hyperventilated when my mom tried to get it out for me. I ended up just plucking it out myself.
I was wearing a towel from the shower, so I said. "Okay. Well, I'm going to get dressed first and comb my hair, because if I pass out, I don't want to pass out naked and with my hair uncombed."
While putting on my PJ bottoms, my foot brushed against them hard enough that I heard a tick and looked down to see that the toenail had just fallen off. Well. That saved me the trouble of pulling it off at least.
So it's gone at last. Of course, I've been thinking about it all day. The small sensory details. That's why I can handle Emergency Situations but freak out over papercuts and earrings; I fixate and obsess. I imagine the small, squeamish details, down to the level of the cells pulling apart. When I was nine years old, I had my ears pierced. I used to lie awake at night and imagine small rough pieces on the posts of the earrings rubbing the raw flesh inside the piercings; I imagined putting in earrings and stabbing into that flesh. No surprises: I used to black out when putting in earrings. My mom often used to have to sit me down and do it for me while I swooned. I have a higher tolerance for pain and an overactive imagination. Now, the thought of the nail-less toe top touching things freaks me out. It feels defenseless, vulnerable, like in a little row of soldiers, it's the only one without a shield!
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!