You’ve GOT to be Kidding

Why would anybody pay a doctor to cut their toenails?

And why would someone with all the skill and education acquired in medical school be willing to do something that any early-elementary age kid can do?

Nail Clippers

My mom has been having trouble with a swollen foot.  Her doctor checked for blood clots but found no cause for the swelling.  Still, the foot is painful and won’t fit into her shoes.  It’s been a couple weeks, so when I suggested that it might be time to investigate more, and she said she’s planning to call the podiatrist who cuts her toenails.

“Excuse me?”  I was incredulous!  “You pay a doctor to cut your toenails?  Since when did you have that kind of money?!  And when did you take leave of your senses to the extent that you think that’s anywhere close to appropriate?” (Did I mention that I’m not always noted for my subtlety?)  Apparently this country’s taxpayer-funded senior citizen health plan decrees that she’s not allowed to cut her own toenails.

I’m all for helping people who need help, but requiring perfectly capable people to drive to the doctor for things they’re able to do on their own is NOT a good use of my tax dollars.

*

Break

Everyone needs a break, and my time has arrived.  We’re taking the kids to see half the western U.S.  We’ll have lots of time in the car, so if you have tips on keeping Enbrel cold in a little travel bag, I’m all ears.

No more posting until we get home and I catch up on laundry.  Have a great May!

***

Edit to add RheumaBlog Update:  Wren did NOT have to be hospitalized.  She’s home, changing her own bandages, and will see the doctor again on Thursday.  If I hear from her again, I’ll post a new update.

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13 thoughts on “You’ve GOT to be Kidding

  1. Does she have diabetes? If so..then that may be the reason for him trimming her nails as one little knick could take forever to heal and set off infection and with the poor circulation of diabetes…that could mean possible loss of a limb later. If she isn’t diabetic…then thats crazy to pay him to do that! Have fun on your trip! Hopefully someone on Enbrel can help you with the travel process!

    • That kinda makes sense for a type 2 who hasn’t seen their feet in years and is working blind; my mom has adult-onset type 1 and has no trouble seeing and reaching her feet. Nobody ever suggested such a thing when she was paying out-of-pocket for her medical care. It wasn’t until she qualified for Medicare that this “you’re not competent to cut your own toenails” business was introduced.

      Why not make individual recommendations, instead of blanket rules for everybody?

      • Warm

        I think it isn’t so much that she isn’t competent to cut them… but it is safer. My ‘step’ grandmother went once every week or once ever two weeks to her doctor to have her toenails cut… to keep from taking the chance of eventual amputation…

        I’m not sure why no one ever suggested it to her earlier to have them done at her regular checkups at least… but…

  2. Have a wonderful trip! When I went backpacking, I took Enbrel in a little pack called a Frio – you fill part of it with water, which turns into a gel which stays cool for days. They’ve got a website.

    However, I’ve also had a number of conversations with reps on the Enbrel helpline who have told me that if Enbrel is warm for a few hours, it is really no problem. Once I left it in a hot car for an afternoon – and they told me it would be fine! They said they want to be extra cautious with telling people to keep it cool so that they don’t just leave it out of the fridge forever, but that really, it is nothing to panic over. Hope that helps.

    Also, thank you so much for the updates on Wren. I am so glad she didn’t have to be admitted.

  3. Hey, Socks –
    As I’ve grown older my toenails have thickened and started curling — ingrowing — at the corners. Clipping them correctly has turned into a mean chore, particularly with sore hands, so I can understand some people choosing to have a podiatrist do the job. That said: Medicare expects every older person to do this? Sheesh.

    Thanks for updating everyone about my aggravating dogbite hand. I can type a bit easier now but it’s still a slow process. Meanwhile, have a WONDERFUL trip around the West. We’ll expect to hear all about it upon your return. Bon voyage!

  4. ALSO — how about one of those small coolers that can be plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter for your Enbrel?

  5. Type 1 or type 2 wouldn’t matter…as diabetes is diabetes…but if she can see and is able to do her own nails…all they have to do is show her..of course you know how docs like to see you every two months…they can charge her for it and put more $$$ in their pocket…its frustrating for sure.

  6. so, the doctor is cutting her toenails not because she’s having trouble doing it herself, but because you somehow not allowed to worship mark there’s a law against putting one’s own toenails above the age of 65? That’s ridiculous. Or does she have diabetes? And if so, toenail cutting not to be covered…

    Have a fantastic time!

  7. That’s always the tricky thing about these kinds of recommendations, you never know which people will be helped, it’s just all statistics.

    It might be related to this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10384758

    Kind of an old study, but it basically looks at medicare patients at risk for lower limb amputation (including diabetes), and found that preventative care by a podiatrist, including toenail trimming, lowered the risk for amputation.

    Who knows if it makes sense for your mom, or if they just applied all the general guidelines.

    Have an awesome trip/break!

  8. I second Lana. I still cut my kids nails and it hurts to do it. I use the baby clippers with a big plastic attachment. Doing my own toes with big clippers is sometimes darn near impossible. But if she can do it on her own–than she is totally working it!
    How exciting–a trip! Hope it is a wonderful trip and you have days that are “good” days in terms of pain. And thanks so much for spreading the word about Wren.

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