241. Well-Manicured

Sea Blue Nails | Ann Ning Learning How

I gave away all my nail polish last week. I went to Ai Ai and Tim’s house armed with cash so I could go get my weekly manicure treat at the place next to TKD. I did it once, and I chose a smashing blue, like M (37) was wearing the last time I saw her. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But then I got itchy, found out I was allergic to something in my soap and shampoo, and have been trying to cut down my cosmetic interactions ever since.

So no more nail salon for me. I’m sure I could get an allergen-friendly manicure, but I kind of want to rest anyway, now. I’m sure Tanpo will be relieved. Some favorite quotes as I’ve been experimenting with different nail colors:

  • Re. OPI “Liquid Sand” – I was wearing a lovely gold from V: “What’s wrong with your nails? They look corroded.”
  • Re. The first time I wore a dark French manicure (the tips were a dark purple): “Your nails look dirty.”

Because my father loves me he took me to the salon a couple of times. I think it was too much for him and decided our time together was better spent going to rehab. The first time he sat on a bench outside, called Mommy, and said how appalled he was that I was going to pay “Olga” $20+ to paint my nails for me.

Mommy then assumed primary responsibility for taking me to the nail place. When I was going through my black polish phase I recruited J, my favorite nail tech, to convince Mommy how chic it looked. She was only moderately convinced.

When my Daddy asked Mommy why I had so many bottles of polishes in my bathroom she told him, She can’t do much – she needs an outlet.

It was more than an outlet, actually. At RIO (3rd Hospital) I did’t know how my nails had been attended to prior to waking up (Thanks, Ruthie, for removing the polish from my toes xxoo) and was grieved to have to ask Mommy to do another thing, and cut my nails for me. I asked her to do it once while at RIO, and near the end they were getting just long enough to bother me. I expected to be healed imminently, though, so I put off asking Mommy to cut them again bc I figured I’d be well enough to do it myself next week, when we were home.

When I tried cutting my nails myself I found out that you need both vision and motor skills to trim your nails. I was able to trim my left hand nails okay, but when it came time to use my left hand to trim my right hand nails it was a mess. I was sweating, I might have cried – it took an hour. It was awful. I then experimented with a couple of baby clippers and found that I was able to hold the baby clipper with greater ease.

It was still stressful, though, and I found that the length of the nail bothered me more now and I had to cut them every 3 days! I don’t remember how it started, but I began going to get my nails done since it was easier to let someone else cut my nails (I was always very afraid, and started cutting my own over the last 9 mo.), and wearing polish helped me go longer without having to cut them again.

I then went through a brief phase in which I toyed with growing my nails slightly longer. I wore Chanel’s Paradoxal for 2 weeks – a record, for me – until Mommy said I needed to buckle down and cut them before my fingers got more sensitive, I got more scared, and it became an even bigger problem. At that time my left leg was acting up to the point that I couldn’t go to the nail place, so I started doing my own at home, hence the large collection.

At first I couldn’t even keep a good grip on the brush when my left hand held it – it would keep on flying across the bathroom counter and I’d have to mop the polish up with remover. But “nail therapy” was good for my tremor. I had learned at rehab that there’s no silver bullet exercise for curing a tremor – believe me, I asked – but repetitive movement and practice helps. I never wore nail polish in my old life – I was using my hands too much, and it annoyed me – but now I experimented with dark, bold, glittery colors. I wanted them to look presentable enough for me to leave the house, so that was good motivation and my left hand improved vastly. It can still act up, but the typing and piano playing have been excellent therapeutic activities.

They say that your nails and hair tell a story about your health. When I woke up I had a huge black mark on my third nail on the left hand. Maybe it got smushed when I collapsed – I don’t know. Happily, it didn’t hurt – but everyone noticed it and asked me about it. It finally grew out at The Place and when it did I was afraid it would snag on something so I went around with a Toy Story or Disney Princess bandaid on it. CMD likes to look at my nails to ascertain my health, and the first time I met her she took my hand and saw the beautiful inky polish J had applied an hour before. So I stopped wearing nail polish (for the most part) when I started acupuncture.

Actually, I became so picky that the polish no longer helped me go for a whole week without trimming my nails. I’d have to remove the polish, trim them, and then I’d polish them for the 24 hours before I saw CMD again. By that point I had scaled the visits to J back to twice a month since I was trying to wean myself off of manicures.

But the real clincher came this summer with my allergy issues. Now I’m trying to pare things down and the manicures are low hanging fruit. But they’ve served their purpose – my tremor is better, I’m not afraid to cut my own nails anymore, and the aesthetic enjoyment was fun while it lasted!

I wrote this one a year ago at the last Labor Day Conf. at GWH.
This was one of the funniest (and happiest) moments from my inpatient life – I’ll always remember that bunch of therapists/techs chasing the kid in a wheelchair down the hall. They were like, Slow down! He was like, See ya!

65.  You do what you can

65. You do what you can

9 thoughts on “241. Well-Manicured

  1. Your Dad’s reaction makes me smile, because the first time Jon saw deep red toenail polish on me, he said, “it looks kind of like your toes are bleeding.” I personally was loving the deep red on my toes. Funny how two people’s perception of the same thing can be so different! 🙂

  2. I’ve started getting my fingernails and toenails done and I love it, but I have to be super careful about what they use. So none of the oils and creams for me. So far my favorite nails have been the silver ones with red, white, and blue dots that I had when I went to see Josh graduate from Army Basic Training, and the deep blue ones with green sparkles that I had when we went to Alaska.

  3. I like the red white and blue on R’s nails…and her short nails are duly noted…Ning, maybe I could do it after all?

    Meanwhile, thx for introducing me to all the wonderful shades of blue and teal for my toes. XOXOs!

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