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I thought I’d been able to put Dad’s big toe behind me, but it appears to be wiggling its ugly, infected self back in my face again. This morning’s doctor’s visit was to the podiatrist, to check on the progress of the wound that accompanied him home from the hospital and the overall fit of the diabetic shoes he got a couple weeks ago. The good news is that the old wound is completely healed. The bad news is he now has a new one, on the very tip of the same toe, and it’s significantly nastier looking than anything I had to deal with before.

I have done my very best to avoid Dad’s feet for the last 3-4 weeks, since the podiatrist said I no longer had to dress the original location – what had been a 3-times-a-day task. Truly, the feet of an 87-year-old could make even the most ardent slasher-movie fan squeamish, so I took my reprieve from toe duty as a blessing and left Dad to manage his 10 little piggies on his own.

This, it appears, has been a mistake. The wound – an ulcer, in medical terms – has become somewhat deep. Maybe it was caused by the toe rubbing against the new shoes, or maybe it’s just one of those things that show up in a weak spot in the skin of a diabetic. But since Dad doesn’t necessarily change his socks every day (in a life filled with caregiving battles, you pick and choose, and sock changing hasn’t been at the top of my list lately) it’s bled a little and deepened. If the situation isn’t reversed, it could get down to the toe bone, which could lead to major problems.

So the dressing-change routine has returned as a part of my life – twice a day, this time.  Pull off the sock, peel off the old dressing, a spritz of wound cleanser, a dab of antibiotic cream and a covering wrap of gauze and tape – then, a deep breath while I wait for the next shoe to drop.