The Unpainted Fingernail and Other Thoughts.. maybe

As a young lady, I was always self-conscious of my hands – especially when I played the piano. Rather than dainty, feminine hands that gracefully danced upon the piano’s keyboard, my hands looked like those of a field-hand. Protruding knuckles on the muscled-up fingers, these square hands have worked hard over the years – sewing clothes, refinishing furniture, cooking, cleaning, but the greatest thing these hands have ever done is hold my children, but, I digress.

My flimsy fingernails and flat nailbeds found hope when acrylic nails became popular. I preferred the French manicure since, to my liking, it appeared clean, businesslike. My square hands suddenly appeared much more feminine, so I continued with the manicures until I retired and for some reason, my natural nails began growing. I started buying nail polish, typically shiny red hues until the faux metallic colours caught my attention and I was hooked.

My new favourite colour was a pretty powder-blue metallic. Every two weeks, I would indulge in a DIY manicure, finally happy with my pretty nails. Until…

February 14, 2019, I was admitted to hospital for Influenza Type A. My body was severely dehydrated and weak. Blood tests were performed, an IV was started and I was on my way to recovery.

The next day, I wanted to get the hell out of there. I showered, talked with the nurse who would inform the presiding doctor that I was ready to leave. Before the doctor would sign the discharge paper, he checked in on me and was concerned with my low oxygen level. The nurses were moving the oximeter to every one of my fingers, looking for a healthy reading. Finally, I spoke up and presented the possibility that my metallic nail polish was blocking a true reading. Orders were shouted amongst the medical staff until one nurse had gone to get nail polish remover, wiped the swab onto one of my fingernails and removed the polish. Just like magic, my oxygen level was normal.

The moral of my story is: keep one fingernail unpainted in the event of being administered into a hospital where oximeters are relied upon for reporting your oxygen level or you may be going home with an oxygen tank!

“There is more power in a mother’s hand
Than in a king’s scepter.”


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