Ever since Pudding was little I’ve had problems cutting his toenails. Admittedly I may not be the most expert nail cutter. I am, after all, the one who accidentally drew blood when trying to do Twiglet’s nails at only a few months. But Pudding’s were definitely a challenge; chubby toes seeming to overwhelm his tiny triangular nails. As he grew older, the big toes developed a tendency to grow in, and the rest curved under, moulding themselves to the shape of the toes such that it became difficult to even get the clippers under them.
Of course it wasn’t a huge problem; just one more little thing alongside his webbed toes, tongue tie, etc, that made me think he wasn’t put together quite right. We did get a referral to the podiatry service, but other than advice to ‘keep them short’ nothing more came of it.
Then last week, following a hunch, I posted about it on one of the MPS groups I’m a member of. Within a couple of hours, I had 13 comments from other parents all saying ‘Yes, we have this too!’
Of course, it’s not a scientific survey; probably not all MPS patients will have this issue and many without MPS will have. (Described as ‘clubbing’ it can be due to a reduction of oxygen in the blood, for instance because of heart or lung problems, and has also been reported in other conditions such as coeliac disease).
But for some reason it made me feel so lighthearted to have this interaction. Parents at the school gate quite often get to have those ‘Oh god, yes, me too!’ conversations about normal everyday kid things. For MPS parents though, that sort of thing just isn’t possible. The likelihood of living close to another family is fairly slim.
It is therefore one of the joys of this internet age to find a group like this online. All the bad things about the internet – the online bullying, trolling, and so on – can at least be balanced out a bit. Because there is nothing that says ‘I belong!’ quite like a group of parents and patients from all over the world bonding over a discussion about toenails.