In search of a manicurist (for the disabled)

I have not had a professional manicure for a long time. The activity aides at my previous facility always did my nails and they looked very nice. But I remember the days when I got manicures, and the hand massages in particular made me feel so relaxed.

Last fall, when I arrived at this facility, the activity had no time to do my nails. So my driver took me to a nail salon and I requested a manicure. The manager said he would rather not do one. He felt I was more susceptible to infection because my hands did not open completely. I was a bit surprised but I went along with his wishes, and I could only get my nails cut, buffed, and polished.

After months without a manicure my cuticles looked ragged. When the aides asked why the nail techs were not doing a manicure, I explained the salon manager's concern about me getting an infection. They were also surprised and thought I should be able to get a manicure. Later, two of them got out my supplies and pushed my cuticles back. My nails looked better but I knew these aides would not always have the time to help me.

For a couple of months since then, my female driver has done my nails. She is a nursing assistant and does a pretty good job. But I want a backup plan if she is unable to do them.

Last week I went out to see if I could find a salon that would do a manicure. When I entered the salon at the mall, I requested a manicure and polish change. The man at the front desk directed me to the back of the salon where an Asian nail tech told me I should not have my natural nails manicured nor should I wear nail polish. Why? Same response as before: because my hands do not open completely.

I assured her I have had many manicures and have been wearing nail polish for years without problems. She strongly disagreed, so I asked if she wanted me to leave. When she looked toward the man up front, a long discussion began in their native language. The only word I recognized was “infection.”

When she would not do a manicure, I settled for getting my nails trimmed and buffed. But during the trimming the tech cut me and quickly used a coagulant to stop the bleeding. Since I had a cut, she refused to apply nail polish. When I told her I wanted polish, she refused again. Then reluctantly she picked up a bottle of base coat and slapped some on. When I asked for another, she refused.

I could not believe she would be so rude, but I paid what I owed and left. I asked my driver if we could sit for a minute in the mall. I had never been treated like that anywhere and I was really frustrated.

I understand that the nail techs might not feel comfortable doing the nails of a quadriplegic woman. But they could have been a bit kinder about it.

So I am still looking for a professional who will give me a manicure. In the meantime my female driver will be doing it. But it would be nice to know that a professional could do it for me—a nursing home resident—when I want to treat myself.

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