I have a friend who used to claim that the human body required a redesign. Instead of toes, we should all just have flaps, he figured, and eye injuries could be avoided by acquiring one giant, segmented eye on top of our heads.
I’m not sure on the eye, but I’m with him on the flaps. I have terrible luck with toes.
I came to that conclusion yesterday, when I was hopping around swearing through tears because I caught my toenail on a box and almost ripped it off. It’s bruised and bloody, but it’s not the worst abuse I’ve heaped on my smallest digits.
(As an aside, I shall point out that I also have a massive bruise on my calf from stumbling around my basement, because for various reasons it looks like a homeless hoarder lives here. But the computer is down here. You see my dilemma.)
No, the worst thing I did to my baby toe was in high school, when I broke it.
I was biking back to school one day at the end of my senior year. It was already fixing to be a good, hot summer, and I was wearing shorts and sandals, and had picked myself up a slurpee at lunch. Because I was carrying said slurpee, I was attempting to steer the ten-speed with one hand in the center of the handlebars.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to do this, but it’s not terribly effective. I tried to manoeuver the bike into the narrow sidewalk that would take me between two houses and into the back of the schoolyard, but my turn was far too wide. The bike and I brushed up against a wrought-iron fence. My exposed smallest toe snagged on one of the decorative iron rails, and brought me to a halt. My slurpee dumped on the ground.
I looked down at my foot. It hurt, but it looked okay. Well, that toe was sticking out at an odd angle. Huh. There was a bit of a cut between it and the next one, too. I tried to push it back in towards its friends. It wouldn’t go.
Some blood oozed out.
Slurpee forgotten, I propped my bike up against the fence (I would remember it 3 days later, which was probably 2.9 days after someone had stolen it), and limped into the school.
“Mr G.,” I asked the first teacher I saw, who happened to be everybody’s favorite Geo Trig teacher, the one who laughed at your jokes and kept chocolate-covered coffee beans in his desk, “Do you know if the nurse is in?”
“Why, what did you do?” He glanced down. “Other than rip open your foot?”
I trailed bloody footprints into the nurses office, which was empty, but someone flagged down a pre-nursing student. She wasn’t much help but kept me company while I waited for my mother, marveling at my ability to continue to crack jokes.
(I think it’s called “going into shock”. Pre-nursing students should probably look into that.)
I spent far too many hours in the hospital, waiting for x-rays and staff in general, while the pain faded to a dull roar and I began to consider that living life with one perpendicular toe wouldn’t be so bad. I tried to convince them of that when they re-set the toe, all joking pretense gone, clinging to my mother and screaming in pain. They had to try a few times. That little piggie is hard to get a grip on.
The real indignity of this injury was that it was 2 weeks before my prom, and any hope of wearing 6-inch stilettos was gone. Sandals weren’t as fancy then, it was the era of cheap leather water-walkers. I had to buy big, sparkly earrings and hot-glue them to some black sandals to complete my “goth graduation” look. At least I didn’t still have the crutches, nobody was buying my “I got bitten by an alligator” story.
That tiny toe, which still goes purple when it’s cold and is aching now with the memory of it all, remains the only bone I’ve ever broken. Good thing I made such a show out of it, knock on wood and all that. I still won’t get on a bike.
What about you? Got any good injury stories?