Amazing, what with all the animals in my house, but true. I can’t even blame any of them for this mishap (unlike when I fell down the basement stairs 13 years ago after tripping over a cat–I broke my tailbone and nearly broke my arm, and then a year later rammed my little toe & side of left foot into the corner of the cedar chest outside my bedroom door after swerving around the same cat who ran across my path at the wrong time).
Wednesday evening (October 28), I made the trip to the furnace to flip the switch and turn it on. The furnace hasn’t worked right for a year or so, but we’ve managed to regulate our heat bill by not fixing it, hence the switch. I’ve made the trek across the family room hundreds of times. The ladder to the loft overlooking the family room has been there for four years. For some reason (I’ll blame it on not having peripheral vision when I’m wearing my glasses), I miscalculated where the ladder was and took a full stride with my left leg–straight into the side of the ladder. I crunched three toes and the side joint of my foot.
The pain was excruciating. I said many bad words. In fact, it probably sounded as though I’d been struck with a sudden, severe case of Tourette’s Syndrome. For an uncounted measure of time all I could say was “Motherf—er! Motherf—er!” You’re all shocked, I know. I have the grace to blush about it now, although at the time I was unaware of anything except the unreasonable annoyance that family members–rightfully expressing their concern–were trying to obtain coherent (non-profane) answers as to the status of my well-being when I was in exquisite, mind-numbing agony.
I managed to hobble my way to the sofa, where I collapsed. Eventually I got an ice-pack on the foot. I popped a ton of aspirin because I use nothing but aspirin (your cue to keep your opinions of the virtues of acetominophen/ibuprofen/naproxen/narcotics to yourself). I texted Chicken Little and told her to be very careful (because she always hurts herself after I hurt myself. Nine years running now, and the pattern has never been broken.). By bedtime it was obvious going to work the next morning was not going to be an option–I could barely hobble to the bathroom.
I was right about work; I never would have made it. My foot was bruised on the bottom from the ball to the arch; the three smallest toes were purple; the metatarsal phalangeal joint (the joint on the outside of the foot where the toe connects to the foot) was purple; my instep was swollen and bruised; the tendons, muscles, and ligaments couldn’t stand even the smallest flex. I couldn’t stand on any part of the foot except the heel.
And then I delivered the coup de grâce: limping to the furnace to turn on the heat, I rammed the same foot into the same ladder at the same velocity. I was afflicted with the same sudden Tourette’s Syndrome and said the same foul words. I was sure that if I hadn’t broken anything the day before, surely I’d completed the job with the second mashing. Now I could barely walk at all.
I called the doc & made an appointment for that afternoon. Long-Suffering Spouse had to take me in in a wheelchair because I couldn’t hobble more than a few paces.
The x-ray techs laughed at me when I explained what I’d done–and that I’d done it twice. The doc assured me that although I hadn’t broken anything, it was still a serious injury. My foot was wrapped, I was put on sofa-restriction for the remainder of the week, and I was given a set of crutches. Those puppies do not come with manuals. Husbands, however, think they adequately fulfill this function. “Don’t lean too far backward,” says Long-Suffering Spouse. “”Lean forward.” “Don’t go too fast.” “Take smaller strides.” For a few minutes I thought the staff might end up treating him for bludgeoning wounds (and serving as witnesses at my assault hearing). But we made it out of the clinic without mishap and I was actually doing fairly well on the crutches.
I’m better able to walk today, although I still need either the crutches or a cane. The pain in the metatarsal phalangeal joint is still like a lightning bolt through my body when I accidentally put weight on it, and the Tourette’s threatens a recurrence when I forget and flex my toes. I’m sure I’ll heal soon and be back on my feet.
Unless the crutches put me in traction.