Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Going for Broke

I'm still not quite sure how it happened, but in the middle of the night a few Sundays ago, I hopped out of bed to turn off the heat and somehow landed, not on the sole of my foot as is right and proper, but on the tops of my left toes. My foot and ankle did an extreme backbend, and, finally registering that something was wrong but unable to recover from my awkward position, I relieved the pressure in the only way I could—by tumbling to the floor in a noisy heap (Good 3AM, downstairs neighbors!). I then proceeded to writhe around on the ground for a minute or two because of the pain!

Returning to bed (but only after hobbling over to the thermostat to finish what I'd started), I spent the rest of the night with my injured foot on a pillow, sleeping fitfully and dreaming of attending a fancy event where I had to crawl on my hands and knees in a beautiful dress because my foot would not support me.

In the morning, I soon learned my dreams had been quite premonitory, as I could not put any weight on my foot at all... But, fortunately I guess, I did not have any fancy events to attend. I borrowed my boyfriend's ankle brace and rapidly learned that I could get around the house by hopping on my hands and good foot like a three-legged rabbit. And as the day went on, never one to let a minor disability stand between me and watching a spectator sport (do you feel the sarcasm?), I accompanied my boyfriend to Applebee's to see the Ravens game, hopping about on one foot much to the puzzlement of citizens everywhere.

Over the next few days, my condition improved pretty rapidly. By Monday, I could hobble around on two feet again, and I limped to the doctor's office to confirm that my injury wasn't too serious. On Tuesday, I retired the ankle brace. On Wednesday, I realized my ankle was doing great, but my shoes were all pinching my bruised toes, so I cut a slice into my oldest pair of sneakers to give them a little more space. Soon I was able to walk normally, then get around in a standard un-mutilated shoe, then I re-learned to walk fast enough that I'm again overtaking all the pedestrians in my path! It was a big moment for me when, a week and a half after my accident, I wore a boot with a three-inch heel!

The joy was short-lived, though, because 2+ weeks later, I am still in pain! On Thanksgiving morning, I was poking around at my injury when I noticed my left fourth toe was a little puffy compared to the same toe on the other foot. I decided to pinpoint the problem by bending it up (not bad), bending it down (a little painful), and finally twisting it left and right. Ayoooooo! I felt a crunchy sort of resistance, almost like my toe was made of densely packed wet sand and I was slowly molding it into a new shape. Yuck! My newly aching toes refused to forget that stupid move for the remainder of the day.

Let me tell you, when I say this has been agony, I do not exaggerate. The proof is in the way I scream whenever I unexpectedly move my foot the wrong way. Of course, there is psychological agony, too...the inability to move faster than a off-kilter jog, which is seriously cramping my workout style...the torment of having 2/3 of my shoe collection off limits (including 4 brand new pairs that arrived in the mail the day after my injury!)....For all these indignities, I feel like I deserve some compensation, and that compensation is...yes! An injury upgrade!

I hereby declare I have broken my toe. Possibly both the fourth toe and the pinky toe. I probably won't be going to get them X-rayed, because I don't imagine that there's anything I can do about them even if they are broken (except maybe lay off the gratuitous twisting!), so I'll never know for sure, but I'm gonna claim it as truth.

Part of me is thrilled I finally have a real, crippling injury to call my own. I've reached an important milestone in life—getting to join the Broken Toe Club (I have met two people in the past day who had broken toe stories of their own to share), yet deep down inside, another part of me wishes I had acquired this trophy in a less ignominious way than falling out of bed.