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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Of Limitations

You know how there are just some contests you know you can't win?

Like arm wrestling your husband, or out-running your long-legged hound, or out-eating your six-year-old when it comes to ice cream cake.  And so you don't even try.  Seems sensible.

Of course, then there are the contests you totally can't win, but you try anyway.

Like challenging yourself to lose ten pounds before the upcoming family wedding, or writing a new chapter every other week, or being in better shape at 40 than at 30. They are worth trying, even if you can't completely succeed.

And then there are the contests that are uwinnable due to the incontrovertible forces of gravity, dynamic motion, and other elements of physics I can't remember the names of. Those are the ones you are wise not to try at all. Ever. Unless you enjoy hurting yourself.

I am here to tell you that toe versus coffee table? Is one of those contests.

I am also here to tell you that in the throes of the immediate aftermath of the failure of that contest--i.e. right after you stop hopping around on one foot, muttering the fake curse words that are safe for your kids to hear--when you look down at your foot to see that your pinkie toe is sticking out at nearly a right angle from your foot, you might have one or two useful thoughts. Such as: sit down. Procure ice. Place foot on said ice.

You might also have one or two hairbrained thoughts as you clutch your way through the discomfort. Such as: you might suggest that your husband Google directions for relocating a dislocated toe.

Probably, you have married as well as I have, and he will instead Google to locate the nearest hospital (because of course you will be on vacation at the beach when this happens).

Although it might momentarily flit through your mind that this is an over-reaction on his part, and that the burgers nicely frizzling on the stove will taste so good in a few minutes if you just pop your own toe back into place and continue icing it, and that you know that no one ever puts a cast on a broken toe anyway but merely tapes it to the next toe over till it heals, and that it will be so much hassle to drive to an unknown hospital in an unknown town, and that the kids are hungry and you don't really want to drag everyone out the door unnecessarily...although all of this and more in the reluctance department will pass through your mind as your excellent husband is phoning for directions and mustering ice and shoes all around, I would like to go on record as saying that your reluctance is wrong, and his get thee to a doctor, pronto! mojo is right.

Because, invariably, your toe is not dislocated. It is broken. And not just any plain old broken either, but well and truly broken with the bones moved all over the place. (And believe you me, if I could figure out a way to scan my x-rays and put them up here, I would, just for the pure amazement value of seeing a bone snapped in half and turned sideways.) The kind of broken that takes three rounds of x-rays and multiple attempts at setting to get "not perfect but good enough" (the doctor's words, not mine). And something that takes a trained professional five lidocaine shots and a whole lot of counter-pressure tugging to put right (which is probably really horrible to watch, only I don't recommend watching) is really something that should not be attempted at home in between flipping the burgers from one side to the other.

In short: in case you were ever tempted to try to set your own broken toe while on vacation? Don't.

You're welcome. 

Please note: if you have ever borne children, this kind of injury can be mildly fun in a macabre sort of way. It looks very ghoulish and Frankensteiny, but compared to hard labor? No more than a 4 on the pain scale. In fact, if you've ever severely sprained your ankle--the kind of sprain where you are sure it's broken, only it isn't--this doesn't hurt anywhere near as much as that. The shock value, however, is very entertaining. 

The inability to go for any more glorious barefoot runs on the beach, when you are only two and a half days into your eight day beach vacation and just discovered barefoot running yesterday? Somewhat less enchanting.


Mr Lady said...


Why? Because I enjoy your misery? No. It's because I can totally HEAR you trying to convince your husband to help you set your shattered toe. I can hear you rattling of logical lists of valid reasons why you shouldn't go to the hospital.

And that cracks me the hell up.

Momo Fali said...

That is messed up on so many levels. So is Mr. Lady, but I don't hold that against her.

I hope you're up and running again soon.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

I kinda don't feel like lunch now, picturing your toe pointing the WRONG DAMN WAY.



I suggest you burn the coffee table.

Fawn said...

Oh. My. I know you're saying the pain isn't that bad, but... OUCH! Sending you speedy healing vibes.

Megan said...

I enjoyed reading this article, Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Looking forward to read more of your post.

Pamela said...

This is really funny. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the post and will keep visiting here.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

That is so funny and so wrong on so many levels... Two days into vacation... I'd be very bitter. Hope it heals quickly. AND? I could totally school your six year old in that ice cream cake eating contest. Just name the time and place.

Anonymous said...


anymommy said...

Horrifying. Gah. I'm broken hearted over here about the possible consequences of this encounter.

BusyDad said...

I did the same thing to my pinky finger years back. 90 degrees bent. Waited 7 hours in the emergency room to be seen and reset. Shock value indeed. I think my mom needed smelling salts seeing the doctors re-break it and set it. Me? I was thinking how cool it looked. Then again I was a 7th grade boy. All that stuff is cool then. Plus, it got me off violin practice for months. Well worth it!


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