Yeah, I know that’s a stupid name. I don’t care. (And I’m not even going to say anything about being a heel or having no sole.)
So I think I may have broken my toe tonight. I’d just finished brushing The Bean’s teeth and I was rushing out of the bathroom to do whatever was next on my list of Things to Do in Order to Get the Chillens to Bed. And I guess I was rushing a little too fast. And I misjudged where the wall ended. And I kicked the doorjamb. Hard. Very, very hard.
My momentum kept carrying my body forward even though my pinky toe was still back in the bathroom. I heard a very loud something. Kind of a pop or a snap. Like maybe I’d just cracked my toe’s knuckle. Very, very violently. Or maybe just plain broken my toe.
It was loud. I was thinking how loud it was when I realized I’d also yelled really, really loudly almost immediately afterward. And then I looked up to see Max and The Rose rush into view.
I was temporarily confused about why they’d grown to be seventeen feet tall in the previous minutes, because I was looking straight ahead, right at their knees. And then I realized I was, in fact, on the floor in the hall.
That’s when the pain decided to make an appearance.
It actually wasn’t all that bad. At first. It felt more like I’d whacked my toe’s funny bone, sorta. So I stood up. And looked down to see if I was bleeding.
I was not. But my toe was no longer pointing where it was supposed to be pointing.
Rather than being nestled up against the toe next to it, the way the pinky toe on my right foot was, my left pinky toe was defiantly keeping a fair bit of distance from its nearest neighbor. If it was supposed to be pointing due north, it was currently in sorta north-northwesterly direction.
Amazing what a difference a few degrees can make.
I assured the girls I was fine—one of my rare lies; I am many things but even in the best of circumstances I’m not fine—and hopped downstairs.
The hopping wasn’t really necessary, since it really didn’t hurt, not even as much as the little bit at first. But it was kinda sick to look at. Toes aren’t really all that attractive, even on as stunning a specimen as myself. And that’s when they’re where they’re supposed to be.
Top Management took a look at the toe and went pale. Well, okay, actually, she’s always pale. After sprinting up our hill during a heat wave she’s pale. I’ve heard her complexion described as "fishbelly white." I think of it as luminous. And since she actually glows in the dark ever so slightly, it’s not inappropriate (as compared to most of the things I think).
She immediately decided it needed to be taped. I, ever practical, decided what it needed was to be completely ignored. No taping it, no discussing it, no even looking at it. In fact, as I glanced down at it, I decided No Looking was the very first order of business. Ugh.
To prove that it was fine, I took a step.
And almost fell.
At some point in the previous few minutes, the pain that had made an early cameo upstairs had decided to reprise its role and was now ad-libbing a whole lot of extra dialogue.
It must have been good stuff, too, because I started laughing. I couldn’t stop laughing, actually, which started to freak Top Management out. Which must made me laugh more. Which freaked her out more. Which made me laugh more.
And unlike my usual self, I wasn’t doing it on purpose. I didn’t want her to be freaked out. I just couldn’t stop laughing. The pain was not only considerable, it was really funny. That the pain was here because I’d kicked a wall really hard in my haste to get on the with the night just made it all the funnier. I could be either furious with myself—my normal response to my hourly stupiditity—or I could laugh.
But even that’s giving too much credit to the laughter. There was no thought process involved. Every time I twitched my foot, pain erupted and I laughed. I think I may have gone a bit insane ever so temporarily.
So while I take a half-dozen Advils, Top Management goes in search of cloth tape to secure the toeular premises. But she can’t find any. So she calls up neighbor Jenn, who’s a trainer by…uh…training, and who’s broken a toe or two in her time, including at least one of her own. She said the doctor used scotch tape and cotton balls to make—seriously, these were the words I heard—"a toe sandwich." Apparently, the scotch tape actually fits better’n the real cloth stuff.
So Top Management gets the scotch tape and the cotton balls and sets about making a toe sando. I’m not happy about this, because I really, really, really can’t see how she’s going to be able to do this without so much as looking at the toe, and obviously touching it is out of the question.
She does not agree.
Chef Top Management starts to work her magic. And impossibly wonderful as she is, even she can’t help but hurt me. And not in a good way. At all. But very much in a way that starts me laughing again.
So she’s wrapping and she’s padding and she pushing and prodding ever so gently and she realizes the cotton ball is sticking up about an inch past the ends of my toes, which makes ‘em look like they’re in an old black and white film and they’ve got a toothache.
So she calls The Rose and says she needs some scissors. Pleased to be of assistance to the madman she previously called her father, she brings them carefully but quickly.
"What do you need them for?" she asks.
"Mom’s going to have to cut off the toe," I say matter-of-factly.
She gasps. Top Management glares and pokes my foot. The poke lands five deliberate inches away from the toe, but I scream anyway, just in case, which makes me start laughing again. Top Management assures The Rose that Daddy was just trying to be funny, as usual, and that as usual it was very much in vain.
So Top Management starts to trim the excess cotton and the moment the scissors touch the cotton I scream again, which makes her jump back about four feet. I laugh some more. I think delirium had gotten a pretty good hold on me. Yes, all from a toe which may—or then again, may not—be broken. Yes, I’m a major wimp of almost unprecedented proportions. On the other hand, it hurt.
So then The Rose asks if she should go get a sock. I explain that, no, it’s best to leave the foot uncovered. "Because," I explain, "we need to be able to see if the toe turns black and then falls off."
Top Management pokes my foot again. This time the poke lands not quite as far away from the toe as before.
So I reluctantly look down at my foot. Top Management has done as good a job as one can when one’s job is wrapping two toes together with scotch tape, with a cotton ball between them. It looks like the kind of art project I might have cobbled together when I was in second grade. If, you know, I went to a school full of cannibals.
I decided to test her
handiwork footiwork, so I stood up. And the pain had apparently taken my stillness for a sign of defeat and had entirely taken over the place.
It had hurt before. This was unbelievable.
But it got better after a while. Just had to work the kinks out a bit. One of the biggest kinks was when I was done reading to The Boy and it was time for me to kiss him and quietly leave his room for a few minutes, so let him get a bit sleepy before I came back for a few seconds. But there must be something about watching Daddy hop out of the room that chases the sleep right away. He thought that was just a riot. And if he were able to sit up by himself, I’m pretty sure he’d have joined me in hopping.
For want of a toe, sleep was lost.
So that’s where I is now. Except that as I adjusted my position just now, I accidentally caressed the desk leg in what might have been thought a rather loving manner just now. Tonight? Yeah, not so much.
So I’m off to bed. We’ll see how the night goes. I’m anticipating waking up in excruciating pain. Feh. Nothing unusual there. This time, however, it won’t be mental anguish brought on by knowing that, for reasons unfathomable, Barry Bonds is still allowed to play baseball and elected officials are meeting in closets, scheming to amend the constitution of the United States of America in secret. No, if I do this time it’ll be because my widdle toe hurts.
There are worse things.
UPDATE: There are few things more satisfying for a storyteller than getting a big reaction from a listener.
Except when that listener is your doctor. And he’s horrified by what you’re saying.
That’s not so good.
So Top Management forced me to go to the doctor this morning. I found it extremely embarrassing to be in the waiting room with bare foot, featuring the Incredible Inedible Cannibal Toe Sandwich/Grade School Art Project.
So they take me back after not too terribly long a wait—just long enough for one of my co-waitees to sneeze two dozen times—and the nurse unwraps Top Management’s toe sando, complimenting her mightily on the wrapping job. Unlike when I normally unwrap a sandwich, however, this time it hurt. (At least, I assume it doesn’t, but never having been a sandwich before, I reckon I wouldn’t know for sure.) A lot. So of course I giggled. Which didn’t seem to faze the nurse. I get the impression she’s seen quite a bit.
So the doctor comes in and asks me to tell him the story. And when I get to the part about the toe staying in the bathroom while the rest of me went out in the hall he yelled, "Oh!" and closed his eyes and turned away. And then his hands clenched involuntarily and he shivered.
Which was really rather unsettling.
So then he compares my left foot and my right foot and while the left looks much, much better than it did last night—and not just because I was now able to look at it directly, rather than through squinted eyes—the pinky toe still wasn’t snuggled up against the ring toe the way it had been for most of its life.
So he pokes and prods all over my foot ever so gently—causing me, of course, to giggle, which seems to disconcert him slightly more than it did the nurse—always asking me if this hurts, well, then, how about this and whenever I tell him it doesn’t he says, good, good, oh that’s good, oh that’s excellent, that’s really great news.
"So," I say. "Is it just a sprain then?"
He looks surprised. "Oh no," he replies. "It’s a break. You really did quite a job on it. It’s going to take at least six weeks to heal, and it’s going to hurt like this for at least two more weeks."
Then he wraps me up like Lon Cheney Jr in The Mummy and gets me one of them big Shaquille O’Neil-looking sandal/shoes folks wear in situations like mine and tells me I’ll be wearing this non-stop for the next ten days or more.
But no drugs. Just Advil, although four or five at a time will be fine.
Oh, and he wants me back on Monday to have it x-rayed. Just to make sure I’m not going to need surgery, maybe have a pin placed in it.
That stopped the laughter but right quick.
He wanted to watch me walk with my Shaq shoe, just to make sure it fit okay. As I gingerly stepped on it, he winced. "Ooh," he said, turning his head as though he could barely bear to watch. "My toes are clenching in sympathy." I thought it rude to point out that his toes could clench.
[Not really—this guy’s the bee’s knees.]
So I drove home and walked in and the four most gorgeous girls in the world turned to look at me with big concerned eyes, then stared down at my Shaq shoe.
"Daddy," The Bean asked. "Why are you wearing that? Is your toe all better?"
"Sure is," I said happily. "They had to cut it off, but at least I’ve got nine healthy toes left. That’s why I’m wearing this shoe, until the nub heals all the way."
At least The Boy thought it was funny.
But not as funny as this.
Ha! Reason # 1725917 and counting.