Oh, no! Oh, NO!!!
I’ve broken my toe. I’ve broken my toe.
It’s the truth. (I wouldn’t spoof!)
But my knee is doing so well that they turned me loose from physical therapy. I do not have to go back!
Thank you, Lord Jesus!!!
About that broken toe — Yesterday, when my friend, Emma, was visiting me, I got up to get something and ran into the leg of a chair or table or something (I honestly don’t know what!) and it kinda rammed in between my little toe and the one next to it and it really, really hurt! (“And the toes were on the foot of the leg that got a new knee, too,” she says sorrowfully, “as well as the foot that had a broken bone a couple of years ago.”)
I said to Emma, “I am almost sure that I just broke my toe!” She looked at me like she couldn’t believe it. (I guess that I wasn’t acting like I was in enough pain– She didn’t know that I wanted to hold my toe and dance about and holler!!!). Instead, I walked in a very controlled manner to my chair, pulled off my sock, peered upon it with great sympathy and it actually didn’t look too bad, but something was kinda’ “crunching” in there and my little toe really, really hurt.
“Well,” I said, “I guess I’ll just see how it does. Maybe it is just sprained.” (Wishful thinking!) The day wore on, Emma left to go to work, Certain Man came home and went to work in the chicken house. I fielded the many phone calls, fed my ladies, cleaned my kitchen, did a Xanga post, and occasionally would pull off my sock and gaze at my poor little toe that by now was turning quite purple. I googled “Small Toe Fracture” and sized up the advice. As I weighed my options, I decided that a trip to the emergency room in Milford was a great waste of useful time. Google recommended “ice, buddy taping, elevation and rest”. Those things I could do at home, indeed, wanted to do at home. I had a surgical followup the next morning, and it seemed to make good sense to wait.
And so, I did. This morning was its usual race against the clock with the buses– complicated by a two hour delay because of snow, and a Nettie appointment this afternoon at two o’clock. I had carefully calculated distances, and thought that it was “do-able” — that is, an appointment in Lewes at 10:20AM and one in the boonies of Dover at 2PM. That was before. everything. else. happened!!!
I put gauze between my toes, taped the two little ones together, actually got knee highs on and my snow boots before leaving for Lewes. Even with the unpredictable roads, I got to my Lewes appointment on time and the receptionist told the man ahead of me that the PA was on time. I was delighted until an hour later, I was forced to admit — She lied!
The waiting room was cold. So cold that a large black lady came in, plopped herself on a bench seat and said very loudly to the assembled victims “It sho is too bad that they didn’t have enough money to pay the ‘lectric bill and they done shut off the heat!!!” (She repeated this loudly twice or three times just in case the receptionist didn’t hear her at first!). We shivered in silence until the waiting got to be about an hour or so, and then conversations began to spring up all over the room. There was surprisingly little complaining, but we shook our heads over how long some people had waited, discussed plans for the day that had gone awry and mentally adjusted our schedules. Just when I thought all hope of being able to make it to Dover on time was gone, they called my name.
The technician said that she was taking me back to get the Xray out of the way to try to help appointments run more smoothly. She asked how the knee was doing, and I said that it was healing wondrously, and that I was so thankful for how it has done.
“But,” I said in a very small voice, “I think I might have broken my little toe yesterday.”
“You what???” She said. “You think you may have broken your toe? How in the world did you do that?”
So I told the tale, and she suggested that she have a look at it. I took off my snow boots, took off my black knee-hi stockings that I hate so much, and there was my poor, tape bound toe. “I guess you really do have it taped,” she laughed.
“Actually,” I said, “It is only one piece of tape. I wanted to not put a whole lot on it in case I needed to take it loose.” Which I did while I was defending my taping job. Really!!! I had taken a strip of tape about five inches long, had thread it between my second and third toes, brought the tape on top around the two littlest toes, and taken the rest of the tape around and brought it down a little lower, just in case the break was below the toe. It was sports tape, and when I did it, it felt right, and I thought it looked pretty good. Right at this moment, suddenly looking at it through her eyes, it looked kinda’ pitiful, wrinkled and there were black fuzzies sticking to it from my stockings.
I pulled the offending tape off, and she looked at my purple bent toe, and said cheerfully, “Yep, I think that toe is going to need X-rayed. Let me check with your insurance to be sure that I can do it at the same time that I am doing your knee, and if I can, we’ll get it done.” She soon came back and said, “Yes, indeed. There’s no problem with your insurance. We can do it!” And she did.
When she pulled the four X-rays out of the developer, I saw her put the two from the knee up to the light first. “Your knee looks great!” she said. “It’s doing just fine!” She put the other two that she had taken of the toe up and looked them over. And said nothing. She snapped them all together and put them in an envelope for the Jen, the Physician’s Assistant, to look at.
“What did you see? Is my toe broken?” I asked.
“I’m sorry.” She said, very, very kindly. “I can’t tell you. You are going to have to wait for Jen. They have a room ready for you already, and we are going to put you in. It will just be a few minutes.”
I looked at my boot and my limp stocking and my now bare foot. “Should I put my stocking and shoe back on? Or is the PA going to want to look at it?”
She didn’t hesitate a minute. “No. Don’t put anything back on. Jen is going to need to see it.” And I knew.
I sat in the examining room with a large print Readers Digest that claimed to be the funniest issue ever, and pretty much read every joke in there, but they were not funny. Most of them. I used the time to do some bending exercises on my knee so that I could impress Jen when she came in with how well the knee was doing. And I waited and waited. About 15 minutes after I was in there, a nurse poked her head in the door and said, “Let me see your knee,” and I dutifully pulled up my skirt and she ran her practiced hand over the scar and said, “Just beautiful!” and went out again. (I’m still puzzled about that one. I think they sent her in to break up the monotony, maybe. I know there were some really angry people milling about because of the long, long wait, but I wasn’t one of them . . .)
And then, after another 15 minutes, Jen came in with my chart. “So, you broke your toe, did you?” she asked.
“Is it broke?” I asked. “Is it my toe, or is it my foot? I’ve been so afraid that it was a “Jones” Fracture (a break in the bone that leads to the toe — especially difficult at times to heal) and I am quite relieved if it really is my toe.”
“It really is your toe,” she said, “but first things first. You are here because of your knee. Let’s talk about that first, and then we will get to the toe.” And so she made me bend the new knee, and straighten it, and she discussed therapy and whether I needed to continue, etc. etc. etc.. And then she said, “and now. About that toe. I don’t want you bending it. I think you should be in a flat shoe, and I don’t want there to be any movement.”
I looked at her in disbelief. Some of my therapy involves standing on tiptoes and going back down, 30 rounds of such shenanigans. And riding the bike. The foot just naturally curves as you ride bike. She could see my hesitation, but I tried to bring myself around. I finally said to her, “Jen, one of the things I purposed when I decided to get my knee replaced was that I was going to do what I was told to do to get better, and if I have to wear that flat shoe for my toe to heal, then I will do it. But if it really isn’t necessary, then I would really like not to wear it.”
She was thoughtful and did some calculating and finally said, “I will leave it up to you. If you want the flat soled shoe, I will give it to you. If you think you will be okay without it, I will let it go.
I finally said, “Okay. Why don’t I take the shoe, and if I am in a situation where I think I will be on my foot for a long time, or I am going to be bending it, I will wear the shoe. Otherwise, I will wear what feels best, and I will try to keep it taped and immobile.”
“That’s good. And I will need to see you back in 5 weeks to see if it is healing,” she said. “I wouldn’t have to see you again with your knee, but I do need to check the toe.” She stood in the middle of the room, hesitating a bit, and then said apologetically, “I hope that you won’t have to wait so long then. It’s been a really bad morning . . . “
I had stretched out my hand to shake hers, but suddenly felt the impulse to hug her. “Thank you so much for my new knee, Jen,” I said, “and tell Dr. Choy that I am so happy with it and thank him for me.”
She hugged me back and thanked me and looked happier. “I’ll send the girls in with your new shoe, ” she said and was gone. The girls came in with this dainty little shoe with velcro pads — and it didn’t fit. “We need a large,” they hollered to someone out there, “Women’s large” they said again for all the world to hear. And I got my shoe, and took care of all the paperwork and flew home to pick up Nettie and go to Dover for a lower extremity ultrasound series. While they worked on her, I skedaddled over to SAM’S for some much needed supplies, and then went back to pick her up and then came home to my warm, welcoming house. It is cold in Delaware, and I feel so blessed to be able to look at the stars and curl up in my chair and just take life easy. So far this evening, it hasn’t been unbearable, and for that, I give grateful praise.