Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5 Things I Learned From Breaking My Toe

This is the first bone I've broken, and while I would rather have continued my no-breaks record instead of shattering it (along with my toe), I've learned some things along the way. Instead of breaking your own toe, please learn from my fail:

1. The initial pain, while the most intense, was not the worst. The worst is the recurring pain. I leave the foot down for too long - it hurts. I accidentally walk normally - it hurts. I do nothing and the nerve endings twitch - it hurts. The best part and the worst part of all this? It doesn't hurt all the time. That's the best part because, obviously, pain-free is the way to be; it's the worst part because if it hurt all the time, I'd be more inclined to take some ibuprofen. Since it doesn't hurt constantly, I've gotten myself convinced that I don't need the pain-killers...until the next time it hurts.

2. The itching! My god, the itching. I've read about broken bones before and know people who have broken something before, and so I knew on an intellectual level that the healing process itches, but I was not prepared for the very intense, prickly heat sensation. I can't even scratch it, because - you guessed it - that hurts. I just keep reminding myself that it's a sign of healing, and how it's really a good thing, and yadda-yadda-yadda I just want to scratch the bone it itches so much. The only experience I've had to compare this to is allergy-induced itchy eyes, where I just want to pop my own eyeballs out to get to the source of the itching. That is gross, now that I read it, but that's how I feel in the middle of allergy season, and it's how my foot feels now.

3. The whole "keeping it wrapped" thing. I've been "buddy-taping" the broken toe to a healthy neighboring toe, as one is supposed to do in this situation, and there is a very fine line between "wrapped loose enough to irritate the break", "wrapped just right", and "wrapped too tightly and now your pinky toe's turning purple".

4. Broken toes are apparently enthralling to kids and animals. My loving daughter and dog keep bumping it or trying to lay on it or poke/sniff at it. I know they're curious and/or concerned, but neither one of them understands the concept of "leave it alone, will ya?"

5. This one was the most mind-boggling for me: Contrary to what I believed prior to this experience, you do not need to kick something hard to break a toe. In my case, I kicked my other foot while taking a stumble first thing in the morning; it wasn't even a powerful kick, but I hit that toe just right (or just wrong), and bam! - broken. The toes on either side were fine, but the "little piggy who had none" was just unlucky, I guess. I've rebroken it twice since the original injury, and in both cases, they were regular toe-stubbings that just happened to hit the exact wrong toe. The last one was against a table leg, something I've done a million times, and oh man, it hurt so much, even worse than the initial injury.

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