Slope of Hope Blog Posts

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‘Tis But a Scratch!

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Over the course of my lifetime, I have proved myself to be one of Earth's most modest users of medical services. I've never broken a bone. I've never been hospitalized. I've never had a serious illness of any kind. And my faith in my constitution is strong enough that I only had a physical recently at Mrs. Bear's insistence, and it was the first in over twenty years. To put it another way, if the citizens of the U.S. had my good fortune, there would be no health care crisis or looming Medicare debacle.

With this preface, I shall briefly review the events of Saturday evening. While it would be more glorious to recount my tale of having push a grandmother (who was in flames) and her three granddaughters (also afire) out of the way of a locomotive, only to suffer injury myself, it would be uncharacteristically disingenuous of your host. So you'll get the truth.

My little girl was feeling sleepy, so I took her upstairs for a nap. Being a bit of a somniferous sort myself, I laid down next to her, closed my eyes, and was soon asleep. (It turns out she decided she was no longer sleepy and decided to spend her time more productively. Thus I was snoring away, surrounded by pastels.).

Not long after, I heard Mrs. Bear call me from downstairs. Such utterances automatically fire up a program that changes me from Neutral to 5th Gear, so I instantly leaped out of bed, put the Locomotion control on maximum, and swung my right left – – little toe first – – into the side of the open door. I then, being a cerebral sort, rammed my head into the same door (thankfully for my regular readers, my skull is very thick, plus I hit my head on the broad side of the door, not the edge or corner). Having distinguished myself as not only a responsive husband but also a remarkably graceful one, I collapsed in a heap onto the carpet.

Now let me pause here to say I don't deal well with pain. Take Jack Bauer, find his opposite, and you'll be staring at me. The amount of torture required for me to reveal our nation's secrets probably has its limit at taking my iPhone earpiece away. My foot hurt a lot, and I was bleeding, so I told my son to bring me a towel. He did this after pulling down every other towel from the rods in his bathroom to the floor. Kids are like that, I suppose, to give me something to do later.

Hobbling to his bathroom, I hoisted myself up to the vanity, stuck my right foot in the sink, and flushed it with warm water. I then asked my son for a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, which he delivered, and I poured it on the affected area. At this point, I figure dabbing the wound dry and putting a band-aid on it would be the end of this little incident. Let's remember I was awarded my Eagle Scout badge at thirteen years old. Band-aids are all you ever need.

Mrs. Bear didn't see things my way. "You're going to the doctor. Now." No I'm not! "Yes, you are." I'm not going to do it. I don't need to! "If you don't get up and get to the car, I'm calling the fire department to pick you up." Grumble.

So off all of us went. Now, I could go on for many pages about what happened over the next four hours, but since you're probably just wondering where the charts are, and why I'm telling you this story, I'll just hit a few of the highlights of the evening:

  • The screen at Urgent Care stated a wait time of an hour, but I think they purposely inflate that to scare people away. I got in there within about 15 minutes. The triage nurse, whom I thought would simply hand me a band-aid and tell me to go home, told me that I absolutely would need to see the doctor.
  • A well-dressed couple appeared after us, and Mrs. Bear knew the woman from a former school. They had just been at a school auction, and during a dance, someone had stepped on her toe, thus bringing them to the same facility. Toes must have been ill-fated by the stars that evening. It occurred to me when they arrived that the story behind my presence there needed some enhancing. Running into a door of my own free will just wasn't going to do.
  • The first time I realized this might not be as minor as I thought was when I pulled my little toe a bit to reveal where my skin had split. The bone inside the toe just sort of went "bloink" and clicked over, as if it was freely floating. It's not supposed to do that. So I guess a band-aid would have been a mistake.
  • When the doctor arrived, his reaction – – and the fact he said he was "impressed" by the injury – – didn't give me much comfort. This was ameliorated by the fact that I got to sit, Dick Cheney-style, in a wheelchair. During the portions of time I was unsupervised, I screeched up and down the hallways in my new toy, warming up for Murderball. I had never been in a wheelchair before, so this was a new experience. Mrs. Bear has known me long enough to simply advise me to be careful, instead of impounding the vehicle as someone less understanding might have done.
  • The only really nasty part of the evening was getting a series of shots to numb the area where they'd have to do the stitching. You've already read I don't deal well with pain. Getting multiple pokes in and around the little toe compelled me to displace my pain and trauma by howling like Carmen Miranda. "Ay yi yi yi yi!!!!!" I have no shame about how loudly or how often I'll shriek this, which my children found hysterical.
  • And, finally, the stitches. Here I am, 42 25 years old, and I'd never received a stitch in my life. There's probably a religion out there which dictates I can't get into heaven now.

The most interesting coincidence was that the doctor who worked on me had the exact same incident happen to his toe. He told me that the pinky toe wasn't exactly that useful, and that I should accept the fact that, like him, I'd have "floppy toe" for the rest of my life. I suppose if I'm going to condemn a body part to permanent flaccidity, the smallest toe isn't a bad choice.