On Friday morning I was rushing through my exercises, as usual, and thinking about five other things, as usual. Preparing for a hamstring stretch, I swung my left foot up toward the cedar chest. I missed, and the top of my foot hit the couch.
Side note: It’s not really a couch. It’s a loveseat/sleeper, a purply-pink fabric stretched over a frame made of steel, or possibly bricks. The corner, where the steel/bricks meet, was where my second toe connected.
Instantly I unleashed multi-syllabic swear words. The air turned blue overhead. I swear the loveseat blushed. After hobbling around the living room like a football player who’s just taken a crotch shot (Walk it off, Freedman, walk it off), I said out loud, “I have got to start paying attention to one thing at a time.”
On the bright side, the pain gave me an excuse to declare my exercises finished for the day.
Donna the damaged doofus
The toe still hurt an hour later. It was bruised in the same mottled color scheme as the loveseat, and noticeably swollen. When I tried to move the digit, the needle on my pain meter leapt about 30 points. A perfect match for “broken toe symptoms.”
And boy, did I feel like a doofus. “I broke my toe because I wasn’t paying attention” is a pretty stupid thing to do, let alone admit. How much cooler to be able to say something like:
I broke my toe while setting an Olympic speed-skating record.
I broke my toe running out of a burning pet shop with my arms full of puppies and bunnies.
Technically, I could have gone to my HMO. But what could a doctor do? Probably tell me the same thing the Internet did: Ice it and stay off it.
The bag lady
I don’t have an ice pack, but remembered the old mom-trick of freezing a wet washcloth in a plastic bag. There followed a frugalist stereotype of epic proportions: Me sorting through my saved-bag collection.
- The hot-dog roll and bread bags were too big; besides, I wanted to hang on to them to store leftovers.
- The frozen soybeans bag was smaller but also kind of cellophane-y so it wouldn’t wrap around my foot.
- Tons of Ziplocs, but these cost money.
- Cheap plastic sandwich bags would have been perfect but I’m out; waiting for another coupon sale at Walgreens.
(Yes, I already know I need to get a life. Thank you for bringing it up.)
Finally I decided on a Lender’s Bagels bag and have been using it and the frozen washcloth ever since. My toe still looks ugly, but it’s improving. Today I’ll have to put on real shoes in order to keep an appointment; I’ll take flip-flops along in case the digit starts to swell again.
It could have been worse (even though it still sucks)
The frugal lesson here: Inattention can cost you, both literally and figuratively.
- Until I can walk a minimum of two miles I’ll use the bus for errands, at $4 to $4.50 round-trip.
- The hobble-shuffle gait is making the rest of me ache, especially my lower back.
- If I’m shoeless much longer my plantar fasciitis will come back, since I can’t wear arch supports with flip-flops.
- This sedentary life is not healthy, especially since walking is my main exercise (I gave away my car last August).
I suppose I got off cheaply, though. Suppose I’d broken my ankle? That would have cost me a taxi or an ambulance plus a nice chunk of my $1,500 deductible, followed by the problems noted above – and for a lot longer).
No, this was just a slightly painful reminder to focus on what I’m doing while I’m doing it. Next time I might not be so lucky.
And the corollary lesson? Exercise is dangerous. Avoid it.