Friday, June 4, 2010


This morning I was awakened by the ring of the telephone a little after 6 am.

Forgetting that our answering machine had died, and thinking I only had four rings to get to the phone before the machine kicked in, I jumped out of bed and stumbled groggily and clumsily to the phone. On the way out of the bedroom, my foot jammed hard into the doorway. I yowled in pain, answered the phone, and when I hung up I yowled some more. I fed the cats and limped back to bed, where I lay awake for an hour feeling the throbbing in my toes (specifically, in my fourth left toe) grow bigger and stronger. Finally, I got up and made some breakfast, got dressed and prepared to go do a short receiving shift at the shop. As I slipped my left foot painfully into a sock and shoe, I noticed that the purpling had begun on my fourth toe. I opted to go multi-modal (bike-bus combo) both ways to ease the stress of putting weight on my toe.

I limped through my shift, wincing at the pain which was manageable but still very evident.
As the hours passed the pain definitely grew worse and by the time I left I was really feeling it. I got home, vacuumed the carpet because I'd promised to and wanted to get it done, sat down and took my shoe off to have a look.


As I type this I am sitting in a pair of sandals, the only shoes I can wear right now, because when I finished vacuuming and took off my shoes, I saw that my fourth left toe had swollen a bit and had turned an amazing combination of colors. It looks like a three-year-old found the markers and went crazy with blue and purple, adding a touch of dark red for that high-concept effect. I can bend it, but the top is extremely tender to the touch and if I put pressure on it it definitely hurts. I'd go without the sandals but then I'd bump my toe into something (I'd done it twice already before getting the sandals out).

Without health insurance -- that's still the story for at least thirty million of us, so no hand-wringing, okay? -- there's no way I'm going to the ER to have it X-rayed. For now I'll assume it's not broken (please-oh-please-oh-pleeeeease), just very badly bruised. Bruises can be very painful all on their own, right?

The thing is, if it IS broken that definitely delays my entry into the 2010 racing season. It also puts an overall cramp in my style at home and work and, well, I'd just rather not go there.

Color me bummed.


Tarik Saleh said...

What? No photos?

Good luck and fast recovery. My experience says that even if you broke it, you will be on the mend pretty quick. So long as you didn't break the hell out of it. You don't have any customers at the shop who are physicians who could help you make a diagnosis on how serious you need to take it?

Good luck and hope you are magically better by monday.

Magpie Ima said...

Ouch! It sounds very painful. I do things like this all the time.

It sounds like your toe needs ice which is free and arnica tablets which are pretty cheap. Let me know if you want me to bring some over. They are amazing.

vercingetorix said...

On the upside, there are very small odds that anything is broken, Beth.

On the downside, joint injuries like you describe can often take months to heal, being tender and swollen a good part of the time.

Hope you can race nonetheless. It was a pleasure reading your excitement during last year's season.

bikelovejones said...

@ Tarik: No, no pix. It didn't happen while cycling and I'm not inclined to put pictures of a three-year-old's vision of High Art on the Web.

@ Magpie Ima: Thanks for the kind offer. I iced it when I got home and done with my chores yesterday, and I took a little ibuprofen which helped a lot. That said, I'd love to see you soon, for coffee or whatever. Gimme a call.

@ Vercingetorix: I'm guessing it's not proken, just very badly bruised. I can wiggle it, and it FEELS, well, bruiselike. (I've had broken bones and they feel different.) That said, today (Saturday) I'm off my feet and trying to stay unshod. Seems my toe does not like being put into a shoe for now. Even a slipper is pushing it.

Thanks for all the good thoughts, everyone. I'm fairly certain it's not broken and I'm willing myself to recover in time for the shirt-track course trial on the 14th. And I promise there will be pix of THAT.

Andrew said...

Do they even treat broken toes, anyway?

I was in a similar situation with no insurance after doing a slow fall into some flat handlebars that did something painful to the lower end of my ribcage. I'd heard that all you can do about bruised/broken ribs is sit around and heal, which my hockey-playing roommate confirmed.

Ain't 1st world life grand?