Years ago, my husband and I were walking somewhere in North Carolina and saw a sign that said “Watch Out for Bears.” It sure got my attention and the next thing I know, I was on my face. Hubby has never let me live that down, but I wasn’t really watching out for bears. I was wondering how on earth a bear could fit through such a thick forest and looking for trails in the woods.
A few years ago, a champagne bottle fell from the top of the fridge and broke 2 of my toes. Once, I fell in a Roman bath and got to see the decidedly less glamorous side of Italian hospitals. Another time, I cut my finger to the bone while slicing a bagel open.
This week, I tripped over a blower in the garage while carrying 2 chairs that I had just painted. (Don’t worry, the chairs only sustained minor contusions.)
Let’s all agree that maybe I’m not the most graceful person. And for that reason, I feel that I’m pretty much an expert at breaking my toes now. Here are some practical tips on what to do if you break your toe (beyond the obvious of seeking medical advice.)
This is not intended as medical advice. It’s intended to be a humorous look at a crappy situation. Please seek real medical advice from professionals.
The Proper Way to Break Your Toe
- Make sure your insurance is good to go. Hubby started a new job this week and guess who doesn’t have insurance yet. This girl. So no doctor’s visit for me. Luckily, I’ve broken toes before and I know that all they do is take x-rays and tape your foot. Then charge you $500 for it. ***I’m not advocating not going to the doctor. You should go. I’m sure I will regret this decision.
- Don’t do it while you’re home alone. Even if I had insurance, there’s no way that I could have made it to my car and driven to my doctor’s office. It was 2 hours before my son got home and I could ask him for a baggie of ice.
- Your home should be spotless. Let’s just say that mine isn’t and the dog hair dust bunnies are almost as big as the actual dog at the moment. It’s really bugging me.
- Your family should be healthy so they can take care of you. Mine is currently going through the flu, so help is a bit lacking right now. And guess who will be next to get that flu? That’s right, me. Kids are the gifts that keep on giving…
- Your schedule should be clear. Mine never is lately. With 2 shop spaces that I had huge plans for and the end of the school year, nope, definitely not clear. Why do you think I was in the garage painting ALL THE THINGS?
- All of your errands and home chores should be done. I procrastinated grocery shopping and laundry and let’s just say that I regret those decisions.
- Your first aid supplies should be located in an easy to reach location and organized. It took me several dizzy trips to find medical tape before I gave up and asked hubby to buy me some when he got home hours later.
- Make sure that you’re freshly showered. I had spent a day painting and spraying paint, so my whole body was covered in paint. It took a while before I could get up the nerve to shower. TMI? By the way, scraped knees hurt even worse when you’re a grown up.
So let’s get real. It’s never going to be a good time to break a bone or get sick. Here are some things that are helping me survive right now, beyond the real advice for what to do if you break your toe.
What to Do if You Break Your Toe
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After going through a pretty rough mystery illness, this broken toe almost broke my spirit. I’m not going to lie, I spent a lot of time pouting in bed. Pity party: table for one. I slept too much. And stopped eating.
And seriously considered giving up on everything. This blog, my business, painting furniture. It just felt like everything was against me.* It’s just not an option though. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am. Yes, progress will slow down for a bit, but once I feel better, I’m going to make up for lost time. Watch out world.
(*I left out the part where my husband had to practically drag me outside to prove that I could do it. Not trying to make light of the sadness I was feeling about this. Just trying to move past it.)
- Give yourself some grace. Yes, your lack of grace got you here, but it’s important to rest. I’m trying really hard to take each day 1 day at a time and only do what I can today. I stayed in bed with my foot up for about 4 days, only coming out when necessary. I recently dealt with a lot of health issues and that’s something valuable that I learned. Take each day one at a time. Don’t worry about what you can’t do today. Do what you can. Worrying accomplishes nothing. So procrastinate the worrying until it’s not an issue anymore and you can deal with things in a logical manner. Easier said than done, but it’s helpful for surviving a rough time.
- Look on the bright side. It’s the perfect time to catch up on your reading. Or your tv shows. Or whatever you like to do in your downtime. And let’s face it. You’ll have a lot of downtime.
- Cancel all the things that you can. For me that meant letting my daughter’s teach know that I cannot be a chaperone at the field trip. It wasn’t the walking that scared me. It was being around 60 4th graders and possibly getting stepped on.
- Ask for help. Or pay for it. Hubby had to help with laundry and grocery shopping. He does a lot for me, but those 2 things are not in that list usually. My kids will have to help me set up at Sweet Clover. They’re helping clean the house. They’ve been making their own lunches and getting the dog from the crate in the mornings. Man, I normally do everything around here!
- Rest. The more you rest, the faster you will heal.
- Ice. I normally hate ice for injuries, but it really does ease the pain. Wrap your bag of ice in a towel to protect your skin.
- Elevation. It’s suggested to elevate your foot higher than your heart, but I find that really uncomfortable. For me, as long as it’s above knee level, it feels better. So resting in a chair while I sit in another chair works. Some of us aren’t flexible…
- You’ll have to be braver than you want. Everything is scary. Your house is filled with dangerous things now that might jump out and bump your toe. Doors, table legs, bed posts, kids, pets; they’re all extremely scary. Don’t get me started on the death traps known as stairs. Those first few trips to the bathroom are excruciating adventures. And the dog is terrifying. She just wants to love me and I’m so afraid of her. She’s 65 pounds of danger to my toes.
- A sense of humor. One day this will make a great story. The day I lost a fight with a messy garage. The best part of the store is that apparently my recent Amazon searches landed me in the “foot fetish” category for things I might also like and the suggestions are “interesting.” The last time I broke my toes, I had a party when I healed with Fri-toe pie and toe-tinis. Nothing more appetizing than toes. And puns are always fun.
- If you’re into DIY, accept that your projects are going to be small for a while. Stay tuned for lots of smaller DIY projects that you can do without having to move very much. That should be my new tagline. So catchy!
- Medical tape alternative. I bought this broken toe wrap on a whim to get 1 day shipping and I have zero regrets. This thing is even better than the reviews say. Within minutes of putting it on, I felt less pain. I’m not great at taping injuries, so that’s probably the real difference. It’s comfortable and easy to use.
- Walking shoe. I knew from my last toe breaking adventure that this lovely walking shoe would make life easier. Plus, it felt like I was injuring the rest of the bones in my foot when I avoided placing weight on my toes. This shoe makes it possible to walk longer distances than just the bathroom. And after a while, you’ll feel like you’re walking almost normal.
- My iPad. All this downtime and resting is not great after a while. I’m a do-er and I have a hard time sitting around. So my iPad helps me feel like I’m doing something. I can read on it, or draw. Lately, I’ve been watching lots of Skillshare videos on it and learning how to draw all the things. My daughter is an avid animator, so we sit together and draw on our iPads together. We watched a video by one of my favorite illustrators, Lisa Glanz and learned how to draw cute animals. I used those same techniques but skipped the scanning process and just used fun brushes in procreate.
Like I said, there is never a great time to break a bone or get sick. But a good attitude goes a long way to recovery. Also, learn from my mistake and never, ever wear flip flops in the garage (even if you’re “only painting.”) I hope this survival guide helped you figure out what to do if you break your toe.