A touch of the panic

Last week I taped some video footage for a Momversation about swine flu:

I’m posting it here for a couple of reasons. One, there are days here in this third trimester of pregnancy when I retain every ounce of liquid I consume causing all extremities of my body to swell. And then the very next day there is nothing, no swelling, and people could swear that I’ve suddenly lost ten pounds. I taped this video on one of the days when my hands were so sausage-like that I could not bend my index finger, and you can see in the footage that I’m even retaining water under my eyes. How is this supposed to be useful? I cannot imagine that this serves a purpose. Were cave women routinely running out of food and left no choice but to puncture the swollen bags under their eyes to feed their starving children? Is that even sanitary? Hey mom, I’m hungry, CAN I SUCK YOUR EYE?

Two, Jon took me to the clinic yesterday to have a week-old broken toe checked out, and as we were waiting in the lobby for the nurse to call my name someone emphasized the word SNEEZE in a conversation they were having with a friend. And I’m not even kidding, three people ran for the door. Seems people have a touch of the panic. I could understand such a reaction if the person had shouted FIRE! or LOOK, IT’S ANDY DICK! but there wasn’t even an actual sneeze involved in this exchange. Unless of course the virus has mutated and is now being passed around through vocabulary.

About that week-old broken toe… yeah. When I called to make an appointment the nurse was like, wait a minute, it’s been broken how long? And I just didn’t have the energy to explain to her how I like to practice a holistic approach to healing called DENIAL. The thing is, I’ve got really long toes and a life-long habit of ramming them into stationary objects. My pinky toes are always reaching out and grabbing the corners of furniture, kind of like a thirteen-year-old boy who is clutching a bat and leaning out the passenger-side window of a station wagon so that he can swing at passing mailboxes. Is a table missing a leg? Is there a mysterious hole in the kitchen cabinet? You might think to blame a vandal, but chances are I WAS JUST WALKING THROUGH THE ROOM.

Nine days ago I was just passing through the living room on my way to the front door when suddenly the pinky toe on my left foot lunged at the couch and grabbed hold of its wooden base. It all happened so quickly that it wasn’t until five seconds later that I remembered hearing a CRUNCH! And then the pain settled in, a throbbing, soaring pain. Hours later the entire left side of my foot turned black. Is that not the most pathetic thing you’ve ever heard? I mean, it’s not like I can go around bragging about the wild bear I wrestled to the ground. People ask me why I’m limping and I want to go, “The war! I just got back from the war!” When really I got my ass whooped by an inanimate couch.

I thought I’d just treat it at home, stick a bag of ice on it every other hour and pop a few tylenol here and there. Except I forgot I was living with The World’s Worst Dog, an animal who has no sense of boundaries and routinely steps on our faces while we’re lying in bed. So of course she followed me around for seven days, trailed my every move, and treated my toe like the wounded sheep most vulnerable to wolves. Cute, right? You can’t buy that kind of attention. Except she thought that by standing on my toe she was protecting it from further couch attack. Like, is this helping? How about if I pounce on it? Is that better? Here, let me grind my front paws into your toe and we’ll call it a massage.

The bruising and pain only got worse, so we decided to have a doctor take a look at it to make sure I didn’t need surgery. Good news is that my toe is still attached to my foot, although there is a clear spiral fracture on my pinky toe:

broken toe

broken toe

Bad news is that I have to wear an incredibly awkward boot for the next four weeks, and oh my god, the immobility is DRIVING ME NUTS. Especially since the nesting hormones are so strong right now that the adrenaline rush I got from organizing our toothbrushes was not unlike snorting an entire eight ball of cocaine.

  • http://questrade-coupon.blogspot.com Michelle

    Hmmm…I agree with Amy why the boot?
    Thanks for sharing was very interesting to read.

  • Maria from NJ

    You are lovely when you snort :)

  • Melissia

    Spiral fracture is a classic symptom of abuse. Obviously some dog has grabbed you by the small toe and twisted, investigators will be at your home soon, having been alerted by the doctor! Hope you feel much better soon.

  • Barb

    Lordy, Heather. I once broke my foot and had to wear a boot on and off for TWO YEARS. During college. My advice: let it heal! To this day (more than 10 years later) I still have pain in that foot, and it’s very fragile. Like, when my husband gives me footrubs, he has to be extra gentle with the way he touches my foot.

    In other news, I’m with you about swine flu.

  • http://weeziepeazie.blogspot.com/ Louise

    I think my toes stayed curled up through that whole story. now they are paranoide. Lol

  • http://www.hagerdash.com HAGERDASH

    As much as I hate admitting this, Dooce, you’re kind of cute. Pathetic but cute.

  • http://luckythireenandcounting.com sandi

    Do you lay in bed at night and crack yourself up? I couldn’t be you. I would have a sore gut all the time from laughing out loud at my own thoughts. You are a riot!

  • http://www.memoryworkshop.ca Sandra

    I’m probably not the first person to suggest wearing ‘inside’ shoes around the house if you’re prone to this kind of thing. Not to mention that body oils & sweat from bare feet make your floors dirtier than socks and (clean) shoes.

    You can mock the Crocs all you want…they have saved my toes more times than I care to count. (from table legs, stomping dogs, Lego…)

  • http://www.monkeythoughts.com Monkey

    Popsicle sticks & duct tape.
    I’m just saying…

  • malie

    I too broke my toe just over a week ago (left pinkie also, as it happens), though only my toe itself turned purple, and my very accurate and specific diagnosis from my highly qualified nurse friend was thus: “it’s either a bad sprain or a slight fracture.” Nothing so fancy as what you’ve done there.

  • April

    As long as we’re all having fun sharing and one-upping each other and Heather, this reminds me of having to pull on waist-high compression stockings at 8 months pregnant because of horrifying varicose veins. I cannot even begin to describe what that process must have looked like to an observer. I will only say that it involved lying on my back on the bed, lots of grunting and swearing, and working up a sweat. And none of that in the good way.

  • http://handbagsandhandguns.blogspot.com hotpants™

    I’m not going to lie. This totally grossed me out.

    “Were cave women routinely running out of food and left no choice but to puncture the swollen bags under their eyes to feed their starving children? Is that even sanitary? Hey mom, I’m hungry, CAN I SUCK YOUR EYE?”

  • Lindy

    Boots suck balls. It’s true. But now you have one for the next time this happens. Does it make you limp because your legs are different lengths now? If that’s the case, be careful…it can cause back pain.

    If you don’t plan on keeping it, can I suggest donating your boot to a place that gives them out to uninsured people? Those things can cost an arm and un-broken leg if you aren’t insured.

  • http://tinyapple.wordpress.com katie

    yeah, what the hell is up with nesting hormones? i get that way sometimes right before my period even, and i swear i’m going to drive my husband to leave me some day. at least those are the only times i’m ever inspired to do the really nasty jobs like cleaning out the closet under the basement stairs. the scary closet. which is now a testiment to my anal retentivness and the power of hormonal surges.

  • Jessica

    I think the whole pandemic thing is total hype. Media-freaking hype. Tough economic times? Hey everyone, look over here at the monkey! Or – swine. Whatever.

    Can I just say that the 9 months we actually had our child in a public school were THE unhealthiest in any of our lives? We haven’t seen puke since we started home schooling, except for that one time, and we blamed that on the cheap rum. Harumph!

    Close all the schools down, I say! Close them! They are nothing but seething, breeding petri dishes of virus, and they will only continue to get worse.

  • Beth

    Ok. The swine flu thing is such a joke. The whole reason they were really worried about the pandemic thing if because they were afraid that this strain of flu had a certain protein in it that would make it a “killer flu”, like in the 1918 pandemic that killed 50 million people. But they know now that this strain of flu doesn’t have that protein. I think it is crazy to close schools down for weeks, not that they probably don’t need cleaned because of all the other bacteria and crap that is there. Alright, I’m done ranting. I hope your toe feels better.

  • Elizabeth


    About a year ago my fiance kidnapped the scarf I had just finished knitting and locked himself in the bedroom. I chased after him only to RUN INTO A COUCH and BREAK MY FOURTH TOE. Everyone asked me how I hurt myself and I had to tell them A COUCH DID IT. There is nothing more humiliating.

    My toe was pointing completely in the wrong direction after that, though, so I had to go to the hospital immediately. (They didn’t let me see my x-rays… how disappointing.)

  • Anonymous

    I can bend my right pinkie toe in a 90-degree angle to the right…due to avoiding the doctor until too late.

    Him: “I’ll just rebreak it and set it right”
    Me: Like hell!

  • jomims

    Can’t believe you bought into the whole SO YOU BROKE YOUR TOE NOW YOU NEED A BOOT TO PREVENT ANYMORE INJURIES TO THAT TOE thing. Remember they can’t do anything for a broken toe??!! Well i bought into the whole “they can’t do anything for you” and the pain was horrific for two months and now occasionally that middle toe that i dislocated sends nerve messages to my brain that scream bloody murder. Maybe the boot would have done me good. Denial was my savior and I’m sticking with it til the end. I feel for ya and hope it heels soon as you will be needing your feet in real good shape to put in the stirrups!!! Oh gosh I ramble…..

  • http://www.soeursdujour.com/ Kath

    Oh been there and it is painful. I mean the toe, the pregnant part I don’t understand but I can’t imagine having both at once, the toe would be enough. Good luck and I hope you heal quickly.

  • JennyM

    In all seriousness, I hope the toe gets better quickly.

    However, in the most incredibly gross understatement of all time, Dooce is funny.

  • lizvelrene

    I have done the SAME EXACT THING. I think my official diagnosis is Queen Klutz of the Universe, the symptoms of which are: I was carrying a laundry basket and I kicked a piano. You would think that a large object like a piano, I would be able to avoid. But no. I walked right into it as I tend to do and I was not wearing shoes this time and I broke my little toe.

    You would not think that your very tiniest appendage could cause so much trouble, but oh, it does. You have to wear crappy hard-soled shoes forever and elevate your throbbing foot and walk kind of lopsidedly for awhile. But people do bring you ho-hos and drinks while you’re laid out on the couch, so there’s that. Can That Awful Dog be trained to fetch from the refrigerator?

  • http://kylealbert.blogspot.com Kyle Albert

    If it makes you feel any better, I broke my foot a few years by doing a cart wheel into a ping pong table. I’m not even kidding.

  • chuk

    Ha. Last week I saw 3 different people panic-shopping at the SLC Costco. Two of them looked like they might spend a great deal of time defending the mouths of their private box canyons, but the other seemed perfectly normal.

    The normal one had an entire cart loaded with Lysol, Wipes and Nyquil. As Nyquil probably wasn’t going to save her from a deadly pandemic, I had to assume she planned to spend the next 3 months high.

  • stay_see_

    You have my sympathy. I’m pregnant too (EDD is today, actually, although the baby doesn’t seem to know that) and broke my right pinky toe during the 1st trimester. Well, I think it was broken – I never found out for sure because I didn’t feel comfortable getting an x-ray during the 1st trimester, and there’s no other way to diagnose a broken toe. By the time the second trimester rolled around, the pain had dulled enough that the x-ray just didn’t happen. I will probably get it checked out for real once the kid exits my cooch.

    But let me tell you, I have been having SUCH pelvic pain during this last trimester. Which was not a problem at all during my first pregnancy. I swear it’s because I still walk a little funny thanks to that stupid fucking toe. I wish now that I’d gotten the boot, awkward as it would have been. But they told me “there’s nothing you can do for a broken toe anyway, just tape it up and ice it.” Yeah, okay.

    Mine was a couch, too. It took such great restraint not to raise it over my head, She-Ra style, and hurl the damn thing out the window.

  • http://www.mandinka.etsy.com Mandinka

    You’re so damn funny, it’s magical!
    I’d love to see you waddling around in your silly boot with your sausage fingers and puffy eyes.

  • http://www.lightingtheweb.com Quoizel lighting

    I hate when my little piggies get a mind of there own and start atacking the furniture. I thought I had them better house trained.

  • http://professionalcritic.blogspot.com/ Professional Critic

    I adore it when my cat stands on my foot. Though I can see liking it quite a bit less if my foot was throbbing and black.

  • moondoggie

    We have two permanent and one occasional large hairy dogs sleeping with us at night, and I hear you loud and clear. We now tend to think of them as goats rather than dogs, as our bodies are mountains for them to climb–never mind that part of the mountain may be a face…

    Chuck’s photo is incredible with the blue stuff around his eyes and floor and chair–how ever did you accomplish that with sausage fingers? Good. Dog. Job.

  • http://www.yogabitch.blogspot.com kristin kaminski

    First off just READING ABOUT about the toe/couch collision hurt my weary heart. SEEing it was downright pornographic.
    Or graphic.
    graphic violence!
    yah. That’s the word I was looking for.

  • http://www.allconsuming.blogspot.com kim at allconsuming

    It appears you have more bones in those couple of toes on that xray than the rest of us have in our whole foot. Freak!

    But seriously. They’re making you wear a boot? Now that’s funny.

  • http://www.iambossy.com/ BOSSY

    Bossy can never see anything on -rays. Just like she can never see the baby in ultrasounds. Is that the penis? A hand? The protruding ass-hat, what?

  • Anonymous

    Those are some long toes!

  • http://www.thephotofather.com Tom

    Is it not strange that one person has now died from the swine flu and everyone wants to wear a mask and AIDS has killed millions and no one still wears a condom?????

  • Paula

    Oh, yes, I like the holistic healing method called DENIAL, too. (And it’s much less expensive than traditional insurance and copays.) I fell and broke my arm by slipping on a wet floor in a cafeteria, barely managed to locate my car in the parking lot due to intense pain, drove home, got through dinner “single-handedly,” sang Happy Birthday to my then one-year-old (it was his birthday and I didn’t want to miss/spoil that!), then reluctantly admitted that I needed to go to the ER for an x-ray.

    On the other hand, we have men: My husband stubbed his toe badly while racing to answer the phone a few hours after I HAD GIVEN BIRTH WITHOUT AN EPIDURAL!! He courageously tried to prevent himself from talking about HIS pain but did down a few Advil. Likewise, his father had a story about trudging bravely up a hill in a blizzard to see “the new baby” after my husband was born, and being congratulated by the nurses for making it back to the hospital after dropping off his wife.

    Good luck with, uh, everything!

  • http://www.twitter.com/chrystalmae Chrystal

    Ohhhh I feel your pain. Well not really, but I’m in my third trimester too. I’m a mess :P

  • Icy-1

    Holy Smoly, alien toes…

  • http://www.lifedelicious.net MamaCass

    I think our toes are in cahoots. Mine are also long, and in constant search of things to run into, get stuck on, or both. One is crooked from a break that I never wore the boot for. So now, not only is it long, but crooked. Cute.

  • Jenn

    Oh…yeah….I had to wear the space boot on both feet for a while right before we got married. I even got to sleep with one on (plantar fasciitis – fun!). They suck big time. Sorry dooce! At least I didn’t have dogs to trip me up at the time – i’d be in for it nowadays. As it is, going up and down the stairs is like a nascar speedway in our house.
    Good luck – hope you have a speedy recovery!

  • http://advicefromasinglegirl.blogspot.com/ Victoria

    Hope you feel better soon! :)

  • Jane

    You do have long toes.

  • Elita

    Wow I hope you recover soon! My boyfriend once broke a toe too… he was playing soccer and some one kicked him really hard. At the hospital, I felt so sorry for him that I bought a gift and some chocolates for his lunch :-D

    Get better, and post the xrays of your new toe!

  • http://www.knowlesnotes.blogspot.com/ Knowles

    I also take the holistic approach called DENIAL. Even when it comes to giving birth, I can’t believe it’s happening RIGHT NOW and that I should get to the hospital.

  • Anonymous

    Me, I have short toes, but they also reach out and grab things. I’ve broken the left little toe TWICE. 35 years apart. Must say as a little old lady, the recovery was much easier the second time around. I guess all those life experiences count for something when it comes to handling pain…

  • Jill

    Oh, I’m so sorry. I literally feel your pain, as I’m 35 weeks pregnant right now and am wearing a lovely plaster cast up to my knee for a fractured right pinky toe. Which I broke falling over a pair of high heeled shoes at the bottom of the stairs…that I took off before going up so I wouldn’t hurt myself coming down off balance…at my own baby shower. With any luck, this baby will stay in for the next week and a half until I get this off and have the incredibly awkward boot put on for another month. Good luck with the healing – I hope your little girl stays put until you’re fully mobile again!

  • http://deadbeatdaddy-o.blogspot.com/ J Dawson

    I can definitely relate to freakish toes. My left one hangs on top of the one beside it like its afraid to venture off. The good thing is I’ll never have to worry about jamming it.

  • April

    I live in Texas where someone DIED from the swine flu and no one is going to school. And I sneezed on this comment.

  • http://www.hoppytoddle.blogspot.com hoppytoddle

    For the bloating, google ‘watermelon granita’ & make it. Or, just get yourself some watermelon & eat it. It will make you pee the fluid out.

    I was breaking sandals with my swollen feet @ 35 weeks with MiniMe. I actually had to stop at DIllard’s on my way to the OB because the puffiness of the feet had snapped my sandals. I just couldn’t waddle around as the actual cliche.

  • Jana

    Sorry for the pain but this post has me in hysterics. Andy Dick?!?!?!?! bwahahahahahahahahahaha

    will you be wearing this boot in the stirrups? ’cause that would be an interesting shot.

  • Lori

    OMG!! Our toes must know each other!! My pinky toes are deformed because I have rammed them into countless table legs, walls, heater grates, etc. THe last damage I did to my toe had me wearing one of those lovely blue boots too. I woke up in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom. On the way back to bed my toe had to start a fight with the corner of the wall. The blinding pain made me fall into bed where I clutched my toe as if it might fall off. Woke up in the a.m. and found a puddle of blood in the sheets. My toes wasn’t warm because it hurt, it was warm because not only did I break it- I thought I didn’t need it at all and why don’t I just rip it off my foot completely. One week later I went to the Dr. and he sold me a $50 boot I never hardly wore.