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://DagmarBleasdale.com Dagmar Bleasdale

    I was going to write, “Heather, that doesn’t even LOOK like you! You are retaining THAT much water?” But then I watched the video and learned that the lady shown first wasn’t you.

    You look great, what are you talking about? All the best for your toe. I love your writing, you make me laugh.

    Trying to emulate you on my mommy blog, DagmarBleasdale.com.

    All the best,

  • http://poopandboogies.com William

    I was hoping to see an image of Jesus or the Blessed Mother int he x-ray image.

  • http://www.momtrolfreak.com momtrolfreak

    Whew! Glad a previous commenter figured out that extra-bone thing, I was worried that Sundries had discovered a new problem, and seriously, with everything else you’ve got going on, girlfriend, you don’t NEED no toe cancer. (cue Arnold Schwarzenegger: “It’s not a toe-mor.”)

  • lilacsandy

    Oh Heather, you poor woman! I feel your pain. I’ve always put it down to being clumsy, but you’re right, you know…. wayward digits and extremities and evil inanimate objects. I thought you might like a look at this… aired here in the UK a couple of weeks ago. Go with it… he gets to the point in the end, and, I kinda think he does have a point! Sort of works too, if you ‘think’ it cos you can’t be assed to get to grips with the carpentry (not that I tried it, you understand!)… would have to be pretty big box though to accomodate a sofa (but the effort and satisfaction may well be worth it!)


    You’re looking good… try to take things easy… it’ll all hit the fan soon enough…. good luck ;-)

  • msknudsen

    I’m sure you’re dying for yet another broken toe story, so here’s mine.
    I perform in musical theater productions. My dance partner came down on my left pinkie toe during rehearsal and absolutely CRUSHED it. Like you, the entire side of my foot turned black, then the bruise migrated to the middle of my foot before finally turning yellow and going away.
    But it gets better, because I still had to perform in the show. Six performances. Six fucking dance routines on that broken toe. With smiling and singing. And dear Internet, I am old. And cranky.
    It’s been over six months since I broke my toe; it is still purple and swollen. And no, I haven’t been to a doctor about it. In addition to being old, I am just that muleheaded. :)

  • http://4goodor4evil.blogspot.com Alpha Monkey Mama

    My dog just broke the same toe! Her break looked almost identical! But she broke hers during a freak-out over a thunderclap.

  • Seekay

    I stub my toes all the time but that’s just the beginning. I have to wear shoes ALL OF THE TIME. Once I got a parasite (so the doctors said) entered through the soles of my feet when I was GARDENING. It went up my legs, and my butt, it was AWFUL. I had red scars on my ass for a year.
    I was afraid to go to China because of the Bird Flu, so I did some research, and found out the only ones who actually died from the bird flu, had pet birds, and for some reason, contracted it from when they HAD to give their bird mouth-to-mouth recussitation. So I decided there was no need to panic.

  • http://keeponsmyelin.blogspot.com/ Nico Blue

    Speaking of stubbing toes, my daughter and I were just outside and she stubbed her toe not once but twice. Poor thing.

    Hope you’re able to get some quality nesting time in!

  • http://www.parsingnonsense.com Parsing Nonsense

    Your dog likes stepping on your feet, huh? Mine prefers digging his pointy puppy elbows into my flesh whenever convenient, and it’s ALWAYS convenient for him. Sorry to hear about the fracture and the boot, here’s hoping for a speedy recovery!

  • Brook

    Ugh. I manage to break my toes whenever I have too much going on, it’s like my body’s fallback plan for slowing me down. The most breaks: I once managed to crush my two smallest toes on my left foot, simply by accidentally kicking a doorway. The pinky toe bones had to be scootched out of my foot back into the empty skin-sack that was my toe, as I had actually managed to bash them up into the main part of my foot. Walking: there are hidden dangers. I nearly fell in love with the doctor who gave me Vicodin, a sweet old man with hairs that grew out of moles on his neck.

    I take issue with the idea that (paraphrasing, here) “we’re not doing our kids any harm by protecting them needlessly.” Because it is harmful to inadvertently teach kids that they are fragile creatures, incapable of handling the world’s dangers. We do them harm if we keep them from fun, harmless parties because we’re a bit nervous.

  • http://phxychk.wordpress.com Lisa

    At my office there is always SOMEONE who is breaking a toe, or getting bunion surgery, etc. requiring one of those boots. Instead of crutches our insurance provides them with those little scooters (roller-aid). Every other week there is a new person zooming down the halls. I’m going to post a speed limit so no one rolls over MY toe.

    Maybe they will let you have one for free if you sell them ad space on your website? :) Just an idea. Not sure what to do about the stairs though (elevator?!)

    Feel better!

  • http://www.meandthekid.net Katie

    How much do I love thee, this is but one of the ways.

  • Geri

    HA, HA, HA. HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!

    I just loved the nesting comment at the end with the adrenaline and eight ball reference. Ah, that takes me back. Good times — between the broken pinky toe (been there), super nesting (done that), and the eight ball (well, let’s just say I make good use of some severance pay when I was young and dumb), I loved it.

    I am going to watch the Momversation on Swine Flu, now. Jeez. It’s flu. More people die from REGULAR SEASONAL FLU!

    I was at the doctor’s office this week. “Any upper respiratory symptoms?,” they asked each patient. One poor guy had some sinus problem and they handed him the dreaded mask. “Is this to wear HERE? Now?” Poor guy. Branded!

  • http://www.theworkathomewoman.com Holly – The Work at Home Woman

    Ouch! I’ve had three friends in the past couple of months that have had broken toes, but they didn’t get a fancy boot to wear. I should go knock on some wood, because I’m super clumsy, with my luck I’ll be next!

  • ProudMary

    “some folks’ll never lose a toe, but then again some folks’ll, like [dooce] the slack-jawed yokel.”

    (I don’t know you so I really shouldn’t poke such fun, so, forgive me, but I couldn’t resist.)

  • http://entrepreMusings.com Aruni

    That sucks about your toe…especially since you are pregnant. I gained about 50 lbs with my first and 60 with my second. I can’t imagine having to walk around with that extra weight on a broken toe.

    On top of this my husband decided at least 3 times to fry hotdogs…which of course he had never done before…even after I threw up the first time and told him never to do it again.

  • http://miloross.blogspot.com/ Curtis Nemetz

    Hey Dooce.
    My cousin Trish was on Oprah with you… that’s how my wife and I heard about your blog. I am a a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) of three boys under 3 and ever since we heard about your blog, my wife has been trying to convince me to start one of my own. So… I started yesterday. I will be checking yours for inspiration.
    So far, I just let the kids be kids and try and write about it. We will see how it goes. Keep up the good work.

  • http://silverstreamer.blogspot.com Bethany

    I’m sorry. I was unable to finish reading the remainder of the post at the mention of Andy Dick.

  • http://silverstreamer.blogspot.com Bethany

    I’m sorry. I was unable to finish reading the remainder of the post at the mention of Andy Dick.

  • http://honeykbee.blogspot.com Kbee

    Yikes, that looks awfully familiar…

    Take my advice and wear the boot. Stay off of it if they tell you to. Don’t go, say, on a 3 day breast cancer walk when they tell you not to. Because it will never heal correctly and it will hurt every day. Hurt. Every. Day.

  • http://collectingraindrops.blogspot.com emily

    i love how you CAPITALIZE the PUNCH LINE so that we don’t MISS THE HILLARITY! Good luck with the toe. Ouch.

  • Gregarious Kat

    OMG, dude, I feel your pain. I broke my heel while pregnant with my second child. And I had to wear a hard cast, in Texas, during May, June, and July. Hope it heals quickly. Keep the boot on, or you too will get to have a regular old stinky cast.

  • Jo-Anne

    I am a new dooce reader, found your website when researching cases of people fired for blog content, which happened to someone I work with (and rightly so). Good stuff, I enjoyed reading some of the early posts, and seeing the difference when I skipped ahead a few years to the current daily posts. I check in most days now when I can.

    On this topic:
    I think that kids need to be exposed to as much dirt, snot and nature as possible to help them grow a natural immunity to as much as possible. However, one day a cloned sheep eating a mad-cow-burger will chemically destroy any brain cells we have left and freely hand our children over to use as test subjects for their vaccines.

  • http://msn.com Robyn

    Sorry about the toe. Over my many years I either seperated the pinky or Big toe on a piece of ugly furniture OR FALLEN OFF MY KEDS twisting my ankle, at least 3 to 4 times a year. My husband even got a job as a Sales Rep for a company that made the ugly BOOT to save money! And I used to be graceful – even a Cheerleader! The older you get the worse it gets.

    Chicken salad from “The Store” is the second best medicine. The best chicken salad is a secret Recipe.

    Good luck – I really look forward to your posts and saw you on some Sunday morning interview show. You were great. It was either you or “Music and The Spoken Word”! Your interview saved me.

    Take care!

  • http://blog.havetherelationshipyouwant.com Rori Raye

    Oh my goodness – you are such an incredible writer! Just when I think you’re going down a “poor me” wry, cynical road, you pull out a loud laugh line…So sorry for the boot, for it slowing you down and making you crazy, and hope you’re healed and nesting very soon. Thanks for your voice, Rori

  • wheezer345

    LOL. I just love the part where you “snort” like a pig in the intro! I must have watched just that part 50 times. ;)

  • http://ourlittlegeekling.wordpress.com Tara

    I love this video. The freak outs going on are cracking me up. I live in Japan and there have been no confirmed cases of the swine flu in Japan yet, but when a baby arrived at our [military] base sick, the base put 13 people in quarantine until they were sure the baby wasn’t sick and no one had caught anything. This made the national news and several events on base were cancelled because local Japanese people were so scared that the Americans had brought swine flu to Japan. Ridiculous. I think that more people die from the regular flu every year than have died from this.

  • http://www.operamouth.wordpress.com Amy

    Hi! I’ve lurked for years and this is my very first comment. First off – my god you have long toes. Secondly, it’s always something stupid, isn’t it? I broke my ring finger on my right hand. Not hang-gliding, skydiving or trying to save a puppy from drowning, but trying to grab my Blackberry as it was falling out of my hand. And I have equipment replacement insurance! I hit my finger on the couch arm and bent it sideways at a 90 degree angle. Long story short, knuckle fracture and months of physical therapy. I still can’t bend my finger because apparently, it was splinted too long. Don’t ever break a finger! Love your site!

  • WendyPinNJ

    HOLY SHIT WOMAN! You are so damned funny!

    Sorry about the toe.

  • Andrea de Haan

    Your comments on Swine Flu = Comic Gold

  • Patience

    I broke my middle toe a year ago on a chair. In two places. I did no damage to the toes around it. I have no fucking clue.

    Dooce, you have my utmost sympathies.

  • Anonymous

    Wait a minute! You know what it feels like to snort an eight ball of cocaine?!?! Why is no one else impressed by this?

  • Amy

    I feel your pain! When I was 29 weeks pregnant I fell and broke my right wrist – got my cast off a week and a half ago and now I have a removable cast and 6 weeks of PT – - oh and yea baby is due June 4th! Life with a fiberglass cast, pregnant and chasing a toddler has been an adventure! Take care of yourself!

  • http://daddyscratches.com Daddy Scratches

    Wait, you have a broken toe, an awkward protective boot, sausage fingers, and an almost-fully formed human being in your lower abdomen who soon will exit through your vagina?

    And I thought I was having a tough week …

  • http://www.livejournal.com/~ravengrace Sarah

    God love your heart! I broke my toe once while on vacation, in the pool drunk, reinacting the scene from Dirty Dancing where he lifted her up in the water…I know how bad it feels…I can’t imagine that and a human growing at the same time!

  • Keagan’s Mommy

    It is amazing how your body will change one day and the next be back to “normal.” I don’t understand a “boot” for a broken pinky toe but I am sure they just wanted you to be even more uncomfortable during your last few weeks of pregnancy!
    Hope it all gets better!

  • Beth

    Holy hell!

    I’m so excited I’m one of the first to comment! First, I LOVE your blog, it totally gets me through my day with 2 INSANE little boys. Sometimes I feel like you have given voice to my innermost frustrations in parenting, so thanks for that.

    I totally broke my toe on my kid’s highchair when I was pregnant with my second, though I was not punished with the boot. That has GOT to suck, and I’m sorry!

    Hoping that your last weeks as a pregnant person are bearable…not long now mama!

  • Charity

    You are so cute!

  • Sundries

    What is the white circle on your pinky toe? I thought that was the spiral fracture. ??? ;-)

  • http://csquaredplus3.typepad.com Chris

    The swine flu? We’re in Utah too, and our school [an independent school] sent out an APB last Friday. We’re all aware of the plan! Where are the sick people?

    Hope your toe heals quickly. Miserable to have toe pain, even worse when you need to nest. I’m sorry.

  • davesanngel

    Totally feeling your pain on the broken toe front. With the exception of my big toes, the other eight have all been broken at least once – most of them twice. Size 10 feet at age 13 are fun! I ran into EVERYTHING. I still try to rip my pinky toes off with great regularity – mostly on my in-law’s kitchen table. Damn thing has in it for me!

    Best wishes for making it through these few weeks!

  • http://cellohero.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    awkward space boot + third trimester of pregnancy : a recipe for disaster. Good luck, my toes are crying out in sympathy.

  • http://www.truestoryofwhatwas.wordpress.com Jenn

    Oh my god, you are hilarious! I myself have this same too issue, I have broken my toe by kicking door frames more times than I have toes. Your description of it almost made me lose my lunch.

  • http://www.wamot.com Stephanie

    Swollen, broken and pregnant? Yikes!! It’ll get better! At least you get to look forward to giving birth…holding your second child and getting ready for a whole new season in your life!

  • Anonymous in NYC

    I think you need to bedazzle the boot and post pics online. Hope you are feeling ok soon and you are out of das boot before the baby arrives.

  • http://www.shnerfle.com/Shnerfle/Blog/Blog.html Shnerfle

    Ouch! If it makes you feel better, I once broke my ankle and sliced up my hand falling off the sidewalk. I got a plastic boot + 5 stitches out of it. So, compared to me, you’re a ballerina! :-)

  • http://www.motherproof.com/ MotherProof

    Only you can segue broken toe into Swine Flu Panic into psychotic dog stories. You’re amazing!

  • Traci

    Oh man, as if walking while being pregnant wasn’t hard enough…now you have to wear one of those boots? ugh. That’s just adding insult to injury.

    I hope your toe heals quickly….you really need to make everyone WAIT on YOU…and serve you lots of ice cream. :)

  • http://www.becomingsomething.com Natasha @SomethingGirl

    Hypothetically speaking, of course. NOTTHATYOUWOULDKNOW.

    That gave me a good laugh as I lay here in bed half dead from what I can only assume is raccoon flu.

    Broken bone and then labour? You must have done something bad to deserve this. Like not paying your tithing. Heh heh.

    Just teasing. Hope you get better soon and that the awkward boot will soon feel like just another extra-long toe– like a part of you. I’ll even pray for it.

    (Okay, no word of a lie: the captcha says “af- toenails”.)

  • http://www.prettylush.typepad.com Pretty Lush

    That’s the only reason we have those toes, right? To stub, break and bruise them as we defend ourselves against our vicious furniture? It’s not they’re there for balance. Really, let’s get with the evolution experts and re-evaluate the need for that one.