An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.

  • 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 …

  • 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. ??? 😉

  • 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!

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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. 🙂

  • 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”.)

  • 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.

  • Lanne

    I also have very long toes, and after the 4th broken toe in 2 years, decided to wear Crocs in the house AT ALL TIMES. The upside: No broken toes yet this year! Downside: my husband visibly cringes at the sight of my plastic encased feet.

    Feel better, Heather 😉

  • AGreenEyeDevil

    Holy Hell Dooce, did you think you needed JUST ONE MORE challenge right now!? Third trimester of pregnancy, Coco (’nuff said), a bathroom renovation, and a national book tour….ENOUGH!!! Please just go sit on that couch and write posts until it’s time deliver The Baby Not Named Maria.

  • Oh god. I have so much sympathy for your husband right now. I have an 8 month pregnant wife right now, and if I had to deal with a broken toe too… i would kill her. I mean that in the best possible way.. 🙂

  • Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha I mean aw.

    I have mental pictures of your dog trying to keep your toe in sight and protected at all times, and for some reason I find it wildly entertaining.

    Except for the part where it hurts. Sorry about that.

    Hee hee hee hee hee….

  • Wow, so sorry to hear about the toe- it sounds awful! Hope it heals fast. Also- this post reminds me of much earlier ones- it’s hilarious times ten.

  • Becky

    I feel you,Heather. I have Spring Fever and a fractrued ankle and have to kick the fashion worlds a$$ with my boot.

    At least I don’t have “pregnancy”…

    Okay, I have a toddler. I crazy,hyperk,possibly brain damaged toddler.


  • Lynn

    I can’t wait to see the pictures of you in your hospital gown in the delivery room with your special footwear!

  • oh yuck! as if you weren’t immobile enough being in the third trimester of pregnancy…now you get to wear a boot too? i hope it’s not the kind that dyes your leg blue…i had to wear one of those in high school, and the smurf jokes took months to subside. feel better soon!

  • Jen

    The sausage finger thing I can so TOTALLY relate to. Last year when I was pregnant around this time (only four months or so), my fingers started locking up at night. I’d wake up with my fingers swollen to the same sausage size you refer to in what I began to call The Claw. The Claw was painful, and when it released it always did so with a ridiculously loud crack in each finger, but then the water would rush right back into each joint. I still don’t know what was more painful, the locking or the flooding.

  • Jennifer

    Two things…

    1. Do you look like Forest Gump when he had what his Mama called his Magic Shoes?

    2. I have been so swollen from all the sodium I’ve been eating due to PMS cravings that my shoes don’t fit. Yeah, I’m not pregnant…I have no reason to consume that much chili. And Fritos.

  • Jenny

    I’m in the throes of Spring cleaning and cannot imagine how you can handle the combined pressure of the nesting urge AND the Spring cleaning urge, and on top of that bang up your toe. Too much pressure for me.

  • Charity

    Ha ha, was just thinking about Jon’s ingrown toenail, ouch, the pain, OMG the pain, have I mentioned the pain?

    ha ha

  • Broken toes I can deal with. Growing up tearing ligaments in my ankles so many times that I was angrily threatened with having to walk with a cane by doctors? Yeah. It was a sad time in my life when I ran up to my 5th grade teacher with torn, bloody knees in my pants, and he laughed out loud for 5 minutes straight and asked, “Again?”

    You can overcome the limitations of the boot. I have faith in you.

  • How I feel your pain! I too constantly walk into walls, furniture, you name it and consequently, sandals are not a look for my feet! Shortly after I had my first son, I was diagnosed with a stress fraction in my foot. I got a boot, the whole nine. So my c-sectioned, baby-wearing, broken-footed urban-self spent the beginning of motherhood. I remember ice cream doing wonders for during that time…

  • I feel your pain. I had to wear one of those awkward boot casts for MONTHS after I had my ankle surgery. It was how people identified me during my first six weeks of college. (“Want to find Rachael? Look at everyone’s feet and find the boot.”) Hopefully your toe will heal fast.

    Oh, and I totally cracked up when I read, “The war! I just got back from the war!”

  • I am definitely way more scared of Andy Dick than I am of swine flu, even though he hasn’t been recently spotted in my state like The Flu has.

  • mountain mama

    Honey, find a flip flop wedge type shoe it will help with th boot elevation issue. I also fractured my foot in my last trimester, it amazes me how clumsy I was. But keep the boot, you or someone you love will need it one day!
    PS. I loved the book, waiting for the other one to get here. Thank you for sharing!

  • kristine

    About the panic… I’m in Fort Worth. You know, the place that closed ALL SCHOOLS for a week and a half, minimum because they panicked about swine flu? All the schools, that is, except TCU. We still get to take finals.

    Closing the schools just dispersed the children all over the city. Can’t take 5 steps now without falling over one. Smooth move, FWISD.

    Sorry about your foot. And your Coco.

  • Anonymous

    And chicken salad speeds up the healing process!

  • What exactly is a clinic in your neck of the woods? I read this on your twitter page yesterday and thought maybe you guys had decided to donate sperm or something. We say “going to the doctor” when we are sick. Going to the clinic insinuates giving sperm, getting anonymously tested for std’s, or you are in need of free condoms.

    Hope the toe feels better soon!

  • I think Coco and my dog Sadie came from the same litter. And by this I mean straight from the bowels of Hell. I can’t even count the times that dog has injured me trying to ‘help.’

    And the boot! Oh, the boot. Screw the boot. Get a Rascal. Then you can just buzz around the house vicariously nesting. And by this I mean HIRE SOMEONE!

    Good luck 🙂

  • At least we’re not yet slaughtering pigs or banning bacon (GASP, can you imagine?). Although I hear there’s a campaign for a mass blacking-out of all public H’s, N’s, and 1’s, and any combo thereof (as a precaution).

  • OUCH Mama! So so sorry, and you can’t even take a pain pill! That’s gotta hurt like a mo-fo.

    Hope it heals soon.

  • Hey, if you need more stuff to clean, you are welcome to come over to my house! I could provide you with adrenaline rush after adrenaline rush. Also, I live in Maine, where our legislature JUST PASSED GAY MARRIAGE not to mention seven cases of swine flu, so you’d have lots of stuff to celebrate/freak out about!

    Sorry about your toe. And about Coco being such a pest. Alas, I’m sure she means well.

  • Oh man… So are you going to deliver in that boot or what? Because the mental image of you on a delivery table, with one foot and ONE GIANT BOOT in the stirrups, is hysterical.

  • I think your couch is much more threatening than the swine flu, I’m just sayin’…

  • Holy mother, Andy Dick at the clinic? That WOULD be a nightmare. You have a sick, sick mind…

  • Jennifer

    I’m living the panic–pig flu in the school where I teach. School’s closed and I’m on a 5 day swine-cation!

  • I think god is punishing you for all that “husband whoring” you did awhile back.

    Also: The capacha your site is having me enter in order to comment? “Exclusive sinning.” Another sign. Time to re-Mormonize, Heather.

  • Anonymous

    I have a similar problem as you, only my denial and pain threshold are equally through the roof. I had to get orthotics made about a year ago and when the doctor x-rayed my foot, he found a number of old broken/fractured bones that due to lack of treatment had not healed correctly. He’s all, “How did you not feel that” and I’m all, “Dude, I may have a pussy, but I sure ain’t one…”

  • miranda

    on the sneeze/swine flu portion… i was in ikea today, riding the elevator up to the food floor, and at the very moment the doors opened, i let out a huge sneeze into my arm. there were 15 people on the other side of the doors waiting to get onto the elevator, and i swear every one of them stared at me in horror as i passed….. i’m sure they were upset with my lack of hygiene (what with all the crazy sickies going around), but being as i’m pregnant and i’m carrying this kid super-low, i had also simultaneously wet myself (just a tad), and was in no mood to give apologetic looks or say excuse me to anyone.
    so i sneezed, people – so what. get out of my way. i need to eat.

  • Tracy H

    Damn woman, you do have long toes! I know that x-ray is of the foot also, but still! Hope everything heals well and the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly. I’m one of those crazy people that LOVED being pregnant. I’d do it 100 times if I didn’t have to bring home those darn needy babies!

  • Anonymous

    I am also tres clumsy, but have possibly the clumsiest friend ever. She took a step OFF A CURB (you know the short curbs next to the street?) and she broke her leg sooo bad, the BONE CAME OUT OF THE SKIN.
    The boot is looking better, eh?

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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