That time I opened up my toe

It should go without warning, given the title of this post, but this one is not for the squeamish. If terrible injuries and incredible bad luck being visited on your favorite blogger do not appeal to you, perhaps sit this one out.

Way back in the middle of summer, I had to run some compost outside. I keep my Birkenstocks by the back door for just such an occasion, so I grabbed the pail, slipped my feet in there like a pair of old gloves, and trotted outside.

These Birkenstocks. They have been a part of my life for more than 20 years. They’ve outlasted relationships, outlived pets, and generally served me well. However, since they were replaced as my primary sandals, they’ve clearly been spoiling for a chance to get a little revenge.

See, as I was coming back inside, they caught on the lip of the stairs, tripping me. I mostly recovered, except I clipped the very teensiest, tiniest, tip of my toe against the stair, just enough to catch my big toenail on the lip and flip it up at a 90 degree angle.

I didn’t know what to do, so I ran inside. Alex was the first to greet me. “Daddy opened up his toe!!” he cried excitedly. I was…not as excited.

The thing is, you don’t realize how important your big toe is for walking until you can’t use it. It was *extremely* difficult to walk to and from work, and by the end of the day I was in a lot of pain; not just from the toe itself, but my whole foot would ache from using various muscles I was unaccustomed to using as I tried to keep my toe from touching anything as I limped along.

The even worse news was this happened shortly before we were scheduled to leave on our multi-week Yellowstone vacation, a vacation which involved a LOT of planned hiking. Luckily for me I recovered just in time…the first day I was able to walk somewhat regularly was also the first day we planned to have a long hike (well we planned on a two mile hike, but we accidentally went on a four and a half mile hike! So good thing I was somewhat healed up!)

Caring for my toe consumed me for nearly the entire duration of the trip until the toenail finally fell off altogether near the end. You wouldn’t think losing your toenail would be a positive, but at that point I was ABSOLUTELY DONE with that toenail, and losing it made everything instantly that much better.

The whole thing has obviously weighed heavily on Alex’s mind, as he has periodically asked me things like, “Dada, can you open up your toe again? I want to see inside.” Just the other day, months after the incident he randomly said to me, “Remember that time you opened up your toe, but the only thing inside was blood?”

I don’t know what he expected to find inside…a pot of gold? Candy? A handy little pocket for carrying spare change?

Sorry to disappoint.

In fact, my gross toe became such a thing, that while we were on vacation we came upon the most over-the-top, artificial, sugar packed cereal ever to grace this green earth. Upon seeing it, Evelyn said, “That looks grosser than your toe!”


Well, reader, I will let you decide. Which looks grosser? Feel free to vote in the comments.


(You knew there was going to be a picture, right? I mean, you had to know it was coming…)

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