My Left Foot

It is said that only two things are certain in this life: taxes and death. I have recently learned that two things are certain in parenting: diapers and injuries. When I speak of injuries, I am of course talking about those endured by the parents.


When my daughter was little, I got savvy pretty quickly. As soon as my daughter was given a Barbie, I threw out the shoes and hair brushes as soon as the box was opened. A Barbie shoe to the heel in the middle the night is no laughing matter. And when my son, aka “Dude” came along, I was warned about Lego’s.

I thought I had it all figured out, but then Dude turned 11. As he became more engrossed in television and computers, his grades slipped and he got “mouthy”, for lack of a better word. My husband and I decided he would have to earn time on the computer and we made sure it was very limited time indeed. For a good week at school, he would earn 1/2 hour on the laptop. That left plenty of time for Dude to spend time in outdoor activities and creative play. This included building with Lego’s and creating with all manner of boy-type toys. And because Dude likes to take things apart, whether it be by chopping, dicing, snapping, peeling, unscrewing or shredding there was a certain amount of deconstruction going on around the house. Enter parental injury.

I should have known something was up when I couldn’t find my colored toothpicks. However, I had company at the time and didn’t think much more about it. But then the following Sunday night, a portion of snapped toothpick found the space between the big toe and 2nd toe on my left foot as I crept out of Sleeping Dudie’s darkened room.

No amount of tweezing, digging with needles, or soaking would get that toothpick out. After hobbling around and trying to tough it out, my hips started to hurt from walking all wonky, and on Wednesday I gave in and called my doctor. I figured anything would be better than continuing to limp around like I had been. I was wrong.

After I was examined, I was given two options by the doctor, neither of which sounded good. However, I was ready to be done. So I chose the option that involved numbing my foot and digging around to make sure they got deep enough to get the toothpick removed. Even though I was nervous, I knew I would feel better afterward and I have come to find out that the feeling better afterward part was true.

In hindsight, if I am ever again offered a shot in the foot to numb it or to be shot dead where I stand, I would choose the latter without hesitation.

When the needle first went in, I thought, “that wasn’t so bad…” but she was only getting started. I drew in a deep breath to help me endure the few seconds of discomfort I knew was coming, and then the pain really hit. I let a keening wail out into the muffling cover of my arms until I ran out of air, sucked in another ragged breath, and screamed some more. When the needle was finally withdrawn, I had settled to a simper like that of a puppy locked out on a cold wet day and a tooth jarring tremor.

I won’t bore you with additional details except to say that after about 30 or 40 minutes of searching, the doctor and nurse managed to find and pull several shards of wood from my left foot.

Two days out, I am feeling better but wondering to myself, “Was it worth it?” Having never been shot dead where I stand, there’s little ability to make that call.

Death. Taxes. Diapers. Injury.


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