Back in October I had a split second moment of sheer gracefulness on my front steps and wound up breaking my big toe, although I didn’t realize it at the time. Which was why I waited a day and a half to go to the doctor.

I’m something of an injury magnet, but I don’t typically injure myself seriously enough to require medical attention. I’m not all that coordinated – it’s probably why I’ve never been great at sports.

Or walking down steps.

Two doctors, a bunch of X-rays and a surprise surgery later – I had to add my first tick to the “broken bone” column of life and I became the proud owner of what has been affectionately referred to around here as “RoboBoot” or “DasBoot” – or “The Torture Device” (above). 

I only had to wear it when I was going to be outside of my house, walking around, so I have kept my outings to a minimum over the past four weeks. Mostly because it was like someone had strapped a concrete block to my foot and I had already proven that I have enough trouble with the regular old feet that were issued to me at birth.

Yesterday I went back in for a third set of x-rays and was given the go-ahead to dust off my other sneaker – so long as I don’t do anything too crazy. I imagine the intense pain would serve as a natural deterrent to any “deliberate craziness” but I can’t exactly make any promises in the “inadvertent craziness” department, and so I find myself in this new state of near-constant panic that I will trip over something, or drop something, or that someone will accidentally step on my foot at the store or run over my foot with their cart.

Because let’s face it, accidents find me.

I’m still another 8 weeks out from “good as new”, but I feel fortunate to be wearing two actual shoes again – even though I’ll still be limping along at a leisurely pace for a bit longer. At least when I’m standing still I’m not wearing an apparatus that screams “I have injured myself! Ask me how!”

I’ve definitely learned a few things from this entire debacle – like what not to say to people who’ve recently injured themselves. It’s been a real eye opener in that department. I have sat through detailed accounts of horrific injuries that complete strangers have endured, all because they asked “What did you do to your foot?” and I was dumb enough to answer. It’s sort of like when I was pregnant and other women took it upon themselves to tell me their traumatic birth stories, except that very few people told me broken toe stories in this instance – they just told me stories about other totally random injuries, and then said how I should feel lucky that I didn’t do THAT. So I would stand there dumbstruck for a few seconds, all the color drained from my face, before responding with something like “Wow, yea. Getting shot through the arm with an arrow DOES sound like it sucks. I guess I’d rather … have this broken toe…”

I’ve also learned that you should just go to the doctor right away – $150 Emergency Room copay be damned! They don’t hand out medals for waiting until Monday.

And I’ve become something of a bandaging savant and our medicine cabinet is now fully outfitted for wound care. Turns out “a couple of boxes of Band-Aids and a tube of Neosporin” is a pretty useless First Aid kit for most practical purposes. I have a newly formed love affair with things like non-stick dressings and self-adherent wrap, and I am totally winning at bandaging.

I think the hardest thing for me to accept was that I had to stop moving. On this point, in particular, I am always slow to catch on. Tom calls it “stubborn” but I prefer to look at it as “independent”. I kept pushing myself to get things, to do things, to make my deadlines and be where I said I would be. And then I paid the price later, curled up in agony on the couch, resentful of the fact that I had no idea when I would be able to get back to the things that needed to be done. Eventually I had to surrender to the idea that if I just stopped moving for a little while, I would arrive at “normal” a lot faster – and then I had to stop beating myself up over it.

All so that I could arrive here – thankful to be one-third of the way to “totally healed” – with my Ninja-like bandaging skills and a matching set of real shoes.

If I could dance, I’d be doing a happy one right now. I’m sure that falls under the header of “anything too crazy”, though.