Tag Archives: i lost a chunk of my toe

One day, somebody’s gonna find that missing body part in my hallway

My kitchen is being remodeled. Not so much splashy magazine spread but more like a facelift. Or at least new make-up. The good stuff. Like Sephora.

All of the cheap finishes are getting replaced. The walls are going from blue to mauve, the cabinets from honey (gag) to white with new hardware, the counters from formica (vomit belch) to granite and the floors from vinyl tiles (full-on heave) to ceramic tile. And a few other little niceties like crown molding and subway tile backsplash-ing here and there. We’ve lived here for years. It’s time.

And everything’s been going great. Sure, it’s a pain having to access the back of the house by going outside and reentering through the side door not to mention all of my appliances are now located in the den but that’s the price of progress, right? There has literally not been one problem with the renovation. Until today.

Like every other day this week, I was just hanging in my room getting some writing done while the workers did their thing in the kitchen. I’m working in my room, eating in my room, I even had a friend over and visited in my room. The guys know that, if they need me, they just need to call out to me. Which they do every now and then so it wasn’t unusual when I heard them today. “Excuse me, Mrs. Poche? Can you come take a look at the grout line?” called out the contractor. “Be right there!” I yelled back.

Don’t I sound happy? Compliant? Unwitting? I had no idea.

It took only one second for my naked foot to find the razor-sharp edge of the newly-cut tile shard on the floor outside my room. It felt like I stubbed it. Severely. At approximately 500mph. “Oooh!” said the concerned floor guy, wincing in sympathetic pain. “It’s nothing,” I said, pretending to laugh and ignoring my throbbing foot. “I didn’t really hit it that hard,” I lied.

I knew it was bad. I figured maybe it was broken or at least jammed. I hypothesized that I’d likely ripped the nail or even scratched up my foot a little. Again, I had no idea.

“So what do you think of the grout line?” asked the contractor, waking me up from my pain-induced coma. “Umm,” I managed and looked downward at the source of my distraction. Blood was pooling under my foot like a Hitchcockian film victim. “Oh, my God. Are you OKAY?” he said, grabbing a roll of paper towels to start mopping up all the blood I was futilely trying to blot with a Highlights magazine.

“I’m … fine. But I’m SUCH an idiot. Hector kept telling me to put shoes on! Damn it!” I said, embarrassed for such a ridiculous display of my trademark spazzery. I darted back into my bedroom where I immediately fell to the floor clutching my foot and trying in vain the stop the spurting blood. Ten minutes passed and I continued to soak through every “bandage” I created. So, I  scooted across  the room on my butt, wincing in pain, to call my dad who was already on his way to my house.

“Hi, Dad. Are you close? (pause for reply) Change of plans. Instead of staying here with the workers while I go to Vivien’s game, do you think you can take me to the hospital? Or maybe to urgent care?”

Before I knew it, he was here. (Thanks, Dad.) And, in an instant, he was on the floor with me in my bedroom, creating a  tourniquet the likes of which I hadn’t even come close.  (If you know my dad the engineer, this shouldn’t surprise you at all.) He got me to my feet and we were on our way. I texted a few people on the way there to make sure my kids were covered. (Thanks, Mom and Virginia.) I asked my dad to get me inside and situated but then to head back to my house to check on the workers who were finishing up for the day. And I started filling out the mountain of paperwork.


Once inside, I saw several different health care professionals. One by one, they listened to my stupid story. Nobody even knew the severity of my injury because, every time they tried to remove the homemade bandage, my foot started spurting blood like Dan Akroyd’s Julia Child. Then, mercifully, someone finally got the bleeding under control enough to get a good look, assessed it and ran out into the hallway to recruit a little help.

“We can’t stitch it. She actually lost a chunk of her toe!” he called out to another nurse.

My face went white. “A CHUNK of my toe? How much is a CHUNK? Would the CHUNK regenerate? Shouldn’t we be sending someone to my house to locate the errant CHUNK and helicopter it over in a medical cooler???” My nervous, adrenalin-surged brain went a little crazy. Fortunately, a few staff members came in to talk me off the ledge.

“Mrs. Poche, when was your last Tetanus shot?” one of them asked. “Um, September 2005. Right before I re-entered the city from Katrina. Is that recent enough?” I hoped. “No. Sorry. It’s been  more than eight years and you really should get another one.”

And before I could say a word, another nurse was in the room piercing my bicep with a thankfully small needle. But I relaxed too soon. Because then a second needle entered the room. And it could be the delirium talking but I think they needed a wheelbarrow to bring it in. Because it was at least three times the length and twice the girth of the actual toe in question. It didn’t seem plausible that that needle could even fit into that toe. “Holy crap,” I let fly out of my mouth accidentally, dispelling any chance that they still thought I was a genteel mother of two.

The first shot went into my foot like a knife. I arched my back in pain and actually cried out. I have to think those moments suck as a caregiver. (Or they rock. I mean, for the sadistic ones. Who knows?) Fortunately, the anesthetic was fast-acting and shots number two and three were significantly less painful enabling everyone to get to work (shudder) on my mangled foot. And it took a while because the bleeding got a little out of control again.

Imagine, if you will, the difference between cutting a slit in your shirt or a hole in it. You can sew up that slit, right? It’s a straight line cut that’s easily mended. But you can’t stitch up a circular hole. Like ice cream scooped with an ice cream scoop. (Sorry, I just totally ruined ice cream for you tonight.) In other words, the “scoop” in my toe just needs to be kept very clean and heal slowly from the inside out. And it needs to remain bandaged like a finger puppet toe puppet for weeks.

And did I mention that when the shots wore off the pain was positively intense? We barely made it to the drugstore in time. With my toe now ON FIRE, I purchased a bottle of water alongside my pain meds so I could slug one down in the company of the pharmacist while still standing at the counter. He probably put me on his Do-Not-Sell-To-These-Junkies list as soon as I limped off.

Since then, I’ve been home with my foot propped up. Dave picked up dinner. (Thanks, Dave.)


My house is a renovation mess and my kids’ schedules have been rocked for the whole evening. And possibly the weekend since I’m hobbled. But the pain meds finally kicked in. So I thought I’d put everything down in writing (it’s how I process) while it was still in my head. Let’s hope it still sounds coherent when I read it again tomorrow.

Pain pill number two coming up. Night, all.



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