Three years ago, I broke my toe when I went outside at night, barefoot, to admire the stars and stubbed it on a large rock.
After that, I told myself it was time to stop running around barefoot and resolved to always wear shoes, both indoors and out. Protective footwear would be my new way of life. No more broken toes for me!
So naturally, on the last day of a recent spa vacation, after placing my shoes beside the bed before I turned in so that I wouldn't even have to cross the room without them, I got out of bed in the middle of the night, tripped over a shoe... and broke my toe.
(Ironic? You bet. Although not quite as ironic as the friend who got up one night during a ski vacation, tripped over a ski boot and broke his leg.)
Trying to ignore the familiar throbbing sensation, I climbed back into bed.
"I'll go back to sleep," I told myself. "It will be all better in the morning."
It wasn't all better in the morning. It was all purple. And it hurt!
At 59, so many things that were once new are now routine and familiar. Especially medical things. Because this was actually the third time I'd broken a toe, (the first was the result of a dancing mishap when I was a teen) I knew the drill.
I saw the doctor. He took an X-ray. I was issued a large black moon boot, bristling with plastic straps and velco fasteners, which would immobilize my toe.
"Stay off your feet for a week!" he said.
I turned to my Facebook friends for consolation, who responded with comments like: "Call a toe truck!" "What position were you and Mark attempting?" "I hate it when that happens." And "I'll say a prayer to St. Anatoly of Boca, the patron saint of people who injure themselves on vacation."
So there I was with a broken toe. Again. What to do? Stay off my feet. Catch up on my reading. And, to hasten the healing process, try some "positive affirmations," or, as I have always thought of them, "bullsh*t."
I looked up a few on the Internet, then modified them to be toe-applicable.
My toe is sturdy and will heal quickly.
Every day in every way my toe is getting healthier and healthier.
The universe is kind and will help my toe become whole.
For comic relief, I started cracking myself up by singing pop tunes about heartbreak, replacing the word "heart" with "toe."
"You know, if you break my toe I'll go, but I'll be back again."
"Don't go breaking my toe."
"Stop draggin' my toe around..."
Soon, I was alternating between toe healing affirmations and broken toe pop tunes.
As time passes, my toe grows ever stronger.
"Don't tell my toe, my achy breaky toe..."
Every day my toe is better than the previous day.
"Don't break the toe that loves you."
Every cell in my body is healthy and radiates health. Especially my toe cells.
"What becomes of the broken-toed?"
A healthy toe is my divine right and I claim it now.
"My toe will go on."
I breathe deeply and every breath energizes my toe's healing properties.
"Total eclipse of the Toe!"
"Take another little piece of my toe!"
And of course, that Hank Williams standard, "Your cheatin' toe."
By the time I'm back on my feet, I'll have enough material for both a fabulous Broken Toe Mix Tape and a fat collection of Toe-Healing Affirmations, to save for the next time I break a toe.
But there won't be a next time. I'm going to make sure this doesn't happen again. Even if I have to start sleeping with my shoes on. Showering with my shoes on. Even swimming with my shoes on. Whatever it takes. When it comes to foot protection, from now on, I plan to stay -- you'll pardon the expression -- on my toes.
I just hope that in my Trip Advisor review, I'll be able to stop myself from referring to the fabulous luxury resort where the incident took place as "Toe Break Hotel."
(First published by Zestnow.)