A Tale of Toe

4 Jul

Many moons ago, a thirteen year old boy was running down a hill and fell into a ditch. He hit his knee on a rock and hurt himself badly. He had to crawl out of the ditch, rejoin his class camping trip and then hike with all his gear to the pick-up area the next morning.

Two days later, after much whining and complaining, the boy’s parents finally took him to see a doctor. They didn’t actually believe that he has broken anything and thought he might be overreacting.

Turns out he had actually broken his kneecap!

On Tuesday, RJ tried to climb over a baby gate, tripped, and fell onto the kitchen floor. He screeched in pain and clung to me desperately while he cried and wailed for 45 minutes.

He laid on the couch and watched cartoons for a couple hours and then he was ready to get on with his day and play. Only, he couldn’t walk!

Or he wouldn’t.

I examined both his feet and gently bent the joints. Everything seemed to be fine except he refused to put any weight on his left foot. So he crawled. On his hands and knees, he crawled all over the house, up the stairs, down the stairs, outside, in the sandbox, up in the play structure, into the bath, and onto the potty.



We thought maybe he was too scared to put weight on his foot and maybe, after a full night of sleep, he might forget about it. But he crawled into our bed at six in the morning and kept right on crawling all morning.

Jason and I debated. RJ didn’t seem to be in significant pain and he was in a great mood! But the fact that he wasn’t walking was just so troubling to us. When I realized that RJ’s middle toe was starting to swell and turn red we decided a trip to emergency might be best.

An entire afternoon at the hospital involving a lot of waiting and some very interesting x-ray machines, it was determined that our dear boy is suffering from…

An infected ingrown toenail!

Talk about anti-climactic!

But of course an infected little toe is very painful! However, it’s much better than a broken bone. We’re very relieved.

RJ has some antibiotics to take and we’re doing warm sea-salt soaks. I’m hopeful that he’ll be brave enough to try walking tomorrow.

As an aside, I’m so impressed with how RJ is handling his injury. Last weekend his eye swelled shut from a bug bite and he didn’t complain once! This week, he’s crawling around the house with a sore foot and he’s barely mentioned the pain. With each offer of help, he replies, “No thank you, I can do it.” If it wasn’t for the fact that he’s on all fours, you’d barely know he was hurt. I’m so amazed by this boy’s strong spirit, though I do want him to know he’s allowed to ask for help when he needs it.


The foot itself is a little bruised but it’s mostly the toe that’s causing pain. Maybe it would have healed on its own, or maybe it would have continued to get worse.

Regardless of the severity, we couldn’t just ignore it. Almost thirty years later, my husband still remembers that his parents didn’t believe he was hurt enough to need medical help; they didn’t want to take him to the doctor even though he broke his knee. We just couldn’t do that to RJ.

It’s hard to say if this milestone “first trip to the emergency room” will stick in RJ’s memory or not. If it does, we want it to be a memory that says, “my parents were there for me and they took care of me.”

Ouch, swollen tiny toe!  You can really notice it by comparing it to the same toe on the other foot.  Also, don't you just love his freaky twisted toes!

Ouch, swollen tiny toe! You can really notice it by comparing it to the same toe on the other foot. Also, don’t you just love his freaky twisted toes!

This boy's face swelled up, his toe is swelling up, and he also just had a big nose-bleed.  He's still smiling!

This boy’s face swelled up, his toe is swelling up, and he also just had a big nose-bleed. He’s still smiling!

6 Responses to “A Tale of Toe”

  1. Chrissie July 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    He’s just trying to crawl over baby gates now and this is ur first long ER visit??! U are lucky!! Mine started jumping the gate just after they turned 2 and i have had at least 3 er visits! Lol. Jokes aside tho, I’m glad you took it seriously, for all the reasons you stated as well as showing him that doctors are there to help! (even if sometimes they have to make u hurt a bit to help!) . It means a lot for a child to know that their parents will always take them seriously and believe them! I am also very happy that my girls knew how to jump the baby gate because when I had a stroke in November it was because of that ability that they were able to get my phone and bring it to me so that I could call an ambulance!! So as irritating as it was for them to be able to jump into the kitchen when I didn’t want them to, after that day I won’t complain again!! ( now they know how to open it anyway so it’s a moot point! Lol) . My girls amaze me every day in all sorts of little ways but I will always be grateful to them for helping me that day, and they know how proud we are of them because they still bring it up every now and then -” mama, remember the day u got sick and we helped you get help?! You were so happy we helped you weren’t you?” . I also realize that sometimes they ask because they are a bit worried that it may happen again and all I can do is stress that they did everything the right way and that the doctors helped me to get better and that I will do everything I can to never put them thru that again. Being honest, I think, helps. I guess my story is a little off topic… Well maybe not.. I guess Its funny how certain events ( like with baby gates! Lol) can lead to stories to tell and different kinds of memories for children! And big high five for such a tough little guy!

    • L.W. July 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

      Reading about your story again is just making me cry. Thank goodness your children are so amazing and wonderful…and good at climbing!!

      Also, I have a feeling our younger child will have more visits to the ER. RJ is really more cautious than JP…I was surprised he fell. Usually he doesn’t do anything unless he’s sure of the outcome.

  2. witchfinder1027 July 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm #


  3. Sasha Hodder July 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Awww! What a brave little guy! And kudos to all of you for making it so long without needed to go to ER!

    • L.W. July 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      It actually is a miracle that we made it this long!


  1. Learning on his own | eating dirt - July 8, 2013

    […] week, sometime after the ‘bug bite‘ but before the ‘ingrown toenail‘, the boys and I set out on a walk to deliver some money to the daycare. JP climbed up in the […]

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