Tale of the Toes

For those who don’t already know, Nathan had an accident last week involving a seventy pound fork from a forklift and his left foot. 

I got a call last Wednesday night that he was being taken to the ER by ambulance.  I met him at the ER, where the doctor diagnosed him with three broken toes on his left foot (the 3rd, 4th, and 5th toes).  Apparently this is a pretty impressive feat – most people don’t manage to break this many toes at one time.  Apparently before I got there, one random nurse came by and remarked, “I’m not on this case, but I heard there was an impressive foot that I needed to see.”  His foot looked so weird, the 4th and 5th toes were just limp and hanging out to the left, and the 3rd toe was off to the right.  In the 4th toe, the x-rays showed that the bone had been completely sheared off.  At the ER, they buddy taped everything together and wrapped it up in a makeshift cast.  They gave him pain meds, a tetanus shot, crutches, and instructions for follow up care.

He has had a pretty miserable past week.  The official diagnosis may be broken toes, but he might as well have a broken foot.  He can’t walk because he can’t put any weight on it at all.  He is stuck on the couch, and is in a lot of pain despite constant elevation and ice.  It’s ironic how sometimes we get so busy that we just wish for a weekend where we could sit on the couch the entire time if we so choose . . . but forcefully being stuck on the couch is unbearable.  The crutches bruised his underarms, and the tetanus shot didn’t do much to help the arm situation.  He has been up the stairs three times – once for a shower, once to keep me company while I folded laundry, and once just to prove that he could do it.  Going up the stairs is slow and tiring though, so we are trying to do everything downstairs.  Despite all of this, he managed to stay in pretty good spirits.


Yesterday, my mom took Nathan to see the orthopedic surgeon, which was his first major follow up appointment.  The first important piece of information from this appointment was that he actually has FOUR broken toes.  The big toe is broken in two spots as well.  I am not sure how the ER missed that one, but at least it explains the constantly changing color, bruising, and sensitivity of the big toe.  The orthopedic surgeon thinks that the big toe protected the 2nd toe from breaking.  The second important piece of information is that the big toe and 3rd toe will eventually heal on their own over time, but the 4th and 5th toe will need to be surgically repaired.  The third important piece of information was visual, as the surgeon unwrapped the bandage-cast that Nathan’s foot had been in for 5 days, and they got a look at how his foot is doing.  I warn you now, this is a pretty bad injury, and this picture is pretty gnarly.  If you don’t like to see colorful bruising and gross injuries, well . . . don’t look and keep scrolling.

1-Nathan's Foot 003(1)

  My mom was gracious enough to take pictures so that I could see how his foot was doing, since I couldn’t be at the appointment in person.  The color and bruising seems worse than when we were at the ER last week, but his toes are at least not so far in the opposite direction.

Nathan will have surgery this Thursday afternoon to insert pins into the 4th and 5th toes.  This will help them to heal properly and in line with the other toes.  He may not retain full mobility in them, but he will be able to do regular activities like walk and run.  Luckily, your 4th and 5th toes aren’t as crucial as the other ones.  After the surgery, they will give him a walking boot, but it will still be another week or more of no walking, and even then he may still be on crutches for a while.  They will take the pins out in July, about three weeks after the surgery.

The stinky thing is that the surgeon unwrapped a lot of the gauze that you see on Nathan’s foot in the top picture, because he wanted Nathan’s toes to get some more air.  Unfortunately, this leaves all the injured toes partially exposed and provides a lot less protection against sensitivity.  This makes it more painful for him to even get up on the crutches to go to the bathroom, change clothes, put on ice packs, etc.  To add to that, they have some pre-op instructions that we have to follow to avoid staph infections, which includes showering the night before and morning of with special soap.  Unfortunately, both our showers are upstairs, and that’s a lot of travel and stress for a sensitive foot.

This whole ordeal has been stressful and scary, but I am just glad that he did not get hurt worse.  We said our wedding vows, “in sickness and in health”, and the sickness part just hit us a little earlier than expected!  But I like being responsible around the house and taking care of my husband, even if I may be a little overprotective of him at times.  My mom, dad, and brother have been a HUGE help since I don’t have vacation time at my new job yet.  They are taking him to all of his appointments, helping me run errands, and just get things taken care of.  Monday night, I even made the homemade pizza that Nathan cooks for me every Monday (all on his instructions, of course.  I am not the cook in this family!).  It wasn’t nearly as good as his, but it WAS edible (and for me, that’s a pretty big accomplishment).

So, send some positive karma out into the universe on Thursday that his surgery goes well! (And also, that we have two successful trips up the stairs on Wednesday night and Thursday morning for the pre-op showers.)


Femeke said...

Oh no! I hope he feels better soon! It was funny to read your blog since I was sitting in the ER myself, as I read the blog ... nothing serious. A threw some big Legos at me and hit me in the head ...

Megan said...

Thank you Femeke! He had his surgery today and has felt great ever since they gave him a nerve blocker shot lol. I hope you are feeling better? Legos are dangerous!