You might not make it to the NHL if you are missing half of a toe
I was 5-years-old when I stuck my foot in a lawnmower. I don’t remember why exactly, but I suspect that toddler me presumed my shoe would stop the blade.
It didn’t. Instead it sliced off the bottom half of my left big toe.
Kids do dumb things sometimes. Like the time I tried jumping off the shed with a towel tied around my neck like a cape. Or the time me and my friends tried to build a tree fort next to the railroad tracks. But this can be filed under The Dumbest Thing Ever, and I am convinced that I took years off my parent’s lives that day. Sorry about that mom and dad.
I spent the next couple of weeks in the hospital, which was a little scary but for the most part a total riot.
The rush to the hospital was a bloody blur, although I do remember asking my mom for my teddy bear while in the emergency room. Instead I got a wad of bandages, a wheelchair and a plank of wood to keep my leg in an upright position.
I spent the next couple of weeks at St. Pauls, which was a little scary but for the most part a total riot. I didn’t have to go to school and since 95% of the other kids in the ward were getting their tonsils taken out the nurses gave me extra helpings of Jell-O.
I also had to undergo reconstructive surgery, which involved the doctors removing skin off my butt and grafting it on to my toe. You’d never know it from looking at it though. My butt or my toe.
Eventually I learned to walk again and was put back in school. I wasn’t supposed to run, which sucked, but I was popular for about a week afterwards so that was okay.
For the most part I am actually really lucky. The doctor wanted to cut off the toe outright, saying I could have lost my entire foot. But mom wouldn’t let him. Thanks again mom. And life hasn’t really been all that different, an insane fear of minor-infections notwithstanding.
Nowadays I still get a lot of people asking me if my toe hurts. Why would it – my run in with my mortal enemy the lawnmower happened over 20 years ago. Things don’t hurt forever. Except broken hearts.
And the scar is pretty cool – it’s essentially a massive flesh wound that looks like a geriatric potato or a baseball glove that was run over by a road grater. But missing half your toe isn’t all fun and games.
Playing minor league hockey for a decade was mildly discomforting. I couldn’t come to a complete stop using my left foot, and consequently never did make the NHL.
And going to the beach and walking on hot sand is my idea of hell.
In any case, if I ever buy a house I’m going to have the lawn removed and replaced with extra soft Astroturf.