by Bruce Mike
I recently had one of those life-changing experiences. It happened in a blink of an eye. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was on a ladder, taking a kayak down from the ceiling of a garage. I was on a stepladder and it was not really positioned correctly for the task. Because of my poor planning, I ended up riding the ladder to the floor as it tipped over. After bouncing off a few things on the way down, I came to rest on both feet and standing. I was pretty impressed with myself for not hitting my head which is normally what I do in these household accidents. It was apparent almost immediately that I had suffered an injury to the Big Toe, or as the doctor called it, the Great Toe, on my right foot. The pain was excruciating.
The life-changing part of this incident was almost as immediate as the pain. My plan on this day was to go get this silly boat, bring it home and then get to work on a motorcycle I had recently received some parts for. It’s an old RD350 that I wanted to get repaired so I could ride it to Third Thursday at Blue Cat Motors in St. Paul. I really wanted a burrito from the Taco Truck that shows up there. Instead, I went home, elevated my foot and watched my toe turn purple. I believe my mood got darker much faster than my toe.
I don’t often feel sorry for myself but I can get there quick if I choose to. This was a great opportunity for me to accept things for the way they were and look forward to better days ahead. Instead, I chose the dark path. I whimpered and whined inwardly and to whoever was nearby how much it sucked and if I could just have that 5 seconds back my life would be great. Fortunately, my wife and kids don’t get sucked into that whiny crap and they just pretty much ignored me. After a couple of doctor’s appointments, threat of surgery, and a cast that seems like a lot of fiberglass for a broken toe, I have solid direction from a doctor that I need to follow. Knowing what I have to accept always makes moving on easier.
My impairment is for six weeks. Four weeks in the giant cast and two weeks in a goofy boot. I’ll survive. It’s effect on me has been, and contiues to be, greater than I thought. I’ve never had an injury that required a cast. I’ve crashed bikes and cars including hitting a deer while riding a motorcycle. I’ve fallen from greater heights than the ladder I just fell from and always came away with minor bumps and scratches. The conclusion I’ve come to is that, though I’m getting older I don’t seem to be getting much wiser. I still have that adolescent thinking that I’m invincible. I’ve never been one to learn anything the easy way and I’m somewhat afraid of what I might be learning from this experience.
I’ve agreed with my wife to not ride my motorcycle until the doctor says I can, even though I’m convinced I can do it now. I know in the future I will take greater care where I put a ladder. I’m even starting to think wearing a helmet regularly on my bike might be a good idea. I’m going to miss my sense of invincibility. Ride safe and don’t bump your head.