Big Toes

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Toes. Whoda thought? Toes can be dangerous. Toes have toenails, and mine are particularly and voraciously strong.

As my hands have become more crippled with MS, I have, and will always, fight with my toes. Whodawhoda thought?

My cousin pampered me with a visit to a nail salon which included toe care—a pedicure to be precise. My nails were very long. As I juggled myself into the Toe bath, I lost my balance and jammed my foot forward into the front of the basin. Ouch.


But my sensation of pain is fleeting—a side effect of MS, and after the first sho–o–o–ot of pain, I settled into the luxury of it all. My toes were massaged; nails cut and painted. They were happy.

I went on with my day, walking about and running errands, and I noticed my big toe on the injured foot turned a dark ugly purple. Hmmm, I thought. Musta hurt. I know the sensation in that leg is less than optimal. Still—I waited 36 hours before I got myself to an ER.

As much as I bitch, moan, and groan about medical care in the area, there is a hospital an hour a way which is infamous for its caring. I contemplated the drive with my injured foot (yes the gas pedal, brake pedal one,) mulled over going local, and decided against it. I first started out with a sock on the foot and had to pull over to cram my swollen foot into a sandal. Ouch. I slowly weaved my way into Cambridge to Mt Auburn Hospital.

If I have bitches at all with Mt Auburn, it’s the interminable wait and the lack of free handicapped parking. An expensive handicapped spot lay just outside the ER door, but I couldn’t afford it. I found a spot on the street and wincingly ambled my way into the hospital, catching a ride in a wheelchair after entering the distant front door.

It was about 7 PM when I registered. By about 8, I was ready to leave, thinking that I am a big girl and I can take care of a swollen foot on my own. I told the receptionist I was leaving—they were too busy for me. I was not critical for care. She wheeled me to the elevator bank, said “NO”, and brought me back to the ER. She deemed my foot unfit for release. She plopped me down next to a nice couple and we spoke of many things—me diving right into a history that was none of my business, but that’s the journalist in me. The woman (whose name I don’t remember) told me of her son (who had been there for 5 hours), needing an x-ray for tingling in his arm.

Whooosh—in short order they had captured me into the back, where I was housed in a room holding that very same young man who had just acquired his x-ray.

Oh no, I thought. This is going to take forever.

My nurse finally came in at 9:59, and I asked her for a dose of an antibiotic I was taking. It was due at 10 PM. She finally came back at 11 pm with my pill. She was jolly and friendly and joking. I could not possibly be aggravated. I finally got my x-ray showing a fractured foot, which brought a visit from Dr. Michael Fogel.

He viewed my foot and declared it damaged and infected. Who knew? Had I been successful in my departure, I would have been in trouble. I’m such a hard head.

Rachel, my nurse, finally came back with an additional antibiotic. I complained about the wait times between attention.

“Bullshit!” She declared,

I laughed and joined in in the bantering fray. She got my footgear designed to keep my toes straight and instructed me as

to how to engage it by showing me how to put it on. No cast for me. Fortunate as I had to drive the hour back home.

It was about 12:30 AM before I arrived home, but I was happy with my little foray.

My toes are happy, too.

UPDATE: There is some free handicapped parking for the ER. I just couldn’t find it. I know where it is now. You must go in the ER ramp entrance under the garage.

Copyright 2017 Joyce Bowen

About the Author: Joyce Bowen is a freelance writer and public speaker. Inquiries can be made at
Sobre el autor: Joyce Bowen es un escritor independiente y orador pĂşblico. Las consultas pueden hacerse en

Originally published at

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