Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gather around the story rug folks...

I've been promising this story for awhile - and while some of you (family and childhood friends) may already know the basics there are OTHER blog-readers who are shocked to know that I spent the years spanning 1980-1985 on crutches!  Ooops, I think I just gave away the ending... 

While hiking this past Friday with my family there were a few lovely bushes near the trail that sported some VERY LARGE and very SCARY LOOKING thorns...  knowing my phobia Q wisely warned me of said thorns and I steered as far as possible to the other side of the trail while still following the "stay on designated trails" signs.  My youngest kids have not had to witness me around thorns (except when I refuse to touch the roses they get at their dance concerts) and thus thought this was HILARIOUS.  (note, there is nothing funny about this...  really... so stop laughing at my wussy behavior!)
I did eventually (an hour later on the return to the car) get up my nerve and get close enough to take a picture of the thorny bush (though not close enough to get a GOOD picture - thus the google images provided one).

You see (finally she gets to the story) when I was a mere 8 years old I was playing at my Grandmother's house in Loveland CO.  My siblings and I were all out in the yard playing with the Willy Waterbug (a glorified sprinkler) running around barefoot on the grass in the shade provided by many large Russian Olive Trees.  I'm pretty sure it was June - maybe it was my sister's birthday?  My memory has some holes... kinda like my foot was about to have.  (there I go telling the story all out of order)  Well, now that I've spilled the beans - I'll jump ahead to the point where there is a large and scary looking thorn sticking out of my foot - which of course means that a part of this thing is also sticking IN my foot!  Then came the freaking out... which I don't specifically remember, but I'm sure it happened...  what I do remember is my Uncle D (just 5 years older than me) coming and trying to calm me down and reaching to pull out the offending thorn.  I remember THIS part of the freaking out...  I did not want him to touch it and insisted he instead carry me inside to where my Grandmother was.  Thinking of course that she would have a better option than pulling it out...  nope, she just yanked it out.  No blood no harm right?  Nope...  but we'll get to that later - just remember that you actually WANT a puncture wound to bleed - at least a little bit!)  

Then, my grandmother being a grandmother, my foot was subjected to a hot tub of water infused with Epsom Salts.  Apparently it's a Panacea - draws out the nasties or something...  I just remember it was REALLY HOT and my foot still hurt like @#^&!  (though at 8 I'm sure I didn't use such language!)

Gap in Memory... maybe I passed out... maybe my grandma put some medicine in a spoonful of Applesauce to get me to chill...  anyway - my mom eventually came back and since it was some important event like my sister's maybe birthday we were dragged off to the shoe store.  I remember hopping through the aisles of Sears while my mom rolled her eyes (because of course Grandma had told her it didn't even bleed... and besides, she'd used EPSOM SALT!).  I sat down and the shoe salesman brought a cute pair of blue suede shoes (yeah, I'm actually not kidding) that had Pooh Bear on one sole and Tigger on the other.  (this I remember?  the brain is truly strange isn't it?)  My left foot was pretty swollen by now and my mom instructed the shoe salesman to just make sure it fit my right foot - I'd wear both of them later.  (oooh, this might count as foreshadowing...)

The huge swelling and the fact that my foot was HOT made my mom realize that this was more than a scratch.  Shoot - maybe if I hadn't been such a hypochondriac between the ages of 0-7?  At this point we made our first hospital visit...  what do I remember about this?  I remember being separated from my mom briefly... of course at the time I didn't know the WHY of the separation... the staff was busy accusing my mother of child abuse in another room... apparently the foot was that ugly.  I think I'm glad that my mom was not the camera bug that I am!!

Loooong Story - Reeeallly Condensed at this point...  surgery, surgery, new doctor, surgery, lots of infection and being isolated in a "clean" room in the hospital while one incision was allowed to heal without the benefit of stitches, surgery, surgery, new doctor, surgery...  all in all they removed bits of bone, muscles, tendons - probably some other gory stuff too...  at one point I remember being able to push on one side of my foot and the other side of my foot would bulge out because of some weird abscess.  I remember during one surgery they removed my birthmark from my toe because it might cause complications... (that really ticked me off because my brother and I had matching birthmarks).

In fifth grade (having never worn that stupid Pooh Bear shoe even though Tigger had long since been worn down past recognition) I remember my bus driver promising me a party when I finally got off of crutches - but just like the shoes that I never wore that didn't happen, because by the time I was off crutches I was in seventh grade!

Luckily I had cheated often enough along the way (and gotten a few breaks here and there from the crutches) that I did remember how to walk...

Finally - age 13, the gawkiest age of all and I get to lose the crutches... oh happy day Calooh Callay...  I was ecstatic!!!  and then "honey, I think we need to get your eyes checked..."  (nope, no great story behind the glasses... I was just nearsighted)

Oh - wait!  You have to know the coolest part...  the "new doctors" that came into the picture... My sainted mother didn't tell me that part until later (thanks again mom) but the reason we switched doctors wasn't insurance or anything so mundane.  We switched every time the doctor gave up and told my parents that it was time to amputate.  Again, thanks Mom!!!!

The moral of the story?  Wear shoes, doesn't matter who pulls out the thorn, blood isn't always a bad thing, if the shoe fits, never cry wolf, and trust your mom!!!  (and never, never,  never plant a Russian Olive tree...  really, don't - I found out yesterday they're considered noxious weeds in many of the Northern counties of my state)

18 comments:

jewelstreet said...

Oh, my goodness! Did you have some sort of staph infection or was the thorn poisonous or something?

At least you have both feet. I cannot imagine!

T said...

as far as I remember a good portion of the swelling was an allergic reaction - all of the weird infections... yeah, I don't remember - maybe I should get my Mom to comment on this one :)

Becky said...

Good gravy, that's insane! That is one nasty little thorn.

I'm glad you have two feet, too!!

Barbaloot said...

Ouch-that hurts to think about. I'm glad you still have both feet!

Maybe your grandma should've given you some pepto-bismal...

Mrs. S said...

Seriously that is crazy!! I am SO going to wear shoes from now on!!!

Megz said...

Think of how short you'd be without your feet....just kidding, that was totally insensitive!
Who knew thorns and grandmas could be so dangerous to our health?

Machen family said...

Thanks for visiting Machenland, come again anytime.. and OH yeah I read your comment on Barb's blog and REALLY appreciated that comment on Barbaloots blog about a nosewarmer. I got to do what I got to do to win...you know what I mean! Have a great day..and I'm sorry about that whole "feet" incident OUCH!

R Max said...

I am so sorry to hear that your grandmother nearly had your foot amputated and your mother was nearly arrested. I would carry on in this vein but the last person I made a grandmother/mother comment to took it personally and sent me hate mail for weeks.

So, I'll stop there and beg your everlasting forgiveness for making wisecracks about your beloved family.

A thousand pardons.

cold cocoa said...

Wow- I don't think I've heard the whole story before. Very sad! Too hard to not be able to run around at track meets and in Easter Egg Hunts and flashlight tag and all the other fun kid stuff.

Kristina P. said...

Thanks for your comments! And I sometimes don't wear shoes at work, for which I am mocked for. I wonder why they would do that to me, considering I'm such a loving coworker?

T said...

Barbaloot - can't believe my G'ma didn't know about the Pepto cures!

and R Max - you can have all thousand pardons - wisecracks are what I'm all about!

Kristina - be careful - or soon they'll be sending around a petition to get you to put your shoes back on :)

Sue Q said...

Now, there's a Reality Show for you!!! Holy Cabooses! I'm getting light-headed just looking at that communist tree thorn up there at the top -- no offense to anybody that may happen to be Russian and reading this, but that is one heckuva dangerous weapon!

just the five of us said...

Hey be glad that you weren't born 100 years ago. They only had morphine for the pain, and that is what they gave you when they sawed your leg off with a sword or a yucky knife:D Gotta love the 20th century for something:D

Glad you have your toes so you can paint them all pretty:D

LC said...

I say it's time to relive the 80's.
Put on some OMD, peg up those pants and party like it's 1985.

And hey, aren't you still barefoot most of the time???

T said...

LC outed me... I still hate shoes... I have just a touch of claustrophobia if my feet can't breathe properly!

April said...

YIKERS!!! My feet were crawling just reading it. Seriously, I had to crack my toes twice!!!

Nice to know I have bloggers in the same neck of woods as me! Awesome!

Nic said...

I think I've told you before, but I grew up with a guilty conscience about this. I seem to have thought that you got this thorn in your foot after pushing you for some reason (probably so you would get wet under the willy waterbug). Even now I can't read this story without thinking that it wouldn't have happened if it weren't for me. Pretty sad of me to feel that way still after all these years, but that's my memory of it.

Then again, because of this experience, when I put my foot down over one of those bolts that hold the pews down to the floor at the Stake Center and it went into my foot through my shoe and bruised my bone, I made sure that they irrigated the heck out of the wound before they bandaged it up. I remember sitting there thinking about what you went through with your infection and wanting to be sure that, despite the pain it caused to have them stick a tube into the open wound and flush it out with a bag of saline solution, it was clean and I would do everything to avoid a similar fate. Oh, and now we have matching scars on our feet between the toes.

T said...

and for the 8 b'zillionth time - it SO wasn't anyone's fault... and honestly - would I be as strong a person today with this experience? probably not :)

Wouldn't change a thing - would recommend it, but wouldn't change a thing :)