A month ago I was carelessly (as usual) walking barefoot in my flat and basically penalty-kicked the granite stone door stopper of my bedroom. I felt significant pain right afterwards, but didn’t suspect anything until I tried to put a shoe on and basically couldn’t move. I took off the shoe (I was supposed to leave the house in the next 10 minutes so I just automated myself into getting dressed and everything) and sat for a bit, thinking what to do next. I called to decline the appointment I was headed to, and crawled back to my living room.
I limped and crawled around the house for the rest of the day, with peaks of pain when I put weight on the foot. The night was just as painful and the next day I carefully hopped to the doctor, then to get X-Rays, then to visit the local surgeon, to be told the little toe was indeed fractured, but needed no surgery, just buddy taping and some care when moving around. This is how it looked like the second day:
I honestly was quite OK with both the pain and the inability to move around as usual, and got a lot of well wishes and so on, which I did welcome, but didn’t really absorb. The pain from moving the broken bone fragments was pretty specific and localised in the first week and was triggered only by movement, so if I could take enough care I was able to avoid it altogether. In comparison, I experienced period pain in the last 25 years that was much harder to handle, as it was unpredictable, unavoidable (I didn’t use painkillers that much) and did cause significant external bleeding, which was not the case for this fracture.
The bone healed relatively quickly, the puzzle of fragments (it was a spiral fracture) stabilised in a couple weeks thanks to the initial blood clot then temporary soft tissues holding the bone pieces together, while the stretched ligaments between the toes kept hurting for the following month and prevented full movement range of the foot (the last movement I restored was walking downstairs, even after hopping/running). In the meanwhile I read a lot about bone healing! The little toe does have a bulge where it broke, which I assume is the callus, but it can withstand movements quite well and today I even wore a shoe for the first time (until now it was sandals or nothing).
My thoughts about this are around the fact that for me this has been a very minor disruption in my plans, and even a welcome break (no pun intended) in my otherwise borderline overloaded timeline, while it was perceived by others as a hindrance (if that happened to them; so they assumed for me as well) and a major pain highlight. Honestly, I would trade even a fraction of my mental strain with recurring pain as from this fracture, not only because it is orders of magnitude easier for me to handle (for more or less healthy reasons), but also because it is perceived as a true boundary from everyone around – something that is respected without question: of course you need time off, do you need us to help you with anything, and so on. With my mental struggles I mostly heard either nothing or sometimes even dismissive comments.
I don’t want to look thankless in any way, but I feel like my little toe was a better ambassador than my brain when it comes to obtaining help.