Never a convenient time to break a bone

There have only been two times in my adult life when I have broken a bone. Thankfully, neither of these times caused any significant problem or long-term recuperation. Both incidents were somewhat freakish accidents, two decades apart, and completely unrelated.

As a child, I flew over the handlebars of my bike and managed to break a bone in my foot. I landed knees and palms into cinder, the removal of which caused significant pain and serious scabbing, at least on my knees. I was much more concerned about getting those old-fashioned, sticky bandages off my knees later in the summer than I was with the minor fracture. It pretty much healed itself. Other than that accident and a fall which resulted in a hairline fracture of my coccyx, I escaped childhood fairly injury-free. So I entered adulthood feeling fairly graceful and not accident-prone.

About twenty years ago, I broke the little toe on my right foot. I had been reading from a large storybook to our son at bedtime. As I tucked him in, I nonchalantly tossed the book on the foot of his bed where it promptly slid off the coverlet and landed squarely on my bare little toe. It was about four days before Christmas.

Mostly what I remember about that time was that I limped around trying to complete all the normal before Christmas tasks — cooking, wrapping, singing in the choir, having people over for dinner, etc. We accomplished everything — just a little slower.

I learned then that there’s really little to be done for a fractured toe but buddy tape it to the next toe, take Tylenol, and limp. (Oh yeah, and rest, elevate, and ice, but seriously, who has time for that?).

Of course, I was lucky because it was a nice clean fracture and didn’t need surgery or pins or anything really painful.

Fast forward to this month. In yet another amazingly smooth move, I picked up the trash bag from our kitchen trash can. It’s one of those large, plastic tubs built into the cabinets by the sink. I was wearing flip flops ad because I was also looking at something important on the counter, I failed to notice that the plastic tub came out of the cabinet with the trash bag. So when I hefted the bag up, the tub slid off the bag and fell squarely on the little toe of my left foot.

Great. Now I have a matched set of broken little toes.

It happened the week I had planned to plant and mulch our gardens. It was the week before we left for vacation and to attend a wedding, at which we had planned to dance the Madison (which we’ve been practicing for a year). So the rest, elevate, and ice recommendation was ignored a second time.

It seems there’s never a convenient time to break a toe. I’ve also heard that three times is a “pattern,” but I refuse to consider the notion that I’m a klutz. Have you ever broken a toe? Email me at