The Incredibly Embarrassing Story of my Broken Toe

This is really embarrassing. 
How many people ride in an ambulance to the hospital for a broken toe?
It’s actually a little more complicated than that.
But still embarrassing.

Yesterday evening, I threw up. I wasn’t exactly shocked, as my two youngest girls have had a tummy bug all week. Immediately after throwing up my hands started cramping, tingly, and feeling “asleep,” as they do whenever I hyperventilate. I laid down, both trying to calm my stomach and relax my hands.

An hour later, I threw up again. I had been standing over the kitchen sink because our upstairs bathroom is kaput, but the angle which I was bent really hurt, so I quickly grabbed a bowl and sat down and threw up. Mid-vomit my abs cramped, and really hurt. After I threw up, my hands again had that tingly painful feeling. My hands typically ball up and it’s hard to make them relax.

I tried to go to bed and tossed and turned for an hour before making the trip downstairs to throw up in the bathroom. Tingly, I sat on the recliner to watch a movie. I hoped the movie would take my mind off of things. I held a Gatorade bottle in my hands, hoping they wouldn’t curl up into a ball.

I was on my way to throw up again when I decided, as I was so thirsty, that I may as well take a nice cold drink. I had been afraid to drink at that point, but if I’m going to puke, I’m going to puke, right? Strangely, the cool drink seemed to momentarily settle my stomach. I took that moment to run up and take some Pepto. Despite not throwing up, I still had hot sweats and my hands were crampy and tingly.

About thirty minutes later I took another dose of Pepto and went to ask Gary where some saltine crackers might be. I was ready to throw up again and wanted to avoid it at all costs. On my way back downstairs, somewhat in a hurry, I slipped as I stepped around the narrow corner on the stairway. The weight of my body landed directly on my left big toe.

I started crying instantly. Gary rushed to me and I told him I needed to throw up, so we hobbled to the bathroom. Luckily I didn’t throw up again, my hysteria grew. Every time I looked at my crooked toe, I cried harder. I told Gary I had never felt sorrier for myself.

Gary asked if he should take me to the emergency room. I said I wasn’t sure, but wanted ice chips both for my foot and to suck on. I was so thirsty. He went upstairs, and I went into full-blown hysterics. I was crying so hard and unable to stop. My hands were cramping up tighter and tighter. I yelled for Gary and told him I needed a blessing.

Both of my hands were essentially stuck into this position.

He sat next to me, holding me. He told me he needed me to calm down first. I tried to breathe in and out. Finally he was able to give me a quick blessing, and reminded me that my body had been through worse (home birth). He went upstairs to grab something–I don’t remember what?–and my whole body grew very very tingly and my muscles contracted tightly. I yelled for Gary, panicked. I told him I thought I was going into shock. 

He pulled me out into the hallway. He leaned over me and sternly commanded me to breathe, in and out. The more I attempted deep breaths, the more frightened I felt. I could not get enough air. My hands tightened so much, the pain outweighed the pain of my foot. Finally my face started tingling and I was losing the ability to use my mouth, as my facial muscles were pulled so tight. I told Gary to call 911. He kept looking at me, commanding me to breath, and I kept gasping to call 911, I couldn’t breathe. 

Finally he left my side to grab his phone from upstairs. I prayed, begged and pleaded for Heavenly Father to help me. I felt like I was going to black out, I was scared that my heart was going to stop. As Gary was speaking with emergency services I kept asking, “Are they coming? Just tell me if they’re coming!” 

Finally, help arrived, as did Gary’s mother to watch the kids. Whether it was the distraction of people, or the feeling like these people could save me, but I was slowly able to relax my breathing, all the while listening to Gary gently reminding me to breathe. They took vitals and decided to take me to the hospital via ambulance.

They tried to walk me up the stairs but my foot hurt too badly, and I had very little control over my extremities  They sat me back down, then brought in a stair chair. They strapped me in it as they navigated my narrow stairway.


They loaded me up in the stretcher and I asked Gary if he was coming with me. He told me he would be following in the van. I started crying again, terrified to leave him. I cried as they carried me off and shut the doors. I was also half wanting to come my face up with a sheet because I was certain the entire neighborhood was watching–but figured it would be really bad if people started thinking someone had died.

The ambulance ride was actually fairly slow and somewhat calming as I answered the EMT’s questions. Finally we arrived at the hospital, and I was desperate to see Gary again. They put me on the hospital bed and a nurse started checking me in. After what seemed like hours, Gary arrived. (He told me later he was there the whole time, but I hadn’t yet been registered in the computer for the nurse in the waiting room to let him back.)

My nurse told me that the doctor wasn’t yet assigned, but as soon as she came in, I would be able to get some medication for the pain.
As I waited, my nausea grew. I knew I was going to throw up again. I had Gary grab me a handy barf bag.

Emesis Bag - Product NS30820Emesis Bag Blue 40 oz. (1000ml)Click here to view a larger image of this product

As I waited to puke, the tingly feeling started to come back. Suddenly, my leg cramped hard and tight–and on the same leg with my broken toe. The pain was unbearable and I instantly had another panic attack. I started yelling and screaming. Gary tried to get me in control, he hit the nurse button but all they heard was “Help me! Help me!” Gary told them that I was having a panic attack and needed help immediately.

I struggled to sit up, and rested my head on the bed rail. The new position relaxed my leg cramp enough that I was able to begin concentrating on my breathing. A minute later a different nurse entered, put the pulse meter back on that had been ripped off in my hysteria, and handed me an oxygen mask. I asked where the **** doctor was, I could have been home having panic attacks with no help. {Apparently I’m not so nice when traumatized.}
The nurse pointed out that the doctor can’t help me until I calm down so I can tell her what was going on.

About five minutes later my hands started relaxing and the doctor came in. She quickly gave the approval for drugs, wonderful drugs. She gave me something to relax, she gave me pain medication, and she gave me something for the nausea. 
Ahh… much better.

She told me that I was having panic attacks and the cramping was due to hyperventilating. I told her I was really trying to calm down but couldn’t breathe. She said that breathing in a paper bag can help because I’ve breathed out all my C02 (hence the cramping). The oxygen mask I wore wasn’t even pumping oxygen–it was just to help recirculate the CO2 I was exhaling.

It didn’t take long after that for the wonderful relaxing medicine to kick in, and Gary and I both dozed off. Every time I woke up I was confused about my location and what kids I was or wasn’t in bed with. I had painful x-rays, and was told I had fractured my big toe.

Not long after that I was given prescriptions, and a walking shoe. They also taped my big toe together with the next toe and instructed me to see a podiatrist next week.

So, that’s basically it. That’s the story of my sad, sad broken toe, and my very sad emotional break down. While having a baby at home was tough and hurt like… (insert curse word here), it was a pain I understood. It was a pain with a goal, a pain that had purpose, and a pain that had a definite end. With this, I truly felt like my body was shutting down. I’ve never been so scared.
Normalish right toe. Please disregard my gross toes, this is not the broken one. I promise. And disregard the nail polish too okay?
The broken left toe. See how it’s all getting friendly with the other toe there? It’s taped, but that just kind how it is.


Here’s a side by side comparison for your viewing pleasure.

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7 Responses to The Incredibly Embarrassing Story of my Broken Toe

  1. symony says:

    Ok as lame as this is but the tears started coming to my eyes! That's really scary I'm glad your ok!

  2. newbiemama says:

    You're so sweet! I'm glad I'm okay too. And I always accept tears on my behalf, lol! :)

  3. A "Dandelion" mom says:

    You're always so full of resourceful information Sarah! You should keep a large box of these CO2 recirculation apparatuses (ie paper lunch bags) around your house for just such an emergency ;)

    PS- SOOO glad you're okay, and hope your toe heals quickly!

  4. Sinful Sundays says:

    OMG! That sounded horrible and painful. I'm so glad you're okay!

  5. newbiemama says:

    It was painful AND embarrassing! Turns out I have at least one neighbor who was up at 2 a.m…. and pulled out his binoculars to see what was going on! Okay, I won't lie, I would have done the same. Lol!

  6. Julie says:

    Oh I am so sorry! I am glad you are okay and thanks for inviting me over. I have really enjoyed reading your blog!

    The Farm Girl

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