The Angry Toe

I saw stars.

Literally a galaxy of bright lights bursted under my eyelids as the keg fell to the ground. It was a busy Wednesday night and I had to run to the back of the club to change the Blue Moon. Opening the walk-in door, a precariously stacked Coors Light keg decided to send me star gazing by falling off its perch and land on my left big toe.

Thumpt and here came the Big Dipper and all of his pals!

What you call a keg of beer is really called a half barrel and I know a half barrel weighs 156-pounds. Some knucklehead decided to stack a ¾ full Coors Light keg on top of a full one but what he really did was set a booby trap. When I reached over to change the Blue Moon, the Coors light came down like a silver bullet and crushed my big toe. I’ve hated Coors Light and her drinkers for a very long time—I guess this is payback for me talking trash about the cheapest beer and patrons on the planet.

The stream of profanity that came out of my mouth would make Redd Foxx blush. I knew my toe was mush but there wasn’t any other options. The bar was full, help was not coming around the corner and frankly, I needed the money. I gingerly limped from the walk-in and got back to work. Like most injuries, if you can rub a little dirt on it you can make it through a shift. The only thing that got me through the night was thinking Blue Moon and Coors Light conspiring against me. Fortunately it wasn’t the Blue Moon who got me from behind the grassy knoll. That’s like getting caught in a pixie dust avalanche or drowning in a whipped cream tsunami.

Self-medicating at home that night in early November, I did a little frontier medicine on my foot when I finally got my boot off. It was the opposite feeling of opening a Xmas present. I gingerly took my boot off and bit into a wooden spoon before taking off my socks. I’ll spare you the bloody description off my toe but needless to say, it was a mess. The nail was shattered and the toe looked like Ed Asner. Between slurps of whiskey and muttered cursing, I cleaned it up and went to bed.

The next morning my foot felt like two-day old Hamburger Helper. I decided that if I could walk through on it, I’d head to InstaCare and get it looked at. Here in lies the problem of being a stubborn man. I muscled the strength to get around my shift that night and after a couple of days, I decided the smashed nail was going to heal anyway—so why bother with a medical professional?

It took a massive infection for me to shelve my masculinity. I headed to the InstaCare and they gave me a 10-day prescription of antibiotics and instructions to stay off my paw. Off course I didn’t do either. I made it a couple of days on the antibiotics and kept bouncing from project to project. Even worse for my foot, Erin and I were headed off to Oakland and San Francisco for a Pearl Jam concert. The two days before the show, we walked countless miles throughout San Francisco causing my toe to feel like a water balloon filled with agony.

For those that don’t know Erin well, I will tell you one thing about her that she is very proud of—she is a very good walker. Such a great hiker and pedestrian, the only way a fellow like me could have ever possibly remained with her for almost a decade is to try and match her prowess on the trails and pavement. Going over the hill of SF, through Golden Gate Park and from bar-to-bar, my toe felt like it was going to explode but here is another factoid about my girl—she doesn’t tolerate whining. It was better to fight through the pain than suffer the consequences of complaining about a little toe discomfort.

After returning to SLC, I decided enough was enough. I headed to the University Health Clinic to get my toe properly looked at. I’ve treated the little guy like a punching bag and I needed some relief. The nurses and doctors took one look at good ol’ leftie and knew something was afoot (I’ve waited 742-words to use that pun) and took x-rays. Eureka! My toenail wasn’t the only victim from that crafty Coors Light keg, my hallux took a beating. The hallux is the bone in the big toe and it was fractured. Holy mackerel! There was a hairline fracture along the outside of the hallux and it was most likely responsible for the majority of the pain that I felt. Hard to believe that I could transverse San Francisco on a busted toe much less rock to Pearl Jam.

The only treatment was more antibiotics and rest. I’ve agreed to take the pills but rest is for the wicked. I still see star whenever I tap my toe against something but the pain doesn’t send me to the moon—the wonders of modern medicine. Hopefully, I’ll be back to normal by the middle of next week.

So, what was the lesson from this little incident? For one, if you get hurt go to the hospital. I know that’s where they hid all of the sick people but doctors are smarter than me when it comes to salvaging a toe. Second, if you ever come stumble across a rowdy Coors Light keg, keep your distance. Those suckers bite!

Ben Raskin bartends at Keys On Main Wednesday through Saturday. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. Podcast, yep. Pearl Jam was fantastic. They player for 3 ½ hours and he met a guy named Ray. Ask Ben about it sometime.

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