Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Handle Inappropriate Foot Touching

Yes, you read the title correctly, and no, don't worry: I'm not about to go all After School Special on you. It's just that having a cast on my leg has come with all sorts of new life lessons to sort out, and learning to handle inappropriate foot touching has only been one of them.

I just wish the technician who installed my cast had been a little more clear on how my entire life was about to change, but she contented herself merely with telling me not to get my cast wet and not (I promise that this was her only other advice) to drop pennies down into it.

It turns out that there are plenty more things she could have warned me about my imminent cast-wearing adventures. Maybe she thought it would be fun to let some of these things come to me as a surprise.

Things They Didn't Tell Me about Wearing a Cast:
  • Casts weigh approximately five hundred pounds.
  • They are not, as the technician claimed, made of fiberglass, but are actually formed from a dangerous  combination of sandpaper and moon rocks. 
  • Showering will now require the patience of Job, the strategic cunning of Napoleon, the willpower of an Olympic triathlete, and a ridiculous rubber boot that will cut off all circulation to your entire appendage---once you actually get it squeezed on over your injured extremity, that is. Have fun stripping the skin off your knuckles as you scrape them against the sandpaper coating of your moon rock cast while wrestling this cobra-like contraption on over your damaged limb, you poor schmuck! 
  • That the falling-and-catching-yourself-at-the-last-minute-while-jerking-your-legs-madly dream was about to get a whole lot more annoying.
  • You will have to deal with everyone's sudden compulsion to touch your exposed toes.
For some reason, this last one has been one of the more difficult trials to bear. Interestingly, it has not been close friends who have felt compelled to touch my toes either. Instead it's been mere acquaintances who have suddenly found themselves unable to resist the temptation to walk up to my elevated, casted foot and either 1) make some well-meaning, sympathetic remark about how swollen my toes still are (word to the wise: they're not really swollen any more. That's just how my toes look. Thanks for noticing!), or 2) reach out and touch my toes, possibly while going, "Boop!"  

Now honestly, people.  Had I been propping up a sandaled foot on the chair in front of me, none of you in your right minds (one would hope) would feel comfortable walking up uninvited to another grown adult to boop her exposed toes.  

But somehow this cast seems to be a great social leveler, inviting all and sundry to treat my toes as if they were the toes a well-beloved family member.

This must be how pregnant ladies feel about unwanted belly touches. I mean, in what scenario would it be wise to approach a lady and unexpectedly lay the flat of your hand across her stomach?  The fact that she is pregnant does not necessarily make it open season on spontaneous belly touches, and the fact that my toes are exposed and propped up at face level does not mean that I want you to touch them. 

Having never experienced pregnancy, I'm in no position to offer advice on warding off unwanted belly touches.  I am, however, in the unique position of offering advice on handling unwanted foot touching.

How to Handle Inappropriate Foot Touching: 

1. Have your toes amputated. Admittedly, this is bit extreme, but still. Problem solved!
2. Instead of having people sign your cast, have it emblazoned with the insignia, "DO NOT TOUCH!", a frowny face, and an angry arrow pointing downward. Although if your friends and family are anything like mine, this will just provoke them.
3. Cut down a few of your socks to half size, worming a fresh one into the front of your cast each morning, thus removing temptation from view. It took me three weeks to think of this, I'm ashamed to say. But I'm happy to report that not only did nobody touch my toes today, but that for the first time in weeks, the poor little things remained warm while I was at work. 

The truth is that although wearing a leg cast can be difficult, it's certainly not the hardest thing ever. I mean, I recently watched a Youtube video about a this amazing, armless woman. And although I don't like having people walking up and touching my (possibly swollen) toes, I've been thinking lately that at least I have toes.

And that reminder makes everything -- even inappropriate foot touching -- a bit easier to handle.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why Crutches Are Actually Sort of Awesome


So perhaps I overreacted the other day by claiming that my crutches wanted me dead. Given the benefit of hindsight, I recognize that I may have been a tad overwhelmed by the difficulties of being a temporary cripple.

Fear not! My emotional equilibrium having reasserted itself, I'm now fully prepared to recognize that there are some distinct advantages to my situation!

I have enumerated them for you below.  No doubt by the conclusion of this article, it is you who will be envying me. 


  • You can turn light switches off without getting out of your seat. Of course, then you're sitting in the dark. But the good news is that you can also use your crutches to turn them back on, lest you lose your life trying to traverse a room that you seem to have inadvertently booby-trapped with your own possessions.  
  • Occasionally, handsome, well-muscled men will take pity on you and carry you around. This is absolutely true.   
  • You'll grow in the areas of critical thinking, spatial orientation, advanced planning, physics, and problem solving.  Either that, or you'll die. Going 6-8 weeks operating with less-than-optimum balance and without being able to carry anything around with you in your hands will do that to you. So what if your methods seem crude and may involve the use of a backpack to transport your breakfast from the counter to the dining room table or a rudimentary catapult to transfer your dirty laundry from the hallway to the washing machine. At least you won't starve to death or be forced to show up for work naked. And that's sort of awesome. 
  • You can "accidentally" swat people you don't like with your crutches when you go hobbling past. Muahahahahaaa!
  • You will garner sympathy and experience the goodwill of strangers. I've rarely, if ever, had so much positive interaction with unknowns as I have since getting my cast installed. Everyone I meet seems to lend a helping hand or offer a word of sympathy. Just yesterday, a small party of thugs complete with neck tattoos held open both doors to a store for me and offered heartfelt condolences as I went gimping past. Without my crutches, I most likely would have been completely invisible to them, worthy of neither acknowledgement nor courtesy. But the crutches worked their glamour on those four would-be hooligans, transporting them to a parallel reality in which chivalry is real and people take time to care for their fellow humans. See? Awesome. 
  • You have an excuse to impose on people. You've never had better grounds for complete laziness. Go on. Have everyone wait on you hand and foot.  Revel in it.
  • You can anticipate building some amazing triceps and toning your abs.  If you're into that sort of thing.  And even if you're not. Because those muscles are going to get worked regardless of your opinion on the situation. *flexes* 
  • In case of sudden electrical storms, you will be able to offer protection to your friends/family by holding your crutches aloft and acting as a lightning rod. Admittedly, this is a mixed blessing. But there's a beautiful irony in pondering that your injury could hypothetically save your loved ones from being electrocuted in a freak storm. And that's awesome! Sort of. 

I'm comforted to know that I've only begun to plumb the depths of awareness relating to why my crutches are awesome. No doubt each of the coming days in the next 6-8 weeks will uncover vast new vistas of knowledge and experience available only to those who experience enforced crutching!

Admit it, my friends. For that sort of perception, you envy me.

Sort of.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to Tell if Your Crutches Want You Dead

If you've ever sustained an injury necessitating the use of crutches, you have my pity.  Not only is your injured appendage likely throbbing with pain at the very hint of a muscle twitch, but you also move in constant dread of losing your life at the hands of your new arch-nemesis: your crutches.

How to Tell if Your Crutches Want You Dead


1. You own crutches.  If you own and are currently using crutches, pay attention! As an unsuspecting victim who just wants to survive life, you no doubt labor under the delusion that your crutches exist to help you.  This is not true.  They exist to kill you. Not content in their knowledge that you're already doomed to endure several months of life as a tottering tripod, your crutches will do their uttermost to bring about your complete and utter annihilation. 

2. You suspect that your crutches have joined forces with gravity. It is a truth universally acknowledged by physicists that [Crutches + Gravity = DEATH]. Once your crutches team up with gravity, even the most simple household tasks become fraught with danger.  Leaning over to pick up a sock from the floor? Gravity will ensure that your crutches -- which you'd left leaning against the bookcase nearby -- will slip sideways and clonk you directly on the head just as you've started to stand up, guaranteeing that your head and the aluminum crutches meet at maximum force. Trying to go down a flight of steps on crutches? Oh, yes, gravity wants you and your crutches to make it down the steps -- only not all together and not at the same speed that you'd originally intended. Once you've reached the point of realizing that your decision to clip a coupon may cost you the use of your right eye, you have begun to exercise proper caution. 

3. You live in an area that experiences weather. As secure as you may feel in your ability to crutch all around the town, remember that rain brings slippery surfaces, wind is likely to blow you over, and aluminum is an extremely conductive metal. Most electrical wire is formed of it! Putting all of these factors together means each meteorological hiccup could spell your doom. 

In the event that you recognize any of the above warnings signs as applying to you and your crutches, it is important that you DO NOT PANIC. Instead, you must make a PLAN.

To that end, I have put together a list of some very helpful and practical advice.  


  • Burn your crutches immediately.  You may think that because they're made of aluminum they might not burn well, but I've been assured that if you make your fire hot enough, they will burn.1
  • Conventional wisdom would recommend wheelchair use as a safe alternative, but do not be fooled: this mode of transportation is also fairly dangerous (a topic to be covered in more detail in a future blog post). My advice is that if you absolutely have to move from place to place, employ the stop! drop! and roll! method. Rolling around on the ground may hurt your dignity, but it probably won't kill you.  I can't say they same thing for your crutches.
  • Your safest alternative is to find a comfortable spot, surround yourself with a nest of your favorite possessions, and plan to stay put for the next six-to-eight weeks. 
Just think of all the times you've been looking for an excuse to ignore the dishes and curl up on the couch to read the evening away.  Well, now you have that chance!

Except... when you envisioned this perfect idyll of extended free time, you probably didn't picture a throbbing ankle half-buried in melting ice packs.

But nothing in life is perfect. 

1. 933.47 K (660.32 C / 1220.58 F)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Dangers of Looking After Other People's Children

Having recently looked after my friend's set of eight-year-old twins, I've been pondering the distinct dangers that other people's children pose to my existence.

Allow me to explain.

The Dangers of Looking After Other People's Children

1. They cannot be trusted.  Any sentence beginning with the phrase "Well, my mom says...." or "My dad always lets us..." is suspect.

Also, beware going down conversational rabbit holes such as the following:

OPC (Other Person's Child) 1: Hey! Um, can we eat dinner in the pool?
You: That doesn't sound like a very good idea.
OPC 1: Sure it is!
OPC 2: We can float on rafts, and you can hand us our plates and cups and then we'll just float out there eating!
You: That sounds like a lot of work on my part.
OPC 1: No, see, 'cause all you do is hand us the stuff! And then we eat it!
OPC 2: In the pool!
You: Well, let's just stop here a moment and ask ourselves one question.
OPC 1 & OPC 2: *staring up, wide-eyed and open-mouthed*
You: Would your mom think this was a good idea?
OPC 1: Ummmm...
OPC 2: Yes....?

Like so.

2. They want to kill you.  Spills of Legos strategically scattered on the floor in the hall outside your room, a cascade of wheel-bottomed toys spilled down the stairs to the basement, cups of water perched precariously near electrical outlets, knives cleared from the table and "handed" to you pointy-end first while the children run through the kitchen at a gallop.

Need I say more?

3. Nothing is sacred. The longer you're around other people's children, the more likely they are to forget that you are not actually one of their parental units and revert to their default modes, meaning that it's just a matter of time before they are drinking out of your cup and trying to come into the bathroom with you.

Absolutely unacceptable.

4. You don't know anything about anything. Before I started looking after other people's children, I was unaware that there were actually right cups and wrong cups, correct and incorrect ways to microwave pre-cooked sausage links, valid and invalid table settings, and proper and improper orders in which to add bath toys to the tub. I also have learned that there is really only one legitimate way in which to read a favorite bedtime story, and that's the way their dad does it.

Yes, looking after other people's children can be fraught with danger, but it's also somewhat exhilarating. Think! How often are you offered the chance to sharpen your wits, avoid brushes with death, and prove that you're are not a complete idiot--all at the same time?

Not very often.

So enjoy!

But keep a weather eye out, because those little clowns have it in for you.