Toes, Tolerance and Other Things That Start With “T”

by Robyn Justo — Starting the year off on the right foot (except when there is a needle in it), I moved again, leaving the fast cars and smelly cigars of downtown Carmel for the serenity of the Aptos woods.

I move a lot. Maybe it’s the Bohemian in me. I have it all down to a science and things were going quite well. I was close to being all packed up when I was transferring some items from a drawer and felt a sharp pain in my right foot.

Looking down I saw a needle on a thread. At closer inspection, I saw that the needle was broken so I got on my knees and looked for the other half in the carpet, never thinking that it could be hiding in my foot. There was no blood or a lot of pain afterwards, just a tiny little spot.

Things like this don’t slow me down. I took my evening walk, close to a mile, and returned home. Ok, there was some discomfort.

The next day I ended up at Docs on Duty for an X-ray and the report was “Yep, it’s in there!” The X-ray was frightening and I was moving the very next day. Six hours later, two plus of those being under the knife, the needle still remained, wedged under a bone. The doc’s words were “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.” As he searched for it, as usual I searched for the deeper meaning. He gave up, but I did not.

During those hours I learned a lot about things that start with T (Tetanus, Tramadol, Tylenol, Toradol, and Tolerance). I had more shots that day than a spring breaker and now I was grouchy and hungry.

I wondered if maybe it was the ghosts of Christmas past lurking in the 100-year-old Carmel building who didn’t want me to leave, but the next day my moving truck arrived and I tenaciously departed for the trees, boxes in arms, needle in foot.

I found a second doc in Watsonville and he got the dreaded needle out, but I was told that I could not walk, shop for groceries, get my foot wet, or do much of anything.

I called a few friends for help and a possible grocery run. One told me that perhaps I should take this time to fast. The only fast that I was going to do was drive that way to a Carl’s Jr.

Having suffered from a sinus infection for nearly a month, this same friend humorously suggested that this needle in the foot might have cured me and although I was ready to smack him, I looked it up and indeed the point of entry in acupuncture did deal with the nose. My sniffles and congestion had instantly disappeared! Could be a sign of even more meaning.

On my way home, I found myself at a magical place called the Cadillac Cafe in Corralitos instead of Carl’s. As I entered I was met by smiling people (two of whom were named Dana) who gave me Tylenol, was able to put my foot up and get a great cup of coffee and an omelette, and watch a beautiful child named Kyrie eat Mickey Mouse pancakes which reminded me of how Mom made them for me when I was little. What were the odds? By the way, the meaning of the name Kyrie means Lord. Just sayin’.

Safeway home delivery has become my new best friend. My toe looks like something from Reanimator, matching my other scars from 2017 in the Boris Karloff motif. I’ve renamed myself “Walks on Needles” or better yet, “Broken Needle.” I’ve learned how to contort myself in a solo game of Twister in the bathtub, leaving one foot out.

I remembered that at the end of 2016 I also had a freak accident with a nasty knock on the noggin and I lived to write about it. Someone, something is looking out for me.

Leaving a needle conveniently threaded for its next use laying loose in a drawer isn’t something I will do again (part of my 2018 resolutions).

And the point to all of this, the pun unavoidable? I have an attitude of gratitude, thankful that I still have a Toe and that this freaky event was merely an inconvenience in my new life in the Trees, and realizing that there are better things that start with T.

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