What my broken toe has taught me about self-care

What my broken toe has taught me about self-care

I slipped off the curb and crushed my toes while in pursuit of ice-cream cones for my kids. What was meant to be a cool Thursday afternoon treat turned into a series of painful lessons. 

First, I need to wear proper shoes all the time. I’m certain that it was the rubber flip-flops I was wearing that did me in. When the rubber sole hit that freshly painted curb, my foot had zero traction and with my foot exposed, injury was inevitable. I had been contemplating buying more shoes for weeks but put it off for reasons I didn’t quite understand. 

I had the money and I’d found the most comfortable pair of athletic shoes I’ve ever worn online for half off so why didn’t I pull the trigger? Why didn’t I upgrade myself when I bought my boys new shoes for school? Why did I deliberate over spending the same amount of money on myself that I spent on my kids? Why did I feel guilty about buying myself something? It’s because I’m awful at self-care.  

I crushed my toes and the pain was unbearable. When I think back on it, I should’ve aborted the mission and gotten right back in the car. Instead, I soldiered on, slid my aching left foot back into that flip-flop, went inside and came back with two vanilla ice-cream cones. Why didn’t I rush back home and ice my foot immediately? Because I’m awful at self-care. 


The pain worsened but I came up with a game plan; go home, apply ice, pop a couple of Advil and wiggle my toes every now and then to regain motion. My husband asked if I needed to see a doctor and I declined. Why? Because I am awful at self-care. 

The pain worsened throughout the night and I wasn’t able to move my second toe at all. Only after that did I acknowledge the possibility that it could be broken so I hobbled into the emergency room the next morning. As the physician examined me, I wondered if he thought I was crazy for even showing up with a couple of hurt toes. 

At the doctor’s request, a nurse came in with a wheelchair to transport me to radiology and I’ll admit, it felt a bit silly. I felt like rolling through the hospital corridors in a wheelchair for an x-ray was somehow over the top even though I could barely walk. Why did I feel this way? Because I’m horrible with self-care. 

When the doctor told me that the x-ray did indeed reveal a fracture, I was shocked. Like, literally mouth wide open shocked. Despite what happened, how horribly it felt and my inability to walk straight, I didn’t immediately seek medical attention. I automatically downgraded my needs and triaged myself in a way that I would never do with my kids or my husband. What this entire experience has highlighted is how horrible I am with self-care but from here on out, I plan to do better. 

Leave a Reply

Back to top