Feet, not just for picking your teeth!

Ok, bad joke, but it probably got your attention.  Feet are very much on my mind right now.  I recently discovered a new Safety Rule.  ALWAYS wear shoes when handling your firearms.  Some of you are thinking, “Duh” and some are wondering “why?”.

Recently I was removing a Henry .22 rifle from its soft case (it was unloaded, cleared and cleaned) so I could put it in the safe.  It slipped.  I’ve been well trained not to grab my guns if they fall, let them go (you never know).  Well, it went, and landed on my foot.  My first thought was “I hope I didn’t damage the rifle”, I really like that one and have named it Harmony.  My second thought was “OW!!!!!!!!!”.  Ok, there were a few expletives in there, that shall not be repeated here.  My long gun safe is in a low light area, I looked down at my foot and saw a dark line at the base of one toe.  I thought that was odd, there must have been something on the butt of the gun.  I finished securing the rifle and walked out in the bright light where I quickly realized that dark line was actually bright, blood, red.  Great, I gashed open my foot.  If only!  By the time I hobbled to the kitchen and called to my husband, there was a lot of blood, and an oddly flat toe that had the imprint from the rubber pad on the end of the stock.  Ok, get the ice, time to head to the ER.

Do you have any idea what is like to go the Emergency Room and try really hard not to use the word “gun”?  I tried every talk around I could think of, I dropped something heavy on my foot, etc.  Finally I had to tell them it was a rifle.  That lead to more discussion and I admitted I was a Firearms Instructor.  Ok, now, I had used the word gun, and they were laughing pretty hard about an instructor doing something so bone-headed.  We have to own our mistakes, right?

XRays, then back to a room to be seen.  I was treated by a nice, and tired, Physicians Assistant.  Broken toes aren’t usually a big deal.  Wait, here comes the ER Doctor.  He said he wanted to see this one because he had never seen an XRay like that before.  Uh-Oh…you NEVER want to be the “interesting” patient.

So, here I am about 3 weeks later.  Still in a Velcro shoe with two toes taped together.  Went to see my Orthopedic Dr, he compares the original XRays to the ones they just took, comes in, shaking his head (he has known and treated me for about 15 years) and tells me he has never seen one toe is so many pieces, and he quit counting after about 12.  In non-technical terms, the first bone, at the tip, is fractured, but not too bad.  The second bone is in 4 distinct pieces, and the third, well, it looks like a mushroom in the x-rays because the end is crushed.  Can he wire them back together?  No.  We are in wait and see mode.  If it continues to heal, I’m looking at 6-8 months recovery time.  If it doesn’t, I’m looking at surgery, removal of all the fragments and a pin to fuse what is left.  I’m a high heel girl…but now that is on hold for about a year or more!

The parting shot was to be careful of freezers.  Huh?  Seems the number one cause of foot injuries is opening the freezer door and having something fall out.  Not sure where dropping a rifle falls on that list.  But, having a ½ gallon of ice cream fall on my toe now would not be a good thing.

The reason I’m sharing this story is in hopes that you will think before doing something without protective gear, which included shoes.  I hope you never have to experience what I did.

Be safe.

Lynne Finch-Charlesworth

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