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Broken toes and berry cakes – how my body begged me to slow down

Posted in Aging, Health, and Women's issues

my-twisted-toesOn Monday morning, a typical Monday, I looked at my schedule (to be found on my Filofax, laptop, iPad and phone – I am leaving nothing to chance and even less to my memory) and this is what it showed:

  1. Up at 6 to go to work – make muffins, scones and two dozen random desserts;
  2. stop at the market on the way home to pick up a few things I missed last week-end;
  3. Work at my laptop until ready to make a berry cake for the week;
  4. Drive to Fed-Ex;
  5. Take a walk with the dogs;
  6. Yoga class

The rest of the week was dotted with more of the same, a couple of social appointments, the dentist, Yom Kippur dinner and a concert on Saturday night.

Day one was wiped off with the delete button and the rest of the week would be drastically slashed too. On Sunday morning, a typical Sunday, trying to sidestep my mother, hard at work cleaning an already very clean floor, I tripped on the stairs and fractured a toe. The poor sausage is a funny shade of purple and does not take kindly to my walking around, even hopping doesn’t make it or me particularly happy. Which is how I came to feel sorry for myself, sitting with my foot propped up, musing on the perils of a too clean house. I need to find an Italian translation of “Dust if you must” and slip it into my mother’s suitcase.

Little and big annoyances have been piling up in the last few weeks. Some less manageable than others but all manageable. Put in the context of displaced families in Syria, unemployed masses and starving children I do not have any problems at all – just minor Western World hiccups.

But, if dropping my troubles in the context of the wide world always gives me perspective, I also recognize that my problems are still mine to solve and accept. As a lifelong introvert, I tend to view the world first as it relates to me, and only once I am able to get the “I” out of the way, can I focus on the world at large and how I can best operate in it. This has translated into years of guilt, of feeling selfish for immediately putting my perspective above all else, until the airline video with the oxygen mask dropping, warning you to wear it before helping the distressed (but still smiling) child, started to make sense.

A master at introspection but also at marching along to my schedules regardless, I think my accidental injuries, which also include slicing off the top of my left thumb while chopping onions, are forcing me to literally sit back and be still.

“Trying to keep you still is worse than forcing Ottie to sit” commented my friend Silvia. While a strong believer in trying to find the silver lining, I don’t think crappy things always happen for a reason. Or to teach us a lesson. That’s our way to reason disaster and some disasters just cannot be reasoned.

But, in this particular case, my body is probably getting cranky and is asking me to stop my frantic workouts, to parse out my packed schedules and to honor the changes I can tell are afoot. The sense of anxiety that is hovering like dark clouds can be chalked up to my hormones but it might also have to do with my unrealistic expectations and my need to accomplish more than is humanly possible – at least at 51.

Yes, I remembered to take a pic when we were down to last the piece
Yes, I remembered to take a pic when we were down to last the piece of the berry cake

It took a purple toe to give myself permission to do random things I would otherwise fit in slivers of time here and there or I wouldn’t have done at all, such as:

  1. looking for apartments for an acquaintance who is planning to come to LA for a few months;
  2. helping a fellow blogger answer a technical question (little does she know of my incompetence!);
  3. reading the new New Yorker cover to cover;
  4. submitting to Ottie’s incessant face licking (he knows something is amiss and is convinced his foul breath will improve matters);
  5. watching Nadal take Djokovic apart;
  6. spending some time feeling sorry for myself.

After an entire day spent getting better acquainted with a couch usually more appreciated by the dogs, I resumed  spewing my opinion on Syria, fretting on the defacement of the lot next door under the proposed construction plan and devoted some energies towards combatting fracking.

Eventually, I hopped around the kitchen to make that berry cake. Because nothing, not even a fractured toe, will come between me and my weekly carbs.

Toe image found in the public domain – mine is not quite as bad

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  1. silvia

    The little sausage that belongs to your foot sent me a message that says ” pls take good care of me and let me rest in order to heal”!

    September 15, 2013
    • Good thing it’s talking to you because it knows it’s useless to talk to me!

      September 15, 2013
  2. A toe AND a thumb! I’ve had my problems with each but never together! Take care.

    September 15, 2013
    • And as a chef I should know better on how to fold my thumbs while chopping….thank you

      September 15, 2013
  3. Oh poor you! Though there`s a little part of me too that would relish an excuse to retreat from a too busy world.And eat berry cake, of course!

    September 14, 2013
  4. Uffa. Sorry about your toe and hope it’s on the mend.

    I was just speaking with a dear friend yesterday and mentioned how my problems/issues are nothing compared to the displaced people of Syria. I felt guilty about complaining.

    She said it’s good to have perspective (many people don’t) but it’s not a good thing to always dismiss your problems. There is a huge difference between whining all the time and simply voicing that things are not going well.

    September 14, 2013
    • I agree. At the end of the day, our problems are ours and they shape our everyday world. I might not be starving or deathly ill but I shouldn’t minimize what is affecting me. As long as we don’t lose perspective, I suppose.

      September 14, 2013
  5. Breaking a toe, chopping a thumb, seeing the world as related to me: done!!!! I am so sorry for the accident but it gave inspiration to another insightful post, didnt it?:-) xx

    September 14, 2013
    • You are the glass half full type too, I see!

      September 14, 2013
  6. Janet Rörschåch
    Janet Rörschåch

    Speedy Recovery Campari Girl!

    September 13, 2013
    • Thank you and hope all is good with the rains and the mud where you are…

      September 14, 2013
  7. Camparigirl,

    You remind me so much of myself–sometimes frighteningly so!

    First and foremost, sorry to hear about your toe! Wishing the two of you well!

    Secondly, I felt like I was reading my own words when you write: “Put in the context of displaced families in Syria, unemployed masses and starving children I do not have any problems at all – just minor Western World hiccups.

    But, if dropping my troubles in the context of the wide world always gives me perspective, I also recognize that my problems are still mine to solve.”

    Our little drama this week was a note put on our car complaining about our dogs. Not sure if you saw it; the story is on my FB page.

    Anyway, between being swamped with teaching and being the feminist housewife, I have not worked out in three works–not even one single yoga class–and have not worked on my novel for months! How is it ever going to be a best seller if I haven’t even sent it out to agents?! Haha!

    Today I started grading essays. My goal was to get through one class–30, thousand-word essays. I started at 11am. I am on number 6 🙁

    That’s life, right?

    Hope to see you some time in the next decade 🙂

    Happy healing and filakia from
    Greek girl

    September 13, 2013
    • I went to look at the note on your FB page. Is that really true or are they dramatizing? Although you are home at night and should know. So you are back on the couch grading….I hope you are enjoying the class, at least…Mom leaves on Friday, maybe a writing date soon?

      September 14, 2013

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