It’s amazing to me how many people share the same experiences.
Get a new car? See how many people can tell you about their experience in car buying.
Get a new job, others change employment too.
Have medical issues? This is, to me, the most comforting of all the shared experiences.
As those who care know, I recently lost a toe to infection. I am diabetic and amputation was the last resort to keep the infection from spreading.
I thought no one else in my circle of friends would have gone through a similar experience. Certainly no one in our family has done so.
Come to find out, toe amputation (I forget the medical term) is a fairly common procedure.
One friend was called “Nine Toes” long before I started calling myself that nickname.
The only other time I heard of someone losing a toe or toes was when Sen. Birch Bayh amputated part of a big toe in a lawnmower accident.
I was still in school, as I recall, when The South Bend Tribune printed a photo of him with his foot propped up and bandaged. He lost a portion of one of his big toes when his push lawnmower backed up over his foot unexpectedly.
That photo has stayed with me all these years and I cannot mow grass without thinking about Senator Bayh.
After weeks of daily IV infusions of antibiotics Dr. Houston sent me to a surgeon who sent me to Dr. Goodale who took more X-Rays and said the toe had to go.
Actually, that wasn’t what I heard. Given my vast medical knowledge (not) I’m sure I just misunderstood what she was going to do until we talked shortly before the procedure.
I thought she was going to remove a couple bones from my toe but that would have been silly because that toe would have been floppy and useless without the skeleton inside.
So, the whole thing had to go.
A little toe is really such a little thing.
I had a lot of questions about my little toe. Will I fall over without that guy to help me balance. No. What will my youngest grandchildren think? Why not just take off your shoes and play with them and see if they even notice?
I don’t compare my missing guy to an arm leg or some other extremity but I have more sympathy now for those people.
That led me to decide how I was going to answer people who asked why I was going to the office in shorts with my foot bandaged up so much I couldn’t get a pair of slacks on over it?
I decided humor was the answer.
“I lost my toe. I think it’s at the hospital and if they find it they are supposed to call me so I can go pick it up.”
That got a smile from most people.
One lady showed me a scar on her arm where an animal bit her and she had to make daily trips to the hospital. When she was in high school.
God bless my son. He has my sense of humor. On the day after outpatient surgery, he and I laughed as hard as we could over missing toe jokes.
“One less toe to stub. One less crevice to collect toe jam. This little piggy went to market .. but he didn’t come home again! I have to learn math. I can’t count to 10 on my toes anymore.”
See what I mean? Sick humor but better than laying around getting mad because of enforced limited activity.
I bring up this ability to empathize with others because in this time of pandemic (and it is real, no matter how much you or your friends deny it) we need to empathize with one another.
It wouldn’t hurt to sing “Cum by Yah” either. We are in this together, like it or not.