Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wayne Scheer

My Left Foot
Non-Fiction by Wayne Scheer

About a month ago my wife broke a CorningWare dish that we think dated back to a wedding present. CorningWare is supposed to be virtually indestructible, and I suppose forty-three years qualifies it as such, but when it falls from a high shelf onto a tile floor, it doesn't just break. It explodes.

Talk about your thousand points of light. Try a thousand shards of ceramic glass. 

Being the thoughtful husband that I am, I immediately grabbed a broom and started sweeping. 

Being the thoughtless idiot that I am, I did so barefoot. 

After an appropriate amount of cursing and hopping, I tweezed out dozens of shards, wiped the blood from my foot and the floor, applied antiseptic and a band-aide, slipped on shoes—I'm capable of learning from my mistakes—and continued sweeping. No big deal, I thought.

But my foot still hurt, so I dug in with a pin and tweezers and pulled out more glass, discovering that my sixty-five year-old body isn't made for close observation of the bottom of my foot.  My wife who, thankfully, doesn't like inflicting pain on me, thought it wiser to seek the assistance of a neighbor who happens to be a nurse. The fact that he is actually a geriatric nurse wasn't lost on me.

He made a house call, medical bag in hand, took a pickaxe to my foot, and extracted at least eight more ceramic shards, some as big as a baseball. This procedure was performed with a single anesthesia—Scotch, straight up.

A week later, I still hurt. My wife forced me to see our family physician. Donning a headlight and magnifying glass, the doctor burrowed into my foot, and mined a few more shards, without even offering me a drink. Bandaged, with a prescription for antibiotics, I limped off, thinking that would be the last of it.

A week later, still hobbling, my doctor advised me to see a podiatrist, who x-rayed my foot and declared with a perfect straight face, "It's what I suspected. Glass doesn't show up on x-rays." She proceeded to excavate up to my knee, pulled out a few more shards, flushed the wound, and sent me home. Now I hurt far worse than ever. Scotch helped.

Two weeks later, still hurting, I returned to the podiatrist. She scraped away the callous that had formed and shouted, "Eureka," displaying still another piece—this one the size of a baseball bat—and declared me fixed. Again.

Now I'm almost walking normally, probably because my wallet is so much lighter from all the doctor visits and "surgeries."

What have I learned from all this? If my wife breaks a dish, let her clean it up. She's smart enough to dress appropriately.

Also, Scotch makes an excellent anesthetic.

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