distal phalange

Piggy flies

So I was tripping happily down the stairs in my socks thinking about travel to faraway places when suddenly I was really tripping. My foot came off the stair and nosed into the tread below, toe first. The weight of my fuselage drove down on it.

White flash! Bratatat!

I caught the handrails to arrest a cartwheel.

Gnashing teeth! Arrgh!

A few hops later I was sitting at the bottom, fretting.

I had been training regularly, anticipating a vigorous summer. And now?

I don’t even want to look. And two days before I’m scheduled to fly. Stink!

I had to look. I inched the sock off.

Fortunately there were no digits pointing in odd directions like what happens when you are playing basketball and you look down at your hands after hearing that horrible pop! and discover a member of your squadron is out of formation.

One slips out of formation. Image from https://nara.getarchive.net/media/an-f-15-eagle-aircraft-breaks-out-of-formation-with-two-other-f-15s-while-participating-56607d. Accessed 6/5/2019.

One slips out of formation. Image from https://nara.getarchive.net/media/an-f-15-eagle-aircraft-breaks-out-of-formation-with-two-other-f-15s-while-participating-56607d. Accessed 6/5/2019.

Everyone seemed to be flying more or less in the same direction. That was good. But one wiggle of the big toe triggered an electric jolt. That was bad.

Two hours later, the doctor at the drive-by clinic confirmed it. My feet were dangling from the crinkly-paper table, the offended member already plumping like a ripe tomato.

She came into the room after studying the x-rays. Her eyebrows arched. “Your toe is broken. Distal phalange.”

I grimaced.

“Do you want to see it? Bring your phone. Most people like to take a picture.”

Curious, I slid off the table and hopped in pursuit. There was a monitor on the desk at the end of the hall. She flipped through a series of x-rays and pointed out the problem. I took a picture in order to be like most people.

A distal phalange in distress. There is something not-quite-right about seeing the insides of your own body.

A distal phalange in distress. There is something not-quite-right about seeing the insides of your own body.

Fortunately, she didn’t see any chips floating around or complications in the joint. She offered a bumper-shoe for protection and a shot for the pain. That was all. Well, that and time. “Four to six weeks to completely heal.” I politely refused and paid my bill.

Two days later my plump piggy was in full war paint: black, green, brown, and purple.

I inched my sock back over him and eased into a shoe. It was time to fly.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

Lewis Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter (1872)

A good landing. Image from https://www.ossett.net/pages/WW1_Air_Crash_Gedham_jpg.htm, accessed 6/7/2019.

A good landing. Image from https://www.ossett.net/pages/WW1_Air_Crash_Gedham_jpg.htm, accessed 6/7/2019.

I had a flight instructor who used to chirp: “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.” Does hopping away from one qualify?


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We walked and hobbled through the Old City of Nazareth today with travelers from Whitewater Crossing Christian Church in Cleves, Ohio. Along the way we met many friends, both new and old. It is such a delight to travel in good company!

Interesting in joining one of our future trips? See a list of planned excursions here or email me at markziese@gmail.com.