Audrey trudged up the two flights of stairs to her apartment that night completely exhausted. Her arms were piled high with mail, and she felt as though she would drop it up each step along the way. Clinging tightly to the loose envelopes, she dug into her purse for the keys to the door. Just as she pulled them out, the envelopes flew out of her clenched hands and scattered across the front deck, leaving a long trail of unopened mail along the pathway. She shoved the door open and stared scooping the post up into her purse.
She struggled in the door, dropped the piles of mail off onto the table, and headed straight for the bedroom. A faint ‘ding’ sounded in the distance and she hesitated. She didn’t want to have to deal with emails now. She’d had to put up with them all day long! Still, she knew that there was a chance it could be important. She dug the phone out of the pocket of her jacket and turned it on while she was thinking about it. Then she went over and wiggled the mouse to get rid of the screen saver on the computer. The email was as she suspected – an urgent one.
Two minutes into the reply of the email, her mobile phone rang.
The voice on the other end was of a work contact on the East Coast. Paul was in a panic about something and needed her help. The other phone rang and she put Paul on hold to answer it. Within minutes, she had both headsets to both phones up to both ears, and her hands pecking away at the keys. Feverishly typing, answering questions, and coming up with a few of her own for the callers, Audrey started to feel the strain of the day. She’d been on the computer all day! The sun had set, the neighbors had finished cooking dinner from the smell in the neighborhood, and the little kids were heading to bed. It was around 8:30 at night when finally she closed the lid to the computer and hung up the phones.
Instantly the pressures and stresses of the day melted off like ice in the hot sun. Audrey was relaxed and smiling again. She got up to go fetch a glass of water for herself and set the phone down on the table top. On her way out past the bed, she stubbed her toe so hard that the whole bed shook! Audrey yelled out in frustration and went down to her knees. She immediately stood up, said a few expletives, and limped on into the kitchen.
She poured a glass of water and in the process accidentally spilled a bit on the floor. When she looked down to see where it had landed and how much she needed to wipe up, she saw something that caught her eye. There was a red spot on the floor. It looked like blood! Next to it was another. And another just beyond that. Finally she looked down at her foot. Her small toe was covered in blood.
Amused, she grabbed at a paper towel and started to mop up the blood on her foot, then the drops on the floor. She wasn’t thinking about her toe hurting since she so often stubbed it on something random. She was always telling people that she was the biggest klutz she had ever known.
It wasn’t until she sat down to inspect the damage that it started to sink in that perhaps she had done more harm than she thought. She found that her toe was not only swelling up, but it had a nasty gash on the underside of it and there was an odd lump on the outside of her foot. Suddenly it started to sink in that she might have broken her toe!
On further inspection, she saw that the nasty gash wasn’t just a deep wound. It was bleeding pretty bad, but she could still see deep enough into the wound to know it went to the bone, most likely. She had split her foot wide open! The odd lump, she started to guess, was probably the bone, snapped in two and poking at the skin.
The peroxide didn’t even hurt as much as she remembered it hurting when she was a kid. It’s just fizzled and foamed up a bit, but that was about all it did. Then she wrapped it up in a soft cloth and put some ice on it to stop the swelling. It was already about twice its normal size.
The strain of the day was starting to wear at Audrey finally and sleep was starting to force its way into her eyes. The pain was starting to subside after taking a couple of mild pain killers, and she was finally ready for bed. She doubted even the throbbing would keep her up at this point. She propped a couple of pillows up under her foot, placed the bag of ice back over her toe, and settled in for a long night.
Somehow Audrey managed to sleep through the night. She awoke in the morning to the sound of birds chirping outside her window. The early morning streets were quiet, since most of the people had already rushed off to work. It was a good feeling, getting to sleep in an extra half an hour. The doctors office would be open in a bit, so she did need to climb out of bed now.
The pillows propped up under her foot were in disarray, but they had done their job. Her foot wasn’t throbbing at the moment, and the cloth she had wrapped around the end of her foot had stayed in place all through the night as well. She’d never had a more uncomfortable sleeping position before. The only thing she could figure was that the glass of scotch she gulped down just before the peroxide hit her open wound was what helped her rest. Still, she was tired. The pain had haunted her dreams and left her feeling almost as tired when she woke up as she did before heading to bed. Audrey was certain she was moaning in her sleep.
She stood up and immediately sat back down under the pain. She couldn’t believe how incredibly sore her foot was! Carefully, Audrey unwrapped the cloth around her foot to inspect the damage. The bleeding had apparently never stopped all night and the cloth was stained with fresh red blood. A nasty bruise had started to form around the outside of her foot, surrounding the injured toe. Dried blood was caked in between her last two toes and all around the swollen knuckle of her small toe. She sighed and stood up again. Audrey wrapped her injury up in a fresh cloth and then stuck the entire appendage inside the largest sock she could find. Unfortunately it was bright red, not exactly discrete. Then she put on a long skirt since she couldn’t imagine pulling her usual jeans on over her injury. The tank top and sweater were next, and then she was out the door. She wasn’t looking forward to driving like this.
She made her way down the two flights of stairs carefully, clutching tightly to the banister the whole way. She knew several people who would have been happy to drop everything they were doing to take her to the hospital, but she was too independent for that. Besides, it was going to be the first time she had ever gone to the doctor’s office alone. For someone so independent, it was about time that happened!
Pressing down on the clutch with her injured foot was pure torture! She wanted to cry out in pain, but instead bit her lip, put her car in gear, and backed out of her parking spot. Then she pressed in the clutch again, gritted her teeth, and shifted into first gear.
By the time she made it to the doctor’s office, Audrey was a pro at using nothing but her big toe on the clutch. The bright red sock was keeping her open wound safe and dry. When she walked into the lobby of the office though, suddenly she felt incredibly self-conscious. Everyone seemed to be staring directly at her bright red sock.
Audrey being Audrey decided to make the best of the situation. She limped up to the nurse at the counter and gave her the biggest smile she could.
“Hi. I don’t have an appointment, but I’m damaged and need to be fixed.” The nurse smiled at her.
“What seems to be the trouble?”
“I think I broke my toe.” The nurse suddenly looked horrified. She signed Audrey in to the waiting list, and within ten minutes called her into the back. Audrey didn’t know why she was getting the star treatment, but she certainly wasn’t going to complain.
The nurse took her blood pressure as usual, asked her approximately what she weighed since she couldn’t stand on the scale, and then had her go into the X-ray room. They ran a scan of three shots in order to see the bones in her toe at every angle, and then led her into a private room.
The nurse told Audrey that she would go and inform the doctor that she was there, and Audrey settled in for the customary long wait. The nurse had left the door open, so there was plenty to watch and see while she waited.
A tall blonde man in a blue floral print shirt walked up to the nurses station. He glanced around and saw Audrey sitting there, then went back to the nurses. Suddenly, it was as though something had registered in his mind, he turned to look at Audrey again. He smiled at her, and as any lady would, she smiled back and nodded.
After a minute, he finished up what he was saying to the nurses and came over to see Audrey. He stood in the doorway a moment.
“Hi there. I’m sorry, but I’m normally not this rude.”
“Rude? What do you mean?” Audrey put on her best innocent face. She knew exactly what he meant. She had caught him staring!
“Well, normally I don’t stare at someone so hard, but you have the most beautiful hair, and gorgeous eyes. I could stare at them all day.” He smiled a most charming smile at Audrey. Audrey blushed a bit and smiled back. The man then turned around and put on a white lab coat.
The Doctor was in!!!