Sweet Gum Balls Are My Enemy.

Ok, so I broke my left foot by stepping on sweet gum balls from a sweet gum tree in a park.  With thousands of people around me. Seriously, thousands.

Hubby and I went on an official date on Friday for the first time in, jeepers, 4, 5 months. There’s a new food truck Friday event at a local park.  Well, new to us.  We were so excited to (a) go on a genuine date, (b) finally be experiencing the food truck rage in real life, not just watching it on tv, (c) be outside enjoying the gorgeous spring weather, (d) be surrounded by so many cool, hip people that were just there enjoying themselves, eating great food, drinking good beverages, and listening to fabulous music provided with no cover charge.  It was excellent.  HUGE queues at each food truck.  Hubby’s back was still achy from doing too much heavy lifting and yard work the previous weekend.  I kindly offered to go to the beverage tent to get us something to wet our whistles while he held our spot.  He asked if I was sure, since I’d be exposing myself to possible fragrances that had the potential to make my fragrance sensitivity rear it’s ugly head.  I was feeling brave and said sure, heading off with a smile and on a mission.

LOADS of sweet gum balls littered the uneven grounds of the park.  Remember that I said there were thousands of people there?  It was seriously challenging getting through the crowd, while keeping an eye on said gum balls and uneven ground.  I looked up to scope out the best way to the beverage tents.  Oooops—a small shallow channel, filled with those damn hard, rolly, pokey sweet gum balls missed my observation skills which I’ve honed over the years due to skinny ankles that like to get twisted as I walk. And in I stepped.  As my foot twisted with excruciating pain, I thought I heard some snaps or cracks.  But surely that was just the gum balls.  (nope.)

Here’s an amazing feat; I DIDN’T FALL!  Instead I grabbed the arm of a lovely young woman who looked at me with great shock.  I realized how hard I’d grabbed her, let go, and almost fell from the pain I was experiencing.  I apologized for grabbing her and she told me to “just hang on!  Just hang on until you don’t need me!!”  I KNOW this young woman has bruises in the shape of my fingers on her upper arm.  But she was more worried about me and was smiling and sending good juju as I grimaced in pain.  A young man was on the other side of me, asking if I’d broken my foot. “I don’t know yet,” I responded through clenched teeth.  “Can you step on it?” “I don’t know yet–let me work through the pain first.”  Some deep breathing, calming thoughts… yes, I could put weight on it, but not fully.  He offered his shoulder to hold on to.  He asked where I was going; my response was that I WAS going to get beverages, but now needed to head back to my husband.  I introduced myself, and he said his name was Tim.  His partner gazed at me as if, “Man, it happened again!”  Sorry, dude!  Sure glad Tim was there!

We headed to my hubby, who looked amazed that I was hobbling and hanging on to a muscular, handsome man’s shoulder.  I explained what happened and how Tim came to my rescue and how I just wanted to go home.  Nope, no hospital for me!  Surely I couldn’t walk on it if I’d broke it.  I sat on a bench where a man and his wife were taking a break between eating at different trucks.  He jumped up so I could put my foot up even though I said I didn’t need that much room.  They stayed with me almost the whole time it took Hubby to go to the other side of the park to get the car and then maneuver through the traffic and crowds to find me.  They seriously were trying to comfort me with stories and finding commonalities and other stuff to get my mind off the pain.  But a little voice in my head said I’d broken the bone extension off.  Nah.  Surely, I just sprained it.  But… Bone extension, you ask??

Three summers ago, I was headed out to the garage, excited to be taking our son to his first swim lesson of the year, to be followed by a poolside bbq at a friend’s house. I looked back over my shoulder into the kitchen to make sure I had gotten everything, misjudged the one and only step down to the cement garage floor, turned my foot sideways as I landed and heard the bone snap in my foot.  A-Go-Nee.  wowza pain.  Holy guacamole.  ER dr. said it was the cleanest break he’d ever seen, showing that I had really strong bones.  He couldn’t have CUT it that cleanly.  Yep, I’m from Wisconsin; land of the dairy cow.  I’m a certifiable cheesehead.  Made perfect sense.  Well, here’s the problem.  My strong bone healed beautifully.  However, it made too much bone.  I had an extension of bone sticking out the side of my foot like a little spur.  Had to get rid of some shoes that hit that spot and was told I could have it trimmed down if things became too painful.   Got on with life, always knowing immediately if a shoe would be work or not.  That’s the little tip I just had an inkling that I had broken off.  I couldn’t feel it through all of the swelling, but there was a LOT of swelling.

All weekend I had wrapped my foot, iced it, elevated it, didn’t do so good with resting it, and went to my podiatrist yesterday just to make sure I was ok.  I could walk on it.  BUT there it was on the x-ray, just a bit away from the bigger bone. Dr. wasn’t too concerned about that little piece of bone.  He’s worried about the tendon that attaches right at that point.  One of two major tendons in the foot.  Holy crappola.  I’m now wearing a boot cast, using two crutches, not allowed to walk on it, for three long weeks.  I’ll go back after those three weeks to see if there’s tendon damage, meaning surgery.  ohmygoodness.  Just because of stupid sweet gum balls.  Yep, I really hate sweet gum trees, even though they’re so pretty in the fall.  Their seeds suck.

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5 thoughts on “Sweet Gum Balls Are My Enemy.

  1. OoooH! I feel your pain! (What is a sweet gum ball tree? – I am in Australia and have never heard of one.) Hope you don’t have too much pain and your foot heals okay.

    It is so easy to have a fall. I slipped on wet cobblestones once and sprained my ankle really badly. I had to do physiotherapy for weeks so I could walk properly again. At least you will be able to pass the time with your blogging!

    Thanks for the follow and I am following you now. 🙂

    • Thanks for your sympathy, Maria! I’m in the U.S., in St. Louis, Missouri, so our worlds are VERY different! How awesome that we’ve connected through Zero to Hero!

      Sweet gums are enormous trees that are gorgeous in the fall, with beautiful orange and yellow-orange leaves. The downside is that they make these seedpods that are spheres, an inch or larger, some with massive spikes protecting the pod, and some just have little nubbins poking out. Whatever the size of the pod or the spikes, they’re treacherous to walk on and horrible to fall upon! Yowch! I’d google and post a pic if I knew how on here! lol! Still so much to learn…

      • Thanks for the information. I love trees and am fascinated to hear about a new tree that I didn’t know about. These trees sound lovely to look at but a shame about those treacherous seed pods!

    • Ugh… I am so sorry to hear this happened to you Nance.
      And for Maria, here is what those gumballs look like.

      We have ’em here in Texas, too. Nice shade trees but those little balls are pokey!

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