Broke Your Fourth Metatarsal? My First Six Days…

When you break your foot, you suddenly have a lot of time. Therefore I’m going to chronicle what has happened to me so far. I know I’ve been Googling broken feet up the wazoo so maybe this will prove helpful to someone else in search of information.

Day One

Stepped backwards with my left foot into a one foot deep hole while gardening, about 3pm. Felt a very sharp pain and saw a blinding light. Crawled back indoors, removed shoe and sock and checked out how much I have to pay if I call an ambulance. Too much. No fun ambulance ride. Took some Ibuprofen, called boyfriend and then took a cab to the emergency room. Only way to get around was hopping on my good leg. Was given ice, X-rayed and told I had fractured my fourth metatarsal but bones were aligned well. Given one Dilaudid and a prescription for 20 more. Told to go home, wait for swelling to go down and purchase a walking cast and crutches.

Took cab home. Picked up a pair of crutches and filled prescription at pharmacy quickly before Dilaudid kicked in. Came home and was pleased with increased mobility on crutches. Completed minimum required farm chores, albeit very slowly and with difficulty. Mostly had to hop in order to carry food and water dishes. Iced foot for about one hour and kept it elevated. It was not particularly painful but that could have been the drugs. Packed it with a fresh comfrey leaf poultice which was left on overnight. Began taking one cod liver oil capsule per day as well as a dozen raw quail eggs. Also started up a daily, 20 minute oil pulling routine. Sleeping was uncomfortable and my foot kept twitching and waking me up with pain.

Day Two

The worst day. Totally exhausted. Could barely lift myself out of bed with my good leg and arms and upper body in extreme pain from using crutches. Broken foot not painful but beginning to swell. Still have not put weight on it, but it will bear the weight of my resting leg without discomfort. Washed off comfrey poultice and carefully exfoliated foot. Iced for 1 hour. Did practically nothing all day but sit with foot elevated. Took another Dilaudid and some Ibuprofen during the day which helped with overall body pain. Could not complete any farm chores and needed to enlist help. Could barely crutch anywhere as the underarm pain was too severe and good leg was too tired. Applied another comfrey poultice which was left on overnight. Sleeping was ok.

Day Three

Washed off poultice and exfoliated foot. With help, was taken to health food store and purchased alfalfa pills as well as a bone supplement which contains protein and a lot of vitamins and minerals, including horsetail, boron, vitamin K, curcumin, zinc, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. Began taking both every day. Still very sore and tired but foot does not hurt. It has swelled up to twice its normal size and is beginning to turn blue. It still hurts too much to crutch very far, it chafes and my arms are tired. Stopped taking any Dilaudid or Ibuprofen as there was no pain anymore from the foot.

Also purchased a walking cast or aircast. Made my foot feel a lot more safe from accidental bumps and allowed me to more easily place it on the ground which made crutching about 20% easier. Still not putting any weight on the foot. Eating mostly vegetables and protein and not much else. Not too different from my usual diet. Drinking lots of water. Getting kind of depressed.

Day Four

Still cannot do much but body pain is subsiding slowly. I am already much stronger. Foot is very bruised but aircast is keeping swelling down. Crutching is still not fun due to chafing and I prefer to rest. Luckily I have help on this day and do not have to do chores.

Day Five

Another day similar to day four. The bruising is very evident. I do not do much all day but rest and I do not have any help. Once evening comes around I find I can walk ever so slightly on the aircast if I put most of my weight on the heel. I am overjoyed. I gingerly complete my farm chores in twice the normal time (two hours) but I’m very happy and there is minimal foot pain, more of an aching that slowly gets worse as I walk on it. Later that night there is more achiness. I apply another fresh comfrey poultice and rest.

Day Six

Washed off poultice and exfoliated foot. Foot is still a bit achy and I am reluctant to walk on it, but I can. Depression has lifted as I now know that I can complete chores around the house by myself, even if it’s very slow. Soaked foot in hot water and Epsom salt bath for 30 minutes. Swelling has reduced slightly but bruising is still evident. Walking definitely hurts, but it’s not a sharp pain, just an ache. Still trying to stay off of it as much as possible. Haven’t attempted farm chores yet today and may take some Ibuprofen to help me get through them.

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Day six bruising

Trials of a Farmer with a Broken Foot

It’s been four days since I broke my foot. In that time period I have hopped, rolled, crawled, balanced, hoisted, scooted and cried from frustration. Let me tell you, a broken foot is not just an major inconvenience, it is a total lifestyle change.

Do crutches look easy to use? They are for the first ten minutes. I learned fast that you are not supposed to bear weight under your armpits and trying to will hurt you and possibly cause nerve damage. This means all of the strength needs to come from your hands, arms, shoulders and chest. Areas of my body that could probably have used a little work. Well they’re getting it.

On day two of my break, the rest of my body hurt way worse than the busted foot, which felt fine other than being very swollen and bruised, even though I was not on painkillers. My good leg was a tight ball of stress, my abs were so wrecked it hurt to cough and I was totally exhausted. Many times I found myself hungry or thirsty but did not have the energy to crutch myself the thirty feet to the kitchen. Not to mention I couldn’t carry anything back to my desk where I was set up anyway. Any eating or drinking had to be done standing at the kitchen counter.

All of this is nothing considering I have a small farm to take care of by myself. Usually my daily chores take about an hour, and consist mainly of feeding and watering the rabbits and poultry and collecting eggs. Outdoor rabbit tractors also need to be moved to fresh grass daily. The first day I managed to get the chores done to my satisfaction, even though the tractors had to stay put. It took me almost two hours and felt like I had just run a marathon. The only way to carry things was to abandon crutches and hop on one foot. This of course also entails hopping back to wherever you left your crutches, trying not to trip and fall on your broken foot. Sigh. Much spillage and panting ensued.

My life before the broken foot was very full, I was busy all day long running back and forth. Did I mention I also have a small business to run in addition to the farm? Well I do. Luckily I can still sit at a desk and stand at a workbench for short periods so I can complete these tasks with some competence.

I am very lucky to have help. This past weekend my lovely boyfriend came over and did absolutely everything for me. He cleaned my entire house, did all my chores, took me out to eat when I was hungry and fetched me whatever I required. He set me up with jugs of water in each room and even left me his iPad so I could play my silly games in bed. But alas, dear boyfriend had to go back Sunday night for a week of working on the Mainland.

Just the thought of getting down the back steps today and tackling the barn chores now tires me out. They’ll have to get done one way or another but I’m not looking forward to it. Yesterday I bought an expensive walking cast and the doctor at the clinic seemed to think I could walk on it right away. “You can do away with those!” he said pointing to my crutches. I was relieved, but also skeptical. Turns out I just can’t put my full weight on it so soon and I don’t want to either. The cast still helps a lot though with keeping the foot rigid and keeping the swelling down.

The doctor at Emergency didn’t really give me any helpful info at all. He said I should get a walking cast when the swelling went down and gave me a Dilaudid. Then he told me I could go home and walked away even though I was sitting in a locked wheelchair in the middle of an empty waiting room. I had to twist around, depress the lock on the handle of the chair and concurrently inch myself backwards back to reception with my good foot where the nurse said “Wow you’re coordinated! Those chairs aren’t designed for patients to move themselves.” I told her I figured that out already. She looked at my bare foot and smiled. “Not broken after all?” I told her yes, it was broken but the doctor sent me home. She looked confused and said “He didn’t even give you a splint, nothing at all?” I said no and asked if she would please call me a cab.

Considering I pay about $85 a month for healthcare and haven’t been to the doctor in maybe 5 years, I was pretty underwhelmed by the service at the hospital. They didn’t even have a pair of crutches to loan me so I could get home.

Is it weird that I’ve been training my wolf mix to pick up household objects and hand them to me for the last few months? Was I anticipating this accident somehow? Too bad he can’t take out the garbage.

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Broken Foot

Well it finally happened. After 35 years of never breaking any bones I finally did today. I broke the fourth metatarsal bone in my left foot when I fell into a hole while gardening. A hole I had requested my lovely boyfriend to dig for me just days earlier. Silly me.

I remember a blinding flash of light in my brain when it happened, and I just knew I had fractured something. Until now the worst things I’ve ever really had are a sprained ankle or thumb and various concussions.

There’s no cast, because the doctor at the hospital said that the bone is aligned properly and broken feet swell too much. I am on crutches though, which seemed kind of fun at first until I tried doing my farm chores. You can’t actually carry anything very well while on crutches. Just doing a few simple things is totally exhausting. I can make do outside with a lot of effort and bit of spillage, but how am I supposed to carry things like plates of food or glasses full of liquid while inside? I’m not really sure.

Luckily I know my wonderful boyfriend will help me out as much as he can, but he also lives a two-hour ferry ride away. It will be very interesting to see how well I’ll be able to cope by myself in his absence. I’m very grateful that it was my left foot and not my right, so I can still drive myself around.

This was also a fantastic opportunity to try “knitbone”, another name for the comfrey plant. Comfrey contains something called allantoin, which is a cell proliferative. That means it makes cells regenerate faster. Good thing I have my own little patch beside the chicken coop! I hobbled down and got myself a nice big fresh leaf, minced it very finely and applied it as a poultice to the affected area. It has a nice cooling sensation and a little bit of a stinging feeling. I hope it helps me heal faster.

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The Myth of the Routine in Dogs

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Enjoying the water? Not the routine!

When most people research dogs, they read that dogs love routine. While this is certainly true, it doesn’t mean you have to become a slave to your dog. You need to make your dog’s love for routine work for you, like any good employer!

Dogs live to work. Whether it’s guarding your home, playing with your kids or making you laugh.

I’m an entrepreneur so I have a very variable work week. I could be up until 7am or up until 10pm. I don’t have a typical schedule at all compared to someone who works a consistent 9 to 5. I also have two large dogs and three cats (well currently nine). I used to worry about my pets adjusting to my ever changing schedule, but I soon realized that if I could adjust, then they could too. And it’s a lot less painful that you may think.

What people don’t realize that is that your dog loves any routine you can offer them, and everyone has a routine.

Even the most erratic schedule can become the “routine” for a dog. A dog does not need a routine schedule in the formal sense at all, and I even think it can be beneficial to avoid a set schedule with certain activities like feeding. If you feed your dog every day at the same time, you know what happens. Your dog knows exactly what time it is, they begin to salivate and remind you that mealtime is approaching… I find this annoying. I never really deal with this anymore after implementing my “chaos” training but I know what it’s like. Dogs can become very demanding in situations like these because they know they will be fed no matter what. Because it’s the schedule.

Try feeding your dog on a wholly erratic basis. Some days you should not feed your dog at all. This has the added benefit of not having your dog freak out and have a heart attack if they have to miss a meal for some reason. I often feed my large wolf mix a whole chicken carcass, feathers and everything. I will then usually not feed him the next day. As long as you monitor your dog’s weight closely, you should really only feed when your instincts and your dog tell you the dog looks thin and the dog seems hungry. Dogs and cats (like humans) do not benefit at all from being overfed.

So relax about worrying your new dog will not fit into your routine. It’s possible they truly may not, but if you do your due diligence as a responsible pet owner, it’s more likely your furry friend will adapt to your schedule like a furry chameleon.

Kitten Update

The kittens are now almost six weeks old. It’s hard to imagine that some people adopt out kittens at this age. Sure they’re eating solid food but they’re definitely still nursing. Looking at them, I’m pretty sure my current three adult cats were also six weeks old when I got them even though they were listed at eight weeks. They have a few problems which I think must result from being removed so young even though they’re awesome.

So far these kittens have been fed exclusively on a homemade raw diet, and they love it. The momma cat came to us with chronic diarrhea which cleared up almost right away after switching to raw, and she loves it too. Especially the rabbit! I’ll be posting my methods and recipe soon.

Here are four of the beautiful five. The creamy peach kitten refused to venture into the sunbeam today so he didn’t get his picture taken.

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Tortoiseshell girl. This tiny lady has been following me around for weeks now.

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Ginger tabby boy. This is the crybaby of the bunch, I think he was the runt. He is also the one who likes cuddling in laps the best.

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Fluffy boy, tabby mix. This kitten is like a rag doll, he is silly and floppy.

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This is Moss, the tuxedo boy with a Manx tail. He’s the chunkiest of the bunch and has some very funny expressions.

I want to keep all the kittens, what should I do?!

Rabbit Breakfast Sausage

DSC_0001This recipe is a simple one, adapted from various versions found online. It also makes a delicious rabbit burger, the spices are subtle and accentuate the natural flavor of the meat. Although there is Tabasco and cayenne added, there is no discernible heat.

Rabbit Breakfast Sausage

-Ground leg, arm and belly flap meat from 3 young rabbits (about 4 lbs.)
-1T brown sugar
-1T salt
-1 tsp. each paprika, pepper, ground sage, thyme, Tabasco sauce
-1/2 tsp. each cinnamon, garlic powder
-1/4 tsp. cayenne

Mix everything together well and form into patties. Cook on medium heat in a little bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes per side depending on thickness. I like to serve it with Pineapple-Habanero sauce from Costco. Enjoy!

Respecting Rabbit Claws

DSC_0002I keep telling myself that I will no longer be maimed by my rabbits.

I keep thinking I will always remember to wear gloves, I will always have long sleeves on, I will always have a thick shirt on. These are the areas the rabbits will get you. They will slash your wrists, arms and stomach as you try to transport them by the scruff or by cradling in your arms. A rabbit can kick its hind legs up behind its head and get you real good when you carry them by the scruff.

My arms and wrists are now a myriad of scars in various stages of healing. Usually I do remember to wear safety gear but sometimes I get an urge to move a rabbit right away who I think will be nice about it. All it takes is one second of hysteria though, something rabbits are all too prone to.

I remember a story told to me last year by a veteran rabbit raiser at a rabbit show. They once had an incident where a man holding a Flemish Giant in his arms was disemboweled by the kicking hind legs when the rabbit started to panic. His intestines spilled out and he was rushed to surgery, where he barely survived.

Yesterday I was reminded again that although my rabbits have never bitten me, their claws are not to be underestimated. Moving a Blue Rex doe for breeding earned me a deep wound in my left palm which makes chores a little more difficult. Rabbit claws will slice you right open like a scalpel. I try not to take it too personally.