It really REALLY hurts when you stand on something sharp in bare feet. I know that sounds obvious, but unless you’ve done it lately, you won’t remember just how painful it is.
I was down at the beach with mum on the long weekend and excited that it was a nice day so I could wear shorts and no shoes. Of course, Mum is never excited when I don’t wear shoes…she’s always telling me I’ll cut myself or stub or my toe. I know she just says that because she cares, and because she’s pretty fearful about stuff, but I really wish she wouldn’t fuss so much. I reckon the more she worries, the more that bad stuff happens! I’m a kid – I’m supposed to get hurt and go barefoot. My Dad says it’s ‘character building.’
Anyway, of course I didn’t listen to her when she said to ‘at least put thongs on’ when I was scrambling over the rocks, and of course, that’s when it happened. OUCH! I don’t even know what it was that I got me, but it felt like fire burning up through my foot and leg. It hurt so badly it kind of made me collapse and fall over…and then I banged my elbow.
I think I must have stood on a piece of metal that was attached to some driftwood. It was the only sharp thing nearby I could see. It was rusty and jagged and looked like it might have come from a pirate’s ship. If I wasn’t in such pain it would have been really interesting to examine it more closely.
When I went down, Mum came running. She’d been at the other end of the cove we were exploring, but she took off like a rocket with Howie following closely behind, almost as soon as I hit the rocks. (How do Mum’s do that? Y’know, know when their kid is going to hurt themselves? Spooky.)
Anyway, she was fussing around me, checking out the cut, looking at my elbow, and turning over the piece of metal… all whilst Howie was licking my face. I guess that’s his way of helping to make me feel better, and I guess it’s because I always look after him when he gets hurt. She finally helped me up off the rock and said we had to go straight to the doctor. I really wondered what all the fuss was about but she seemed determined.
On the way back to the car my foot started swelling. It got so hot and felt so weird that I had to shut my eyes to make it go away. When we got to the doctor, Mum explained what had happened and showed the nurse the metal. I didn’t realise she had put it in her pocket when we were at the beach. She must have thought it was important. The doctor saw me straight away and asked Mum all the details. I was expecting him to look at my foot, but what he did next kind of shocked me. He called the nurse who came in within seconds, with a big ole needle and cotton ball. What??? Why did I need a needle for a cut foot? Apparently I hadn’t had my tetanus shot when I was supposed to in kindergarten. Who knows why not. Anyway, that meant I had to have one now! I didn’t even really know what ‘tetanus’ was, except that apparently if you step on something rusty, like a nail or piece of metal, you can get really sick if you don’t have the needle’s juice inside you. It’s something to do with your immune system and helping build up bits inside you that can fight illness. I can tell you this for sure, I was feeling pretty sick just thinking about that needle!
Long story short, I had to have the needle because the alternative wasn’t great (I was told that I could lose my foot if I didn’t have it – I think the doctor was just scaring me though…right?). So I just had to breathe deeply, close my eyes and hold mum’s hand. Turns out it wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be.
And I knew that I would now not have to work out how to be Australia’s first one-footed footy player.
(Immune System, p. 42, Animals, p.8, Fear is our worst enemy, p.28 – A for Attitude)