My Little Axe-ident

in homesteading •  last year

What I am about to share with you is not my proudest moment, but it happened and I think there's a lesson here so I'm gonna share it nonetheless. Last Saturday I nearly cut my toe off with an axe. The blade went through the bone and my pinkie toe was literally hanging by the backskin. The funny thing is I wasn't even cutting anything and this whole ordeal could've been avoided had I been paying attention...but we'll get to that in a bit.

DISCLAIMER: There will be photos of my wound below so if that sort of thing doesn't sit well with you read no further.

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How it Happened

It was Saturday afternoon and my wife had just put the little guy down for a nap. We had been busy the past two days trying to get everything ready to host a cookout on the farm for Odin's first birthday. We were in the process of clearing up some space in the barn for the rabbit cages and I went to move an axe that was sitting by the door. Grabbing it with one hand, I half-hazardly swung it down towards a stump to my right but missed and came down on my foot. I turned to my wife. "I think I just cut my toe off."

She thought I was kidding until I took my boot off revealing a deep and bloody gash. "Oh my God, we have to go to the hospital NOW!" She loaded me into Odin's wagon and pulled me two-hundred yards uphill to my truck, ran in to get the baby, grabbed some paper towels and first aid bandages, and took off for the hospital in record time. She even had the foresight to grab me a beer from the fridge.

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The blood had started to spurt like a little sprinkler. I grabbed a wad of paper towels and pressed it to my little toe while hoisting my foot up on the dash. We live out in the country and it takes about fifteen minutes of winding road to get anywhere. It had just rained and the pavement was slick. "Easy now Sweetie, just get us there in one piece." I felt pretty calm and was more or less frustrated with myself for now having to deal with this.

We made it to the hospital in around 45 minutes. They bandaged it up and ran some X-rays which revealed a broken bone. As the doctor was stitching me up I asked him if they would've re-attached it had it come completely off. "No, not for a little toe. A big toe maybe."

A Hard Lesson Learned

So what's the lesson here? When something like this happens I always try and find the silver lining and with this one I was having a tough time. All I could think of was how much time we lost by having to go to the hospital and how much was left to do on the farm before the party. Not to mention all the lost time that will occur over the next few weeks as I recover from my injury. However I must say, something about this injury has put me in a more zen state of mind. Even as my foot was gushing blood there was a certain calm I felt and any anxiety I had about hosting a party the next day completely faded away. It was like I no longer had the mental bandwidth to worry about such things and so I didn't.

But what's the lesson here? I think it's just a sign that I need to slow down a bit and not worry so much. I feel like this past year has been an all-out sprint. Since we didn't have much money starting out there was an inherent rush to get to the point of economic viability as soon as possible. And even though we are there, we're not there by much and winter is coming. This has kept me in 5th gear trying to get everything done and in doing so I have the tendency to be thinking three or four steps ahead. When I went to move the axe, I wasn't thinking about moving the axe. I was thinking about what object I was gonna move next and thus barely looked at the stump when I swung it down.

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However what this injury has forced me to do is exactly what I needed to do, which is slow down and be present for the task at hand. I now move like an old man and as such, I must be efficient with my actions. Even the simple task of moving from one room to the next now takes immense effort and focus. My wife has been amazing through this whole ordeal as well as our wwoofer Sarah. Even our neighbors came by to lend a hand before the cookout and even though I couldn't move that well, the party was a hit.

Having this limitation has forced me to focus on what I can do and offer instruction to help others do the things I can't. This will be hard for me because i'm a very hands-on person who likes things done a certain way. I will have to let go of that these next couple of weeks and I'm not gonna lie, it'll be interesting to see how everything gets done. The doctor told me to stay off of it for a few weeks. That's not really possible for me as this farm is our only source of income. If we don't harvest and deliver, we don't get paid. So I've got a boot and a cheap pair of crutches and I'm gonna do my best to rest it, but like I said, it'll be interesting.

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Oh, man! That's s awful. But sometimes things happen for a reason and this being a sign that you need to go from fifth to maybe third gear. Things will get done albeit slower. This could have been so much worse...I always wear leather boots on the homestead. I have seen too many axe-idents not to wear them...

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That's so true. I feel like I'm moving in reverse now, but oh well. Definitely thankful I didn't completely hack the toe(s) off. Or my foot. Yeah a good pair of thick leather boots would go a long way.

Sorry to hear this, man can I ever sympathize with you! A couple years ago I decided to mow the grass on a hill. I slid off the seat slightly to the right side and put my right foot down then Damn! There was a hole in the blade cover and that's were my foot landed! Since I was on the seat the mower didn't shut off, I felt the blow then the pain. Broke my big toe and the two next to it, whacked the big toenail. It was very painful, but I was lucky my leather Merrels saved my foot. Put a gash it the shoe, but the blow is what got me otherwise half my foot might have been gone.
Take it easy and slowdown a bit. Let it heal you don't want complications like infection.🐓

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Wow that's intense! Makes my injury seem like nothing. Good thing you had a solid pair of boots. I was wearing these plastic rainboots from Way-Mart and the axe sliced through like butter. Do you have any trouble walking today? I'm thinking I probably won't have any feeling in this toe but that doesn't really bother me.

UUPS, that happens. I wish you all the best.

I learned this post.

@greenshiner Really very good post.

Keep safe..

so sorry dude! that looks scary. I hope whale power vote this, would help cover the cost!

speedy recovery soon and take good care next time!

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Thank you and same here. Definitely appreciate the support

slowing down a little bit prevent injury sometimes. Well Sir, there's so much lessons to learned .Thanks for sharing and I hope you'll be ok soon :)

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A couple of years ago my hubby did something similar. His was a small axe though. He kept stiring them in a high block of wood blade first and I'd said something about it a few times as caught and knocked them off myself before. His turn to knock it off and it landed pointed edge down in his big toe. I was out, miles away, at the time so he had to get himself to hospital. It severed some ligaments, so the toe doesn't move fully any more, but he now stores axes at ground level!