Uncle Buck and I headed back to Bennington this morning, grabbed breakfast, and then headed for the hospital. It was the quickest emergency room experience I’ve ever had. I didn’t even sit in the waiting room but was immediately whisked to an exam room, and the xray technician was already waiting for me before the nurse had finished taking my vitals. Once the xray was done, I had to wait a little bit for a doctor but I got to watch some tv while I waited.
The doctor came in and told me that my big toe was fractured. A toe seems like a small thing to be injured but the big toe actually plays a key part in balance, and trying to walk without using it is pretty difficult. There’s not much they can do except let it heal, no cast or anything. The doctor knew I was hiking the AT so she didn’t even try to tell me not to hike. Actually on the way to the hospital I had said to Uncle Buck that I wasn’t sure what I hoped to get out of the visit because they couldn’t do anything for me if it was broken except advise me not to hike and I’d just ignore that any way.
She did let me know I couldn’t make it worse though since the bone was still in line correctly. As long as I didn’t completely smash it into a rock again, I could stub it or whatever, and it would hurt, but it’d be fine. She advised as much rest as possible, with ice, elevation, and ibuprofen. I can’t ice it but I can stick it in streams at breaks. They also gave me a shoe to wear that keeps my foot from bending. I’ll have to see how that works on the trail but in town it’s just fine and doesn’t slow me down too much. I’m walking faster than without it since before I worried about bending my foot and hurting it.
I decided to take a zero today and get back on the trail tomorrow. I’ll see how fast I can hike but I expect to get used to it after a couple of days and hopefully speed up some again. If I’m not moving fast enough, I’m going to have to skip ahead in order to make it to Katahdin before October 15, and then go back and do the section I skipped after that. That’s not how I wanted to do my hike, but I’ll do whatever it takes to finish. This is not a show stopper.
Uncle Buck and I went to Manchester Center to hang out for the rest of the day. We were at the McDonald’s for most of it so saw all the hikers coming in. Eventually we ran over to the grocery store to grab something for dinner, ran into some more friends, and headed back to the trailhead for a campfire.