Accidents are part of farm life, but most of them are minor and I go on about my day. This month saw an odd spike in foot accidents – all seemed pretty major at the time but looking back I see the hilarious similarity.
First to go down: Darryl. Our male farm cat had recently gone for his neutering surgery (on Valentine’s Day no less) and become quite the cuddle bug. The other male cat that had been hanging around – whom I was calling Carl – really did not like Darryl. One Tuesday evening as I locked the hens in their coops for the night I heard a horrific shriek. I found Darryl huddled under a chair on a blood-spattered porch, Carl waiting in the wings (Maggie was nowhere to be found). His left hind foot was a mess – things were visible that should not have been – and my attempts to coax him to me were to no avail. It wasn’t until the next morning that I captured him – he was actually waiting for me when I returned home from weekly egg deliveries. We immediately took him to the vets at VCA Welborn who took amazing care of him. In just two weeks his foot was well enough for him to run free around the farm once more – I was fearful he’d lose it. Side note: Carl seems to be a truly feral cat and is no longer welcome on our property.
Next to fall: my sweet Willow. My forever pup is still learning the ropes of house life – she was dropped off on our driveway last fall and I instantly claimed her as mine but she has pre-us baggage. Her barking could get pretty shrill at times, but one Friday evening it seemed to take on a new tone. Turns out the dew claw on her front left paw had split – we knew it was terribly curved. Most likely it caught on a threshold or some netting we had spread in the backyard to help grass grow. Next thing we knew the nail had snapped off down to the quick and she was pretty painful. Thankfully we keep a stash of vet wrap for the animals, and her favorite aunt wrapped her sore paw. We couldn’t believe it when her barking stopped – it was instantaneous. We kept her foot wrapped for several days and she’s feeling much better now. She loves her auntie more than ever and even takes toys to her instead of me for evening playtime now!
Alas, I was the third to fall. My injuries seem to come when I’m exhausted and not thinking clearly, and this was no exception. I was moving an old clothesline pole away from the space I was laying out the new chicken garden plot. It was heavy due to block of concrete at the base, so I was dragging it uphill in slow bursts. Tired, I dropped the crossbar which landed on my left foot. I also didn’t realize that there were keyhole screw along the pole, not just on the end, and the sharp end of one when straight through my boot (I KNEW I should have splurged on steel-toed!). I realized immediately that this wasn’t something I could just brush off, so I tugged off the boot to see how bad it was. Sure, my foot hurt, but there wasn’t a huge gush of blood so I hobbled into the house. I called for my roommate – I knew it was bad enough that she’d be upset if I didn’t wake her – and assured her that my tetanus shot was still up to date before I took off my sock.
I got pretty lucky – the spike went between two toes and missed a ton of little bones. I cleaned it with alcohol, soaked it in Epsom salts, and used a sterilized pin to remove the little plug of boot that was embedded in the wound (that was pretty terrible). That vet wrap came in handy – I used it to keep gauze and bacitracin (triple antibiotic) on the wound. It’s healing pretty quickly – not as fast as Darryl’s foot, but he lazed about in a kennel for two weeks whilst I kept working. Those two toes may have been broken – they were definitely bruised – and if I’m on my feet too much then there is some swelling. Still – it could have been much, much worse.
Do you see the humor? All three of us suffered injuries to one of our left feet!
In closing – always make sure you’ve got your first aid kit stocked. And maybe splurge on steel-toed boots.