The Old Geezer: On your toes…

Quite often these days, we read, or hear, about the wonderful advances they have made with prosthetics. The loss of a limb can be dealt with in dramatic fashion and the recipient can live a pretty normal life. However, the plight of an acquaintance with the loss of part of his body gives me pause to consider what it might mean to him.

Walt Trandum

By Walt Tradum

My friend, for various reasons, had to have his big toe amputated. He tells me that there was very little pain involved and he is now in the recovery stage and is managing to get around with the aid of some wheeled devices.

You know that all of our bodies have those four limbs with small devices called fingers and toes enabling us to do just about everything. I had a friend who had lost half of one of his fingers, and when we were learning sign language, I told the deaf instructor that I thought my friend might be stuttering when he signed. The teacher told me that it wasn’t true — he was talking with a lisp!

When you think of your fingers, you know that each one of them has a name. I heard it explained that the little finger was your “class finger” that you extended when sipping tea. The next one is your ring finger with no other explanation necessary. Your middle finger is really the one that gives you the most pleasure and I will explain it later. Your pointing finger has been called your “important finger” you use it to point at things and use it to emphasize your statements. Your thumb is your “saving finger” that you can use to get a free ride somewhere. That middle finger is the one you use to push the cash register key and that is how you make your money!

Now, for the toes, you just have your big toe and your little toe and those in between. They all work to give you good balance and certainly they support you as you walk and run. They do come into life when used in certain ways. We are often told to “toe the line”. We are dressed properly from “head to toe.” Some of us may have “tip toed through the tulips!” You often hear of adversaries standing toe-to-toe.

Other thoughts about the big toe are how important it is in playing soccer or football. Surely, mountain and rock climbing would not be possible without that mighty big toe. Even wearing toeless shoes might not be possible if it wasn’t there. I do know that if you have some kind of accident and bang any one of your toes, you quickly find out that they are hooked up to every other part of your body. Those pain sensors are alive and well until we make ourselves numb all over.

I have never heard of anyone inventing or building a prosthesis to replace a toe, big or little, but maybe there is room for some work in that area.

Only those of us who have had one of our toes stomped on to the point that it no longer works can imagine how life would be with just one good toe to depend on! I guess, that the only really good thing in losing a toe is that there is one less to cause pain when involved in an accident. When I was a little kid I stepped on a nail and had some infection that needed medical attention. I know there was a lot of pain and it sure made having fun a hard thing to do.

Maybe the toes do rule the world