Chris Hardie: Nailing it can be really painful

Chris Hardie: Nailing it can be really painful

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I really got nailed last week, and I have no one to blame but myself.

No, I did not engage in any nefarious criminal activity, but it was still my own fault. At least I paid the price for my own malfeasance.

If you didn’t know by now, I am sort of a packrat.

I am loathe to throw away any spare pieces of lumber as you never know when you may need it for another project. Rummaging through my pile looking for a piece of plywood or a 2-by-4 beats having to make a special trip to the lumber yard.

I was walking past my pile, which mainly resides in an old feed bin in the hay loft — I say mainly because there is a little spillage — carrying two bales when I stepped on a piece of cardboard that is also being saved for some sort of strategic purpose for the life of me I can’t recall.

Underneath the cardboard was a piece of oak window trim that I had saved. I’ve stepped on that piece of trim many times. Only this time I stepped on the wrong spot.

Two nails protruding from the trim drove through the fecal-covered bottom of my rubber barn boots through my sock and into the pad of my left foot just below my toes. I instantly reacted with a simultaneous colorful metaphor and pulling my foot off the spikes.

I knew the situation was bad. The nails didn’t look too dirty, but there were plenty of germs and bacteria on and in my boot that were now inside of my foot.

I had really stepped into it this time.

A closer examination was needed but the damage was done. The animals needed feeding, so I finished up my chores, wincing with every left-foot step.

Inside the house, I pulled off the boot and my bloody sock and gently soaked the foot in the tub, applying a liberal dose of antiseptic to the wounds. I knew the outside was clean, but inside?

My wife, Sherry, said I should go to the emergency room immediately and get a tetanus shot. I said I thought I had an up-to-date shot and that I’d check in the morning. says tetanus is a disease caused by a toxin made by spores of the bacteria Clostridium tetani which is found in soil, dust and animal feces — which would otherwise describe the sole of my boot. When these spores enter a deep flesh wound they can grow into a bacteria that creates the toxin tetanospasmin.

Signs of tetanus include spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, stiffness of the neck, body spasms, fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure and rapid heart rate.

I started to get nervous when I began feeling all of these symptoms while watching TV. Then I realized it was only my reaction to watching the Democratic presidential debate.

We vaccinate our sheep every year with a vaccine called CDT that protects against tetanus and overeating disease. Sounds like something that might be beneficial to me in a couple of ways.

I knew tetanus was good for 10 years, and I was pretty sure I was covered. But it’s not like I carry a tetanus coverage card in my wallet. Although come to think of it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Maybe Flo could add that to my auto insurance coverage — comprehensive, collision, towing and Tdap.

That night I had difficulty sleeping because of my throbbing foot. I got out of bed and grabbed an ice sleeve that we use to chill wine bottles and put it over my foot. The bottle was already empty.

Did you know that the foot and ankle contains 26 bones (one quarter of all the bones in your body), 33 joints, more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments and a network of blood vessels, nerves, skin and soft tissue?

Nope, neither did I, but that’s what said when I looked up foot pain.

A visit to the clinic the next day confirmed that there were no broken bones, but I was put on a course of strong antibiotics and told to stay off my feet for a few days or at least keep the foot elevated.

I did my best to comply with doctor’s orders, and the foot is slowly starting to feel better. But I’m not out of the woods yet. The average incubation period is a week to 10 days, but signs and symptoms of tetanus can appear up to several weeks after tetanus bacteria enter the body.

I should probably avoid exposing myself to any politics just to be safe.


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