Behold a collection of toes.
At first glance, perhaps they appear entirely normal to you. Indeed, they are normal in almost all respects. There is the standard number, and they all point more or less in the correct direction. None are discolored or markedly misshapen. Each is blessed with a nail of its own, and they seem to go from big to small as one works from the inside outward.
But note the subtle finding. There is a wee bit more floor visible between the second and third toes on the right than on the left. The third toe on the right tends ever so very slightly more to starboard than it ought. A difference that is easy to miss, but nonetheless present. Yea, if a patient were to present with pain in the area of that toe, a vigilant examiner might note the finding as significant.
This particular set of toes belongs to an idiot. More specifically, they belong to me.
Several months ago, I was walking down our stairs wearing thick, fuzzy woolen socks. I have several pairs of this kind of winter sock, which I purchased at the Army surplus store because they are not only incredibly inexpensive, but also better than any other thick, woolen sock that I’ve found for cold weather. They are by no means fashionable, but they are very, very warm. What they are not good for, however, is traction on wooden stairs.
And so, out from under me went my feet and straight down onto my ass I fell. After a short period of swearing and walking off the pain, I recovered. Over the next few days, the expected soreness in my backside developed and resolved without incident.
What I had not appreciated at the time of the slip and fall, however, was that I had also struck my right foot against some lateral structure of the staircase. While not initially painful, as the soreness in my rump waned, the pain in my foot waxed. “Hmmmm,” thought I, “I wonder if I damaged something in my foot. Perhaps I even sustained a small fracture.”
And then I proceeded to run on it. Several times. Exactly like I would if there were no injury whatsoever. And entirely contrary to the advice I would give any patient who came in with a similar complaint and history.
Indeed, following any period of time when I went without running, the pain would improve. And then I would run again, and it would worsen. But run again I would, regardless. Every so often I would poke at the base of my intermittently painful toe and ponder my own foolishness, at no time actually modifying my behavior.
And then I noted that the toe was no longer pointing in quite the correct direction. Of late I have been buddy taping it to the properly-aligned toe to its left. It doesn’t hurt as much when I do that, and no longer throbs at its base when I run. (But of course I’m still running on it.) But as soon as the tape comes off at bedtime, off to starboard it drifts again.
Because I am an idiot who ignores the advice I would charge other people to dispense.
So that is, of course, this week’s Question — what stupid thing have you done that was not merely idiotic, but also contrary to what you would have advised others to do? Super bonus points for behavior that contradicts advice you would dole out in your professional capacity and/or that you knew better than to do but did anyway.