One night at our cabin in the woods, Hubby was getting Grayson ready for bed. He peeled off his sweaty little socks and announced, "Honey, G has a case of the black toe." I went in for a look and wouldn't you know, kid totally had a black toe. The rest of the toes were fine and flesh toned. Big toe? All charcoal with a hint of red dye No. 5.
"Does it hurt?" No.
"Is it a bruise?" Not really.
"Does it hurt?" We covered that already Mom and still, no.
"Hmm, weird. Let me get a washcloth."
Wouldn't wipe off.
"Let me get some soap."
Not coming off in the slightest.
"Let me get some more soap with bleach."
Dude still had one very black toe.
We looked at each other with a giant question mark surfing over our heads and decided we would get it checked out first thing in the morning if that big toe was indeed still jet black.
All night long I tossed and turned with haunting parental thoughts scratching at my mind: What causes such a thing? Looks like a bruise but doesn't hurt? How it is the rest of the toes are completely normal and this one is dark as soot? Why doesn't it hurt? Why won't it wipe off? What the $#&@?
So we took him to the ER next day. For a black toe.
"Hmm. Weird," said the nurse.
"That's odd," said Doctor Number One.
"Does it hurt?" asked Doctor Number Two.
After three hours in the ER waiting and watching Transformers, waiting and watching Transformers two doctors finally pulled the curtain to announce that what Grayson had was a discoloration in his great toe due to unknown factors. The End.
Then they proceeded to warn us about other possible random bruising to look for should this be a precursor for horrible things to come. Petechiae they called it. They never said the "C" word. They never gave anything super scary a name at all, in fact. They simply alluded and gave us things to look out for and what would be a sign for other "worse" things to come, ..."not that they will, mind you, just a possibility since we cannot determine the origin of his discoloration."
It was a very quiet ride back home.
That was a week ago. Luck had us solid in her arms though and two nights ago we went swimming in a chlorinated pool and voila ~ most of the black is now gone! There is only a shadow of it left on the upper pad but certainly enough has been sloughed off that we both feel it must have been dye or stain of some sort. Mr. Black Toe must've stuck that little digit somewhere in the cabin only he, the centipedes, and the guilty grease spot know about. Truth be told, Hubby and I both slept soundly for the first time in days that night. No uneasy thoughts about medical unknowns gnawing at the back of our thoughts, making us worried and preoccupied.
There is one problem with being lucky, however. When luck chooses you, she ignores someone else altogether and they are left somewhere in their kitchen, stunned by horrific news and in shock while stirring macaroni noodles for dinner. There is no good fortune to make things okay. There is no luck to help her process platelet numbers and what it all means. There is no chlorinated pool for her baby to slough off what mystery ails her.
In this case, that someone else is a very good friend of mine. A very dear friend - someone I have known since elementary school - who I call to complain to when my kids annoy me. She is someone I turn to when I need a great laugh because her timing is perfect and her sense of humor so dry you could strike a match on her pregnant pauses alone. She always remembers to ask about Sadie before we hang up. This woman and I cuss like sailors to each other and feign shock when our babies mimic our foul mouths.
This close friend and fellow mom just learned her baby has a condition that will not get better with medication. And as if that's not inconceivable enough, it gets more complicated. Her little beautiful happy baby will not get better at all unless her other older child is a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant. Her new baby's life depends on her first born. It is enough to make you need a paper bag and a sedative if you have a heart. A shot of gin if you do not.
As her friend and as a mom of the same aged children, I am speechless. I had a few days of needless worry about my son's weird dark toe. She has had weeks and weeks of stress and real worry about tests leading up to the worst news of her life.
I talked with her last night. She is amazing and strong but very much still in shock. She was comforting me and telling me not to worry because the doctors are all so good. I was muddy and she was clairvoyant. She snapped me from my grief by saying something that gave me the power to help her. She says she needs prayers, or energy, or anything positive for her baby girl right now. That, I am all over. Prayers, good energy, positive ju-ju, you got it! I think I can do even better. Will you help me? Even if you don't believe in God but do believe in energy, then please pause long enough to send your good energy to her and her children. And if you are so inclined, kindly leave a comment stating where you are in this world (as in state, coast, planet, whatever) and a short message saying her babies are in your thoughts. I will send them all for her to read when she is ready and in need of others' strength. We may not be able to heal her baby but we can fortify her heart for the impossible decisions facing her and her family. An unthinkable mountain to climb has to be easier with a village of people carrying her high on the shoulders of our thoughts, don't you think?
There is power in a collective heart, I just know it.
For her, there has to be.
Thank you for reading, commenting, and pausing long enough to send wishes to someone who is close to my heart and if I had to guess, probably yours now too.