Dan's Toe Crushed in Freak Kayak Accident

Toe crushed by kayak On Saturday, Jennifer and I went for a nice kayak trip in the bay. After returning, we were carrying the first boat to the car when tragedy struck. The darn handle slipped out of my hand, and I dropped my end of the boat.

Unfortunately, the keel landed a direct hit on the nail of the big toe on my left foot, and I never saw my toe nail again.

Okay, so maybe it's not exactly a "freak" accident, but it was (and is) pretty freaky. First off, after the kayak thumped down on my toe I thought "oh... that can't be good" but it didn't really hurt. For about two seconds.

During those first few seconds, I just looked down at the bloody pulp that used to be my toe, and then the pain set in. Right about then, I noticed that there wasn't just blood on my toe, but in fact my Birkenstock was also filling with blood. So I took it off and Jennifer took it to the water and rinsed it out, while I squirted blood all over the parking lot. Luckily I had a bandanna in my pocket to make a tourniquet and stop the bleeding.

After arriving at home, I had a painful rinse in the bathtub, during which I think I saw a small piece of toenail go down the drain. I'm not sure what happened to the rest of the toe nail, but I think it must have gone flying off on first impact (probably in multiple directions). So, we put some gauze pads on, then wrapped it in fifty layers of gauze. I took some pills and hung out for a few hours with my foot elevated.

It was when I tried to get up and walk and the blood had saturated the fifty layers of gauze and pads and started pouring out on the floor that we decided to go to the hospital and get an expert opinion.

Two hours later, I had splattered blood all over the floor at the hospital, got a temporary dressing, got an x-ray, splattered some more blood, then got a fresh 50-layer dressing, and we were back home.

The bottom line is a decimated nail bed, and a broken toe bone. I should be able to wear a shoe on my left foot in 7-10 days (although wearing a shoe on the right foot only is pretty pointless, so I am barefoot for now), and the toe bone should be healed in 4-6 weeks. The toenail will be back in about a year, but apparently in a permanently deformed state. (Something to do with the one large furrow and two smaller furrows in the nail bed.)

Interestingly, the nurse who attended to me -- Caitlin, but I may be spelling that wrong -- turned out to be the girlfriend of Dave White, a famous paintball player from Barrie Paintball, who taught Jakob for a week at paintball camp. Too bad I won't be playing paintball for awhile. C'est la vie.

J. Daniel Clements | Photographs

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The CLEMENTS Family | Barrie, Ontario CANADA