Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hand Grenade and Farmer Boy

Master Hand Grenade's best friend is known as Farmer Boy.  Hand Grenade and Farmer Boy have grown up together, and tackled many of life adventures as a team.  Hand Grenade has physical challenges that require him to work twice as hard as his friends to keep up and Farmer Boy is always the buddy that waits for him or helps him over fences or hauls him up trees.  Hand Grenade is an all-out Marine, a jar-head, a true warrior.  Farmer Boy is quiet, reserved, a farmer to the very core of his being.  They are a great team.

And, they have a history.  When the boys were about 12, they were out chopping wood.  I'm not entirely sure if they were chopping wood, or having axe throwing contests, but it had something to do with wood and axes.  Our families had just shared a wonderful meal, and the boys had excused themselves to go do "guy stuff", when Farmer Boy purposefully strode into the house and requested his older brother Sasquatchs' assistance.  Sasquatch heeded his brothers call and went outside, only to return with Hand Grenade cradled in his arms.

Blood was dripping from Hand Grenade's combat boot and the leather was completely cut through.  After freeing Hand Grenade's foot from the boot, we learned that an axe had sliced into his big toe.  There was blood everywhere, and the boot was garbage, but Hand Grenade was laughing and saying something to the effect of "Pain is weakness leaving your body".  Turns out that Farmer Boy had mistaken Hand Grenade's foot for a piece of wood (or something like that).

Nothing is generally done for a broken toe, so we just cleaned it well, wrapped it up, and got on with life.  Hand Grenade never complained about his toe hurting, we never dealt with infection and we generally never gave the incident another thought (except to periodically tease Farmer Boy about his wood chopping abilities!).  We never gave it another thought, that is, until about 3 months ago, when Hand Grenade took the rare opportunity to walk through the house bare foot.  His foot was deformed!  His toe pulled up at the knuckle in an almost grotesque manner!  When I asked if it bothered him, he said, "Naw, doesn't bug me at all".  I said good, because if it did they would have to re-break the toe and set it correctly.

The newly fixed toe

And then, about a month ago, Hand Grenade started complaining that his toe was rubbing on the top of all of his shoes.  He was getting blisters and his toe needed to be dealt with.  We took him to the doctor, expecting an x-ray and a date to have his toe re-broken and set (Farmer Boy even offered to do the re-breaking so that we could save on medical expenses -such a nice boy!).  You can imagine our surprise when the x-rays came back with no sign of a broken toe.

Young Master Hand Grenade had not broken his toe.  He had severed the tendon.  The reason that the knuckle in his toe was pulling up was that the tendon was pulling it back toward his foot!  And to top that off, the tendon could not be repaired.  The injury was too old to properly fix his foot.

After much discussion, we decided to have the bones in his toe fused.  They would go in, drill a hole in the bones and put a screw through the end of his toe so that as he continued to grow, the bones in his toe would fuse together.  In doing that, the tendon would not be able to continue to pull back and cause problems with his shoes.
Convalescing in our room
On Monday, Master Hand Grenade had surgery.  He now has a screw and a pin in his big toe.  The pin should come out in six weeks, but the screw won't be taken out for years (if ever).  Farmer Boy was the first person here to see Hand Grenade after surgery.  He reminded Hand Grenade that "pain is weakness leaving your body".

This is the stuff of boyhood.  These boys are walking side by side on their way to manhood.  As a mom, I can think of none better than Farmer Boy to walk this walk with Hand Grenade.  We are blessed beyond measure.


  1. Well, I'm not sure "pain is weakness leaving your body" but I am sure his foot will benefit from the repair. I hope a stiff big toe doesn't impact his ability to walk. Big toes are important!

    I think pain is the body's way of saying, "hey, something isn't right - fix it, change it, or suffer the consequences." I think he is now experiencing some of the consequences.

    May your son have a successful and speedy recovery.

    NoCal Gal

  2. Wow, so glad to hear that he's on the mend.

    It's stories like these that always make me wonder, "What would we do in that situation if modern medicine weren't available?" I don't enjoy thinking about it, but it does often lead to some interesting discussions.

  3. Praying Hand Grenade makes a full recovery and that his surgery will permanently fix the problem. He truly is a lucky young man to have a friend like Farmer Boy. :)

  4. "pain is weakness leaving your body" is a logo printed on marine corps t-shirts basically implying that a marine can work through any discomfort in order to meet their mission. of course, most tough marines won't admit until later in life that sometimes that pain can be almost unbearable and will catch up with them later in form of arthritis and other bone and joint problems. big toes are important...but not bent up bent toes...

  5. What a great story of friendship. It brings back memories! I am sometimes amazed that I and my friends lived through some of the things we did. But we did, and we learned, and are the better for it.

    Bill Smith

  6. Sounds like boys, all right! :) I remember when my sons were young and always having some sort of physical competition/combat, etc. One day the younger boy came running into the house being chased by his older brother. He slammed the door behind him, and brother ran smack into it, shattering a pane of glass in the door. A piece of the glass fell and stabbed the younger brother in the front. Bled like a stuck hog! It was at that point I decided to take EMT training (which I did) so that when things like that happened in the future I knew how best to handle it on our own. LOL

  7. It is great to hear of young men being young men and not sissy's. Pain is not fun, but it is also nice to hear of young men who aren't whiners. How awesome for your son to have such a wonderful young man to grow up with. That is such a blessing. Praying that he recovers quickly and is back at growing in strength and in wisdom from God.