Well, I finally decided that the time had come for this “barefoot girl with cheek” to visit a podiatrist. My left foot has been giving me some problems for a while, and it was becoming more and more critical for me to do something about it. So I got a recommendation for a local Dr. from one of my fellow church choir members (you can always trust an alto!), and made an appointment for yesterday afternoon. I am, actually, the original “barefoot girl.” I would rather walk in the snow or across a gravel drive barefoot than put shoes on. There is a very simple reason for this…(besides having developed pretty severe arthritis in my feet over the years, and multiple surgeries on my left leg causing circulatory problems) I have feet for which no shoes have EVER been mass-marketed. I mean, I can’t just walk into a department store or a shoe store and walk out (having paid for them) with a pair of lovely, comfortable, well-fitting shoes. NO! I can walk into a department store or a shoe store, (and having reluctantly paid for them), walk out with a pair of ugly, uncomfortable, ill-fitting shoes, which is what I have had to do for most of my adulthood! So you can understand why going barefoot is a way of life for me. It is the only comfortable way for me to walk, except for once a long time ago:
I had to visit a Podiatrist and orthotics specialist, up in New England somewhere, when I was having a particularly difficult time walking. After designing and making the orthotic, he ordered some special shoes. Oh, let me tell you: They were lovely, just lovely! A light sort of tannish-cocoa brown color, lace-ups. I told him to put back-up lights on them with a sign that said “WIDE LOAD.” I spent far too much money on them not to wear them, at least for a little while, but my patience for that kind of accessory wore very thin after a while, and I just put them away. Until yesterday, that was my last experience with a Podiatrist and an Orthotics Specialist.
My left “index” toe had become a “hammer toe” and was developing a bad blister, along with some other foot problems he discovered that I didn’t know about. The toe, however, needed to be treated before I came down with yet another infection. The Dr. was working on it, and cleaning it up, when suddenly he shouted “CAT!” I didn’t respond, because I thought he was calling one of his nurses called Catherine, or some such. Anyway, he next shouted, “Do you have a CAT?” To which I responded, “Well, yes, of course, and a dog and a parrot, too – why?” “Because there are cat hairs inside this inflammation, and you need to be careful about keeping this toe clean,” he said. I answered, “And you didn’t find any bird feathers or dog hair in there too? My housekeeping must be improving!” He didn’t seem to find it very funny, but generally I am amused with myself more than anyone else, anyway. After treating and bandaging the toe, putting a sort of soft brace to shore up the “hammer toe,” he called in his orthotics specialist.
The young man took one look at my feet and sighed – deeply. He manipulated my ankles and feet and found that besides being quite swollen because of poor circulation, they could be manipulated about three times more than they should be able to. The in-step parts of my feet are too wide for the toes, causing tendon damage that basically has “loosened” up my foot, and made me very unstable (which might explain why I have been falling down so much lately!). In any event, he set out to measure my feet for some new shoes and while doing so, he asked me, “What size shoe do you wear?” I said generally a 10W, although sometimes I can get away with a 10M. He shook his head and laughed - laughed I tell you! He said that I am at least an 11, one foot being larger than the other, and probably a men’s size EE width! He said, you just can’t walk into a shoe store and buy a pair of shoes can you? What a shame I have waited until now to tell my foot story – then I could have just read him the first paragraph of this post.
He brightened up considerably however, when he remembered that he happened to have on hand some shoes that he felt would fit well, and offer me stability and comfort. I braced myself for what he would bring out, and I was not disappointed. At least they weren’t vinyl oxfords, like the others. These were a pair of white and blue “sneakers” that looked like Kareem Abdul Jabbar could wear, with room left over for an extra pair of socks! I tried not to show my disappointment, because they were sort of comfortable, but honestly! I can just see myself in my long black velvet dress, wearing my diamond earrings and sparkling tennis bracelet, with my toes, ever so discreetly, peeking out from beneath the hem in those BIG WHITE SHOES!!! I said, “Do I have to wear these all the time? Can I go barefoot to the ball?…or wear some other prettier shoes (any pair would be!)? How will I look in church, clomping up to the choir loft in those lovelies? He allowed as how I could wear something else for up to two hours occasionally…so at least Sundays are redeemable. Well, I bought them…what else could I do? And really they were quite “reasonable” at $100 a pair! (Last time I spent that much on shoes was…wait – I’ve NEVER spent that much on shoes!) He told me that once I got used to these and they seemed to be working, that he would fit me for some other types of shoes, made in Germany, that I might like the looks of better. Can hardly wait.
So, I’m sitting here my laptop, wearing NOT the shoes, but at least a nice pair of thick white socks – very becoming I must say – keeping the pet hair and assorted other dirt and dust off of my feet. (I really don’t like to vacuum…I’m sort of like Roseanne Barr who used to say “I’m not vacuuming again until Sears comes out with a riding model!”) One of my favorite movies is, (of course), a Hugh Grant vehicle…Julia Roberts, too, called “Notting Hill.” In one of the earlier scenes of the movie, when the two of them are getting to know one another at his apartment, they each have their bare feet up on the coffee table. Julia’s character makes a comment about how big his feet are; and knowing the old sexual cliche, he blushes. She then says, “You know what they say…big feet – big…..shoes!” Well, that’s me! Big feet, big shoes.
When I am at last dead and gone, having galumphed with my big feet off this mortal coil, when and if someone says, “She’s left behind some mighty big shoes to fill,” they will be absolutely right!
Signed, affectionately, gentle reader,