Book of Marvels
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Bad Shoes

I didn't like these shoes. They were pretty comfortable but not so comfortable that they negated the basic cloddish and ugly factor. I'd slip into them by default because I hadn't found a shoe in this category that I liked better, then wonder why I felt so homely. Years ago, I used to wear my husband's torn leather jacket and a pair of hideous birkenstocks with socks all the time. One day, my daughter looked at me and said, "Mom, you look like you sleep on the streets." I was afraid I was slipping backwards, sartorially speaking, and kept meaning to dump these shoes in the Goodwill bin.

Wish I had! Three weeks ago, I put them in the hallway when a group of friends were here to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As they were getting ready to leave, I got up to thrust the rest of a bag of potato chips upon my stepson so that I wouldn't finish it myself and tripped over the shoes. As I hit the floor, I heard a snap. I thought I had landed on the potato chips. But my foot hurt so much that I pretty much knew, within seconds, that I had broken it.

As a friend pointed out, "The lesson here is that you should have eaten the chips."

So I had to have surgery to screw my fifth metatarsal back together and can't put any weight on that foot for six weeks. Six weeks! I'm kind of like Miss Havisham these days, clunking around my second floor on crutches, from bed to office, with scary hair and long toenails.

So many revelations! Who would think that this tiny little bone could cause so much trouble? When I read the paper now about skirmishes in Iraq and Afghanistan, I certainly have a new appreciation for injuries. A broken foot is possibly the least of what can happen to someone there, but now I know that it can give people pain and impede their walking for life if not treated. The first thing my doctor did was strap an amazing plastic boot on me, with velco straps and padding and a hand pump that inflates parts of it so that my foot doesn't feel as if it slipped into a crack between rocks. It's a brilliant piece of medical engineering and I didn't even have to pay for it; my insurance does. My first thought was what a wonder this boot would be in Afghanistan, where so many people have either historic injuries or new ones from bombs, land mines, whatever. The boot --presented so quickly to unlucky but lucky me--seemed to highlight yet again that terrible gap between the haves and have-nots of the world. I told the people at PARSA that if I come back in the spring, I'm bringing this boot.

I have to wear it for another month. Marvelous as it is, I'll be glad to get rid of it.
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