One Step At A Time
Having them is a good thing. They come in handy (to coin a phrase). I do know someone who has lost both feet but has two prosthetic feet and gets around better than most people who have the pair they were born with.
Me? I have two of them.
One foot looks like your standard issue foot. The other one looks like it was made out of clay in an elementary school Art class – by a “D” student.
The first attempt was surgical, followed by steel leg braces on my shoes. This was expensive, painful, and technically awkward in a small town.
After a few years of that I had had enough and started wearing just your everyday shoes. I quickly learned that I was Death to shoes. It made no difference if the shoes were expensive Florsheim shoes or something I picked up at K-Mart. In fact, the cheaper shoes tended to last longer than the really good shoes. I think the cheap shoes were made out of God-knows-what – sort of the shoe world’s equivalent of the “Meat byproducts” you find in cheap dog food.
I discovered that boots were more support than lower cut shoes. So, I saved the black shoes for Sundays and other dress-up occasions, while the rest of the time I faintly resembled a lumberjack from the knees down. I still do that. The Sunday shoes that I buy now are really an attempt to make a dressier work shoe. It ain’t foolin’ nobody.
After reading an article about “Orthotics” I decided to give them a try. I contacted a podiatric hospital (Look up that word in that book called a Dictionary – most helpful.). When they told me that the orthotic inserts would cost me several hundred dollars that I didn’t have, I suggested that we work out a deal. We settled on this: I would get the orthotics for free IF I allowed the hospital to use me as a teaching tool for their student podiatrists.
My part of the bargain had me walking (trundling) back and forth, barefoot, in front of the students while the instructor pointed out how screwed up my walking was. A few days of that satisfied them and I got my lovely orange plastic, personally molded to fit my foot, official orthotic shoe insert.
I put it in my shoe and started walking. Almost immediately I noticed a flaw – it hurt like hell on Monday morning. I developed an instant callous on a new spot across from the old callous. I stuck with it and after about ten days the blasted thing snapped in two inside my shoe. Orthotic insert – failed.
They arrived in a plain brown paper package like I was ordering something tacky and inflatable. They’re insoles, people, not gel filled, battery powered, glow in the dark, condoms!
Into my shoes they went, all soft and squishy. The blue gel looked like Smucker’s Windex Preserves. They felt…good. It was like walking on kittens.
It all went well for about a week or so until one night, when I was out on the town. I was going to be doing a stand-up set at a club. I was dressed nicely and wearing a new pair of white sneakers. I was a block away from the club when…something didn’t feel right. My left foot was fine, but my right one felt – wet? I stopped and looked down and my brand new white shoes had blue stuff oozing up through – everywhere.
There was nothing I could do except keep going. One white shoe, one bluish shoe. It forced me to modify my set. Everybody could see it.
“What’s with the blue shoe, Man?”
“On the way over here I stepped on a Smurf.”
I mean, really, what else could I say that wasn’t just as silly sounding.
Now, my Doctor is talking about me getting special orthopedic shoes. I don’t want to do that. I’m happy with my boots and pseudo-Sunday-go-to-meeting shoes. I’ve gone this far on these feet and I think I can make it the rest of the way – as long as I don’t have to stomp to death any more Smurfs.