My Right Foot 2: The Footening

I didn’t want to be late for my podiatrist appointment. I was supposed to be there by 9:30, which could either mean 9:30 or 9:15. I was pretty sure 9:30 was 9:30 because there was nothing in the appointment reminder that I was supposed to show up 15 minutes early. Even if there were, there was little chance I would show up at the earlier time.

I did intend to. I left the apartment at 9:03 and even with my slightly impaired walking skills, I could hoof it there on time. Then I saw the bins. OK, no problem, It would take maybe a minute tops to wheel them under the stairs. Then I remembered that I did not have a mask. Medical offices were requiring them again because of a new COVID variant, RSV, or maybe an airborne strain of AIDS. It’s hard to keep it all straight. I checked my backpack to see if there was one there. No luck so I went back upstairs, found a mask, and headed back out the door. Another minute and a half down the toilet.

Finally on my way, I lumbered down the sidewalk with a noticeable limp. I was also huffing and puffing a bit. Part of this was because I was walking as quickly as I could. Mostly, it was because I am incredibly out of shape.

I wasn’t getting a lot of exercise during the two months I spent bedbound other than the occasional trip to the kitchen or bathroom on my knee scooter. To make matters worse, I had adopted the dietary habits of the obese shut-in. McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell all deliver and not one item ordered was healthy. The weight loss from muscles atrophying in my right leg was made up for more than tenfold by the increase in my waistline.

The unhealthy eating continued when I was able to ditch the scooter and hobble around my walking boot. That went on for a little over a month and other than a few trips to Walgreens or the local taco truck, I stuck to puttering around the apartment. With the boot effectively making one leg longer than the other, I had this loping, clomping gait reminiscent of Derek Jacobi in “I, Claudius.” Walking for any distance like this was uncomfortable, creating a dull ache where my right leg meets my hip.

When the podiatrist told me I did not have to wear the boot anymore, I thought my troubles were over. I could cut loose (footloose) with nary a care in the world. Then I tried walking with the boot off. The problem was that my foot had been immobilized for months with the toe pointing downward so my Achilles tendon could reattach. Now my foot did not want to bend any other way without serious effort. As a result, I still walked a little funny, just not as funny as when I was wearing the boot.

Over time, that has improved. My visits to a physical therapist and doing the assigned exercises with a level of discipline very unlike me had a lot to do with that. So when the day came to go back to the podiatrist and arrive maybe late but probably not, only the most hateful ableist would roll down their car window and yell insults at me as I passed.

It turned out I was not late. My arrival time of 9:18 was just peachy. I got good news from the podiatrist as well. Unless something goes very wrong, this would be the last visit. All I had to do was keep going with the physical therapy. I was told my recovery may not be 100%, but I’m OK with that. My skill at lowering personal expectations is the stuff of legends.

4 thoughts on “My Right Foot 2: The Footening”

    1. I borrowed “loping” from Vonnegut’s description of Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five. I think he walked like that because the heel had come off one of his combat boots, but I can’t remember for sure. As for I, Claudius, I did manage to finish reading it, but it took a while. I tried the same with Claudius the God, but only made it about 20 pages before giving up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *