Meet our writers

 







Health April 2012

Agelessly Yours

Pain in My Foot Becomes a Pain in Their Neck

By Karen White-Walker

Have you ever had an operation that was a resounding success, but recovery stunk all because you didn't follow the doctor's orders? You never spent a minute in medical school, yet you knew more than the doctor?

About 14 years ago my right foot started hurting, no big deal, but only when I stood, wore shoes or walked. I must have this martyr complex or something, because not until recently when the pain was so excruciating did I limp into the podiatrist's office for help.

"Why did you wait so long?" gasped Dr. Dodge. If you believe that he didn't really gasp, you're right. Who needs a hysterical doctor who over-reacts? Hence, I'd make a lousy physician.

"I kept thinking it would get better," I sheepishly replied.

He ascertained my sad situation and announced, "The only happy ending to this mess is that I'm now old enough to operate on you. When your pain first started I was about 12 years old." Between you and me, dear readers, I think he was really about 15.

"I'm glad I waited," I confided to him.

I just knew from the doctor's professional and gentle demeanor that he would attempt to undo all the damage I had self-imposed on something bigger than a breadbox — my foot. Don't think it's not embarrassing to have feet that could star in a Cinderella flick, posing as one of the stepsister's extremities. But let's be realistic, petite dainty footsies weren't meant to balance a ton of weight.

I used to fantasize about having small sexy looking feet with polished toenails and slipping them into 6" heels that would knock men's socks off. Instead I was the one wearing the socks, the ones with the cushioned heels and reinforced toes. How irresistible is that? Hence, I'd make a lousy sex symbol.

My feet were X-rayed, no big deal, and a spur, the size of Mt. Everest, showed up between the joint on my big toe. Another one was forming on my left foot and if I waited another 14 years I would probably (a) be buried with it, (b) have the still young-enough-to-operate Dr. Dodge remove it, or (c) donate my brain to science to see why anyone was willing to compromise his quality of life by unnecessarily living with pain. What?– we think our place in heaven will be elevated if we suffer more down here on earth? If that's the case, we'll all be vying for the highest position, and not the steerage level.
Have you ever had an operation that was a resounding success, but recovery stunk all because you didn't follow the doctor's orders? You never spent a minute in medical school, yet you knew more than the doctor? Not only was my spur removed but, because so much arthritis had to be scraped and it left a deep crevice, an implant had to be drilled into my bones, a really big deal. The doctor's delightful assistant Christine, with an infectious laugh, reiterated the doctor's orders. "Apply ice to the area, elevate the foot and absolutely stay off of it for at least two weeks."

I was given a shoe to wear that was so big, flat, and hard that a mason could mix enough mortar on it to reconstruct a building the size of Chicago's Sear's Tower.

Nothing can make you appreciate mobility more than being “chained” to a chair and having your spouse become your slave. God love him, for the first few hours he never complained a second, but I did. With the pain pills dulling the agony, and feeling slightly like I was in “la la land,” I questioned why I couldn't do something, anything! I did, and it landed me smack into the doctor's office that very day. The second my husband left my side and was out of my sight, like a no-good- for-nothin' sneak, I “jumped” out of my chair and....

Oh, poor Dr. Dodge and Christine, all those instructions and for what? It landed me in a wheelchair for a week, so that when I went to school, the students could show me how to do a “wheelie.” Oh I forgot, I wasn't supposed to go back to work for six weeks. It's really hard to take orders from someone who looks young enough to be your grandson, isn't it?

 

Meet Karen