I thought it was only fitting that I should write about feet this month since April was World Foot Health Awareness Month and I have feet, two of them.
They are not necessarily healthy feet, though. Eighty percent of adults eventually suffer some sort of foot problem. For me, it was bunions. And admitting one has bunions brings one of two responses: “How old are you,” or “That’s what you get for wearing high heels.” Both comments are aggravating, especially to young men with bad feet.
But they annoyed me too. I’ve had bunions since I was a child and I’ve never worn high heels.
For those that don’t know, bunion is the medical term for a big, ugly thing on your foot.
I put off doing anything about my bunions for years. But eventually the pain and the news that my insurance deductible was going up drove me to take action. I did start getting…uh…cold feet right before the procedure, but it turned out to be fairly easy. I slept right through it. I didn’t have to do a thing.
Recovery was more difficult. I spent a month with my feet up, reading, playing solitaire, and ordering my husband around, though that wasn’t the difficult part—for me.
I learned to keep my phone by the couch. And I learned that despite many well-wishes from friends and family, on an average day, the calls from people I’ve never met run about ten-to-one. That’s how I learned that I’ve been approved for three new credit cards, that I’m in trouble with the IRS and that a particular roofing company is offering a great deal in my neighborhood.
I learned that daytime television is perfect for sick people and people under the influence of painkillers—quite likely because it is created by sick people and people under the influence.
I learned that it’s almost impossible to eat soup while reclining.
I learned that, while it is normal to have condensation on your ice bag, if it’s more than a quart, you should check for a hole in the bag.
I learned why there’s a grab bar in my shower.
I learned to get trash in the basket four out of five times from three feet away while lying on my back with my feet up. I also learned that the one out of five times I missed added up to a good-sized mess after a few days.
I learned that, while a lot of people will bring you treats and food, your true friends are the ones that never mention your bed head—or the pile around your trash can.
I learned that my husband has always considered my feet peculiar, a fact he has wisely kept silent about, until the bunions were gone. And I learned that he can cook, another fact he has kept to himself for all these years.
And speaking of my husband, I learned how gratifying it is to say, “While you’re up, could you…”
And, while no man ever fell in love with a woman wearing surgical shoes and sweat pants, it is a loving husband who can help his wife wash her hair, bring her pain killers in the middle night, and splint her now smelly feet.
These latter lessons were so pleasant that I started to envision a very long recovery. I pictured myself welcoming visitors from my place on the couch, and saying pitifully, “Please forgive me if I don’t get up; I just had surgery.”
They would say, “When?” and I would respond, “Nine years ago. Could you hand me that cheese dip?”
Dorothy Rosby is the author of three books of humorous essays including Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Be Ticked off About, Humorous Essays on the Hassles of Our Time. Contact [email protected]
Footnotes: pair of feet, bunions and wearing my flat shoes