Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Foot

My left foot was broken during THAT fateful day. There are many things I do remember all too vividly. Then some things lurk just outside my consciousness which I am aware of but do not have the courage to look at directly (yet). And other things I don’t remember at all. Just big gaps of time I can’t account for. I didn’t remember what exactly happened that broke the foot and I have no memory of ever seeing a doctor, yet I did have a cast on it for many weeks - until I couldn’t stand it as a reminder and cut it off myself. (In hindsight, that might not have been a such a good idea)

Because of the break the foot is already a size bigger than my right foot, causing me to buy two pairs of every shoe. This used to be a major trigger for me, but I worked through that.

Then last year I apparently began to develop arthritis in the toe that was broken. Some heavy duty anti-inflammatories seemed to keep that under control.

But now the top of it swells up. I can barely walk on it when I first get up in the morning, and going down stairs has become downright painful. So I got a referral from my primary care doctor to see a foot specialist.

He took a bunch of xrays and then met me in an exam room.

Dr: How did you break your foot?

Me: I don’t remember.

Dr: It was broken in three places. You don’t remember that?

Me: No. (But I was feeling the anxiety rise)

Dr: (pointing to the xray) This top bone was crushed. . .

And I didn’t hear anything else. Just the rapid fire flashing of memories . . . struggling . . . and then the searing pain of someone standing over me, smashing his heel into my foot to hold me down.

I don’t know how much time passed but I was gradually aware of the doctor holding my hand, sweat pouring out of me.

Dr: are you being abused at home?

Me: No. No, it was an isolated traumatic event. I just can’t talk about it.

Dr: well then let’s see what we can do about relieving the pain.

And he very gently showed me some exercises and stretches to do restore some flexibility. Some ice for the swelling and meds for the arthritis which is now filling in every fracture . And then probably some orthodics to shift the pressure off the weak areas.

I don’t know if it was this doctor’s very, very kind demeanor or I’m experiencing the benefits of therapy, but I left the office feeling okay. A little shaky, but definitely okay. Where a flashback that strong would once have sent to my bed whimpering, I actually went back to work for awhile. The fact that I can even write about it so shortly afterward is a major step for me. I am seeing and feeling the progress. And I know I am getting stronger.

Although the irony has not escaped me that as I am finally getting a grip on the emotional consequences, the physical impacts are now coming back to bite me.


  1. I hope you're not planning to use this as an excuse not to do our Haystack/Marcy hike : )

  2. Ren - Not a chance. My arthritic foot and beat out your sorry ass knees any day.

  3. AnonymousMay 20, 2010

    I am so grateful for that doctor. I wonder if he knows how important he was at that moment. You did real, real good writing this down. This was a big one. I'm sweating over here, but ultimately happy and relieved that you weren't crippled by the fear. Huge step.

  4. Wow, talk about progress. Way to go! What a compassionate doctor. I'm glad you had him for your exam. I think it's a combination of his kindness and your huge, huge steps forward that let you recover so quickly from this triggering event. That is real progress. (((hugs)))

    You know, as we get older ALL of our old injuries come back to haunt us. It's not just these that were sustained on that fateful day, but if you sprained your ankle or broke your wrist as kid, it's coming back to bite you. Believe me on this one!

  5. AnonymousMay 20, 2010

    That doctor sounds like a great man! I'm so happy he was there with you through the trigger. And bravo to you for getting through it and coming out the other end in one piece! So proud of you. :)

  6. Dear god my stomach did flip flops all over reading this.

    I just wanna give you a big ole hug.

    Maybe someday I will.

    p.s. Is all well with the other subject we talked about?

  7. Thanks folks!

    e - Yes I know. As my elderly neighbor always tells me - growing old is not for sissies.

    Tina - I may hold you to the hug. And I will send you an email on the other later.

  8. I am aghast reading this.

    And grateful for that doctor.

    And in awe of your courage to relive this until it loses its power.

    And so very happy that you are winning the battle and getting healthy.

    {{{{many, many hugs}}}}

  9. big step for you, way to go.

  10. Always amazed at your candor with us and that you let a man help you through that was touching considering what could have happened. You are gaining so much by pushing past those uncomfortable/possibly debilitating moments. So much strength.