My Other Left Foot
NukeMom noticed a bump on my right foot the other day. I hadn’t paid much heed to the pain down there because I always have pain in my feet, it’s the norm for me. When I looked at it and realized that she wasn’t joking, I reached down to touch it, thinking it was a cyst, but it wasn’t. It’s hard as a rock, just like bone. An internet self diagnosis brought me to conclude that it’s a dorsal bunion. I knew that bunions formed mainly on the side of the foot, and since my toes weren’t pointing east and I haven’t worn heels since my tragic broken heel spill in 1995, I figured I was OK, but a dorsal bunion? This thing came out of nowhere, and over the last few days has started to become more painful. I have an appointment with a podiatrist (seemed logical) next week, so we’ll see what he has to say. I’m not so much worried about what he is going to say as opposed to what the X-rays are going to say. You see, there’s a reason my feet hurt all of the time, and it’s mostly my fault.
I was born with high arches and a high instep. A double whammy if you ever want to find a comfortable pair of shoes. The reason for my toe pain is a little less genetic, and a little more behavioral. I broke the big toe on my right foot when I was in the 6th grade. It healed nicely and I didn’t have anymore problems until 1993. In that year, a friend and I rented a house from a kindly, wealthy gentleman who owned 2 apartment complexes and 4 or 5 houses. He was a retired lawyer who didn’t need the money, he just liked interacting with his tenants (house tenants, not apartment). The house sat on 3 acres, had it’s own irrigation system and our landlord did the yard. Seriously. Rent was $375 a month. Not each; total. It was awesome. We were finally able to convince him that 2 healthy young men having their 70+ year old landlord doing their yard could be detrimental to our reputations. He finally relented, and that afternoon came by our house and delivered a brand new lawnmower. The man was a saint. My roommate and I had quite a time at the house, as I’m sure you can imagine-I believe I’ve mentioned it before but I’m too lazy to go back and link it. Anyway, one fateful night in 1993, our house had become the gathering spot once again for an impromptu gathering. That night, at that gathering, my foot troubles began-I broke every toe on both feet.
How does one manage to break every toe on both feet at the same time you ask? Simple, just play barefoot soccer on a field that is bordered by cement porches and cars. Yeah. I think I finished 3rd that year in the Darwin Awards: Survivor Category. Driving for a score, I drove my left foot into my friend Mario’s Nissan. I didn’t notice the pain right away, copious amounts of Coors Light ensured that. After a few minutes I realized that I’d definitely done something to my left foot, so I hobbled off of the front lawn to check it out and refresh my beverage. “It’s not that bad, you wus-get back out there! Besides, Mario can bang that dent out, no problem” my roommate said. So I did. A few minutes later I was on defense and went for a sliding block, leading with my right foot. A slight depth perception problem (my glasses were on the porch) revealed that the foundation forming, immovable cement porch was a lot closer than I thought it was. All of the toes on my right foot folded nicely underneath my foot. I felt this one. I hobbled up to the porch and sat down knowing my time in the game was over. I moved my toes around the rest of the night until I finally went to bed. Bruised, but not battered; or so I thought. Boy, was I wrong.
The next morning I woke up and was sore from head to toe. That probably explains why I didn’t notice the pain in my feet like I should have before attempting to get out of bed. I swung my feet out of bed and stood up-and immediately fell back on the bed. My toes screamed at me to; Retreat! Retreat! I sat on the bed and took a first look at my toes-it was ugly. I had purple slash marks at the base of each of my toes. One on each side, like an inverted “V” sitting below each toe. The big toes were worse. My left big toe had the purple slashes at the base and a solid purple line going all the way up to the toenail. The right big tow was completely purple. The same big toe that has a large dorsal bunion growing on it right now. Being a young man with no health insurance, I did the only thing I could do; I toughed it out and wore sandals for a couple of weeks. My friends told me that I walked like I had a corn cob placed somewhere that it shouldn’t be, and I’m sure I did. Any pressure on the toes was excruciating, so I walked flat-footed for bout 2 weeks. I think at that point I looked like a penguin that had a corn cob placed somewhere that it shouldn’t be. From that day forward, my feet have been toast. I always knew this day was coming, I just didn’t like to think about it. My right big toe, rather than being a normal 3 bone, flexible appendage is basically one fused bone from toenail to about where you see the bunion. The left big toe isn’t much better. Everytime I walk you can hear the cracks and pops of the bones in my feet. It’s like I’m wearing Rice Krispies for shoes. So, I venture to the Podiatrist next week hoping that it’s a simple case of bunion discomfort, but I know, deep in my heart, that I may end up being this Doctor’s career reconstruction achievement. And this is the year we switch to a high deductible health insurance plan. Thanks, Karma!