Thursday, January 16, 2014

Orthotics and Dr. C

I was bitching and complaining about foot pain to my colleague and friend, Dr. George C.  He's a family physician with a gazillion years of experience, a really big brain and an even bigger heart.  I think he might have commented on my girth.  My recent excuse for my ponch has been the pain in my foot which "prevents me from exercise".  Of course I could bicycle but the 'knee injury' squashed that. Then there's swimming and all the stationary gym things one can do, yoga, tai chi and a whole range of alternatives but.....
"If you had my pain, you'd understand."
Dr. C isn't a small man himself and we both like fine cuisine.  He raised his eye brow.  He has a very expressive face but also likes to seed his medical knowledge into poems and stories he shares when he's examining you.
When he was examining my feet he asked if I'd tried orthotics.
"Orthotics?" I'd said, like it was some herbal snake oil combined with feathers you rub your chest cure for the flu - the internet is full of make the seller rich 'alternatives', aimed at the gullible unvaccinated.
So George told me about orthotics and  asked me more detail about how I'd 'hurt' my foot.
"Well," I said, "I was wearing 4 inch heels on Halloween walking downhill when I first remember ever hurting that joint. But since I don't usually wear high heels it went away until  a year later.  Now don't laugh, I kicked the ball for my dog, missed the ball and really stubbed my toe.  'Stubbed' doesn't do justice to the injury or pain.  A week after that when I was hobbling about a friend accidently dropped 5 lb weight on top of my toe. That was last year."
"What did you do?"
"I couldn't walk around hunting, so I just drove around in the truck.  I took aspirin, massaged it, and moved it about figuring keeping it flexible would help but it just got worse."
George was continued looking at me, his eyebrow had gone up  first at "4 inch heels" and never come down. I was waiting and ready for him to say something about the 4 inch heels  because it had been him who'd told me to go to the movie,  "Kinky Boots".  He and his girlfriend had nearly died laughing and later so had I. My nurse friend told me after my Halloween injury, "you don't even see women over 55 wearing 4" heels, what were you thinking'.  My female social worker friend indeed told me, "4 inch heels aren't made for walking in, dear".  George, a very wise family physician and friend, focussed on the feet.
"It's best to get a weight bearing foot xray to really know whats going on. That also helps them make an orthotic that would probably help."
So I went to the one xray place where they did the weight bearing foot xrays, I'd not even heard of such a thing. George said, "If you treated as many older people as I do you'd know all about feet.  It's one of things that gps see now with active and aging populations."
Next time I saw George he shared with me the "insulting personal attack on my youth and competence" that the radiologist (who obviously hadn't been breast fed)  had to say.  "arthritis".
How can a hip slick cool guy like me ,barely into his sixties. have something old people have?!
Before I could take a swing at George, threaten him with a lawsuit, or complain to the College about the incompetent diagnosis of the radiologist, George added, "Obviously,  "traumatic osteo" "arthritis"
I liked the sound of that a whole lot better, something a young Navy Seal might have.  I've told friends, especially women, since, liking the way it rolls of the tongue,"traumatic osteoarthritis'.  I also love the sympathy, almost sexual, I get sharing my vulnerability.  I love  how they touch my forearm arm and kind of coo.
I went to PARIS Orthotics in Kitsilano. These two orthotic specialists and  technicians examined my foot and walk and the xray. Together they talked  about me, like I was another old grey haired guy with a ponch, not the brilliant doctor with a lifetime of awards and accomplishments.  Quite disrespectfully and irreverently they  discussed my 'arthritic' toe, without the distinctive essential adjective  "traumatic osteo..."arthritis.
There was a very attractive woman looking in her  in her 40's at most, perhaps, waiting there too.  Seeing me walking before the watchful techs, she commented with a chuckle, "my teen age grandson calls calls mine,  'old feet'",
How humiliating! "My doctor says I have 'traumatic osteoarthritis", I corrected her curtly.
When the orthotics were made, very  bright and sensitive young Chinese orthotic specialist came with me to the shoe store to help me pick out a couple of pairs of shoes that would help best..
"I would never wear anything that stiff and clunky. I'd look like a geek idiot." I said when he showed me what would be 'best' but was definitely 'unfashionable' by my way of thinking.
"They're what I wear," he said, showing me.
Talk about putting your foot in your mouth.
To "undo" my faux pas, I bought them. I'm wearing them, today.  Just like he said, they're incredibly comfortable.  Now that I'm not hobbling, and generally feeling better, they actually don't look that 'unfashionable'.
I wore the orthotics, (space age medical insoles) and  still do.  I went from really sharp pain walking a block, which I'd had for months, to having little or no pain, most of the time.  I'm even thinking about dancing again and I pretty much given up on dancing again.  A truly depressive thought.
I got out hiking and hunting this year, pleasing my little dog to no end.  He's really not a 'truck hunter',  just loves to leap and bound about with the sheer joy of happy cockapoo feet. I'm not there yet. But I'm a whole lot better than I was.
I accepted expert advice and followed the directions of a leading  family physician and got Orthotics.  That took away my excuse for the pear shape.  I haven't come up with another good excuse but I'm considering  sueing  Hagen Daz and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Everyone I share that with tells me it would be a great 'class action' suit.
 Meanwhile I'm actually hiking, swimming and enjoying life. I have not told Dr. C this. I wouldn't want him to become smug.  He's helped and cured so many people it's probably good he goes to church too. Without the humility of a Christian life, he might actually get to thinking he was Jesus.
As a psychiatrist, I'll thank him of course, but add,
"I still can't walk on water, and you call yourself a doctor!"

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