I did trade the boot for a brace this morning, but it turned out not to be a direct trade-off. I am to wear the brace an hour or so at a time until I am used to it, gradually spending more time in the brace than the boot. Nor is it a simple procedure to fit it—the brace is clear plastic, molded after my foot. But still the technician put my foot in it and marked here and there where she could trim it. In response to her suggestion of a larger shoes, I took two pair—new OrthoFeet in a Mary Jane style and a pair of Croc lined slippers.
The brace goes inside the shoes—a bit of a trick to get it on, but I imagine it will work out as I break the shoe in—literally. But she trimmed until she had the right combination of fit and protection. Then she checked to see that I was even, and then I walked between parallel bars. I felt like a kid who had passed an exam in school—she said I did a perfect heel-toe walk, which should prevent tripping, and my ankle did not offer to collapse to either side.
Alas the Croc did not work as well. I had taken it because it’s wide and boxy, but she pointed out it has no give, whereas the OrthoFeet shoe is stretchy. We tried and tried, but it would accommodate the brace. Meantime, I who have always avoided Crocs was loving the left shoe that I wear with the boot. Crocs were too stiff and hard—they hurt my feet. But with the lining, it’s comfortable and I think a better height so I’m more even. All of this should alleviate the pain in my left hip.
By the time I got to the prosthesis office this morning, I had worked myself into one of my anxiety attacks. I was afraid of walking between the parallel bars, which turned out to be a piece of cake. I was sure I’d never walk unassisted again. I berated myself for being lazy and a coward because I don’t walk more—and major confession, I don’t often do the exercises that the physical therapist recommended. That’s unlike me, because I have faithfully done exercises, walked, done yoga whatever. I convinced myself that I was useless, lazy, lacking ambition.
I realize tonight, of course, what I was doing to myself—sending all those negative messages. On the other hand, regaining my earlier physical strength and balance compares to my thinking on my career: at 78, I am neither as ambitious nor as determined as I once was and probably that’s okay.
It’s been a long, difficult day, with my morning anxiety and in the evening several urgent trips to the bathroom. I really thought at noon I didn’t feel well…and slept for two-and-half hours this afternoon. Jordan’s friends were here when I got up, and one said to me, “Are you all right? You don’t look like yourself.” I explained it away with allergies that made my eye run but then I started the negative messages all over again. Listening to an account of another friend’s bout with West Nile didn’t help either.
I hope it was a better day for you. I’m putting this one to bed and plan to wake in the morning a new person.