Friday, May 21, 2021

Right Behind

 I’ve heard all the comments over the years. “ you have two left feet?” “Stop faking it” “Give me an axe, I’m chopping this fucking thing off”.

This list goes on and on. It’s frustrating, annoying, and insulting. It’s not my fault that the left foot has led a charmed life while I, the right foot, take much of the blame for many things. The left gets to do all the kicking. It balances the body better. It's better at jumping. It’s half an inch longer. And then to add insult to injury, even the left hand is better at dribbling a basketball than is the right hand, but no one suggests cutting off the right hand. It’s unfair I tell you. Left, left, left. It's enough to make me want to kick something.

The typical foot has 26 bones. Leftie has 26. And what do I have? 25, thanks to surgery eleven years ago to remove a small sesamoid bone. The surgery was supposed to relieve me from decades of pain and insecurity. But here I am, still sending pain signals to the brain.

I do wonder if perhaps I have played a more positive role than acknowledged. True, there have been many times I’ve  swollen up or been a little bit numb, forcing all other parts of the body to rest and marinate. On the other hand, well on the other foot, I’ve helped do a lot of cool things. Both me and the left foot have climbed mountains, run races, hiked, biked and so on. We both carried the body across the stage at graduation from UCLA. Take that!!

Not to shirk my responsibilities, but as a foot, I have to rely on the brain for many things. And the brain has been known to go off on various tangents, laying on the guilt. The brain sometimes thinks that it was my fault I stepped on a nail and got a bone infection when I was 13 and at a boy scout meeting held at a local synagogue. I'm just a foot, dammit. Perhaps the brain could have been looking out for that rusty nail sticking out of the board in the dark alley behind the synagogue.  Ten years ago, the brain decided to blame me for the onset of a blood cancer, pointing at the surgery as releasing 36 years of encapsulated toxins in the damaged sesamoid bone. I'm just one foot!!! I'm not that powerful or spiteful.

I've had casts, walking boots, custom shoe inserts and spent many an evening soaking in warm water or elevated. Meanwhile my arch nemesis, Leftie, gets to skip along without a concern.  Lately I've been acting up. Swelling and causing pain. Our team, aka the body, had been working hard at getting in shape and putting on the miles. And what do I do? I force a recess in long walks and remind the brain of what a fricking pain I've been. Fortunately I'm being taken to a podiatrist who respects me and is doing his best to make me feel good and relieve me of frustration for being a drag on the rest of the body. I can't talk, but it's nice to be heard nonetheless.

I'm gonna get there. I'll probably never kick a 40 yard field goal, but I seriously doubt Leftie will either. I just want to be able to absorb the normal wear and tear of an active person. And ideally, I'd like to do more than just be a normal active person. I'm being told if I can get my act together, that we might start running again. In fact, I am hearing rumors that I might be expected to run 400 meters for time. Hell yeah, I'll be able to do it. If I really wanted to be petty I'd tell the left hamstring that it better hold up and not strain itself like it's known to do. Get your act together Hammy!

It's not a straight path, but don't count me out yet. I'm right behind you, left foot.


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