They are huge and black and strapped to the bottom of his feet. You see them, often, worn by a certain type of middle aged women who like to hike. He looks down at them and laughs. But we are both thrilled by them, even though they look like they weigh 70 pounds. Orthopedic sandels, who'd have thought.
Several weeks ago when I wrote about the pain Joe was experiencing with his feet, we got a note from an old friend, Susan Ludwig, about an orthopedic kind of place in Newmarket that she recommended Joe go for appraisal. Apparently it might be possible to avoid painful surgery by an accurate assessment of his feet and the provision of the appropriate support. Susan knows whereof she speaks so we took her advice seriously and made an appointment. Our doctor looked a bit skeptical figuring that surgery was the route to go ... but the wait list is long and Joe's pain was immediate.
So yesterday Joe had his appointment. He's been popping pain pills like one of the divas in the Valley of the Dolls so we were both pleased that he had the appointment. I wanted to go with him but I hadn't been to the office for three weeks so I decided to go in and wait for his call. To be honest I've been really worried about all this, the idea of surgery for Joe scares me deeply. Surgery for me is no big deal, I can cope with that - but any threat to him causes me profound fear. I waited and hoped.
"I feel no pain," were the first words he said. Then he described his visit and the horrid black sandels ... but for the first time in a long time he was walking entirely without pain. Neither one of us had any real faith that this would work, but you trust your friends. I hung up the phone thrilled.
We stopped at a grocery store on the way home because I had to make a vat of chili for a pot luck at work and as I pushed myself through the store I got separated from Joe who had gone to look for the secret ingredient in our chili (no I won't tell, it's secret). You know how you recognize someone you know well, at a distance, from their gait? Well, Joe no longer limped. I'm going to have to get used to a whole new cadence in his walk. Cool.
So, I've got my wheelchair, Joe's got huge utilitarian sandels, and we're both still moving through the world.
Thank heavens for adapted shoes, chairs with wheels and friends with good advice.
(Susan if you are reading this could you drop us an email, I've misplaced your address.)