The Mysterious Case of the Broken Foot

barry currin, beaverdamusa.comThe good news is, 5 weeks later, my ankle is much better.

The bad news is, I never knew why it started hurting in the first place.

Such mystery illnesses happen more and more now that I have fallen into the AARP zone. My body is turning into that haunted amusement park on “Scooby Doo.” Every week — out of nowhere — a different mystery rears its ugly head.

But the foot injury was particularly baffling. Right before it happened I did walk an exorbitant amount on Saturday. Then on Sunday I recall twisting it just a bit, but not even enough to hurt. On Monday morning it was fairly sore, so I naturally decided to push mow the yard, which was challenging because it was fairly high and still wet. But in my mind it had to be done. Right then. Regardless.

It will be a long time before I will take the ability to walk for granted. By Monday night, I was immobile. My right ankle and foot were swollen beyond recognition. Sometime around 2 a.m., the pain started shooting from my ankle all the way up to my knee. The only thing we had in the house for pain was a bottle of baby aspirin we give to one of our beagles who has hip dysplasia. I wonder if she knows what caused her problem? Probably not, and I can certainly relate. (And yes, I know I am not supposed to call it “baby aspirin” anymore, but as one of the 800 million Reye’s Syndrome survivors from the ’60s, I will take poetic license.)

So there I am at 2 a.m., writhing in pain while standing on one foot in the dark trying to figure out how many times 81 grams divides into however many grams there are in two big boy aspirins. Answer? A small handful. On the upside, I had forgotten how good they tasted. I almost poured a glass of milk to enjoy with them. On the downside, they didn’t do a dang thing for my ankle.

At daybreak, Kim begged me to go to the doctor, so I did: Doctor Barry.

Doctor Barry has no copay, no waiting, no needles, no scales and no lectures. Plus, he almost always has cookies. And in this case, he just so happened to have a walking boot and crutches at his disposal.

I tried the walking boot, which didn’t work out too well because by the end of the day my whole body hurt from my right leg being 19 inches longer and 20 pounds heavier than my left leg. Then I went to crutches, which were nice because the seething pain they caused my underarms almost made me forget about my foot.

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So I decided to get some other kind of brace. Again, Kim begged me to let her go to the pharmacy, but I am a man. I have to do this myself. So I took the crutches and stumbled, wobbled and hobbled my way into the pharmacy — around the wet floor sign — and managed to make it all the way to the far, lonely, rear corner where they hide the things for people who cannot walk. A woman even wanted to carry my brace and bottle of ibuprofen to the register, but of course, I declined. And, of course, she turned out to be an employee, who, of course, was working the register. How was I supposed to know? She was wearing some kind of a sweatshirt on a 90-degree day. I thought she had something wrong with her, too.

I stuck with the crutches for a while, and as painful as they were, they hurt less than having to answer “What’d you do to your foot?” over and over again.

“I don’t really know,” I would say. Sometimes the person would stand there and let me keep on trying to explain what I meant. But more often than not, they would fly in to telling their own story. One woman — who was significantly older than me — said she got out of bed one morning and broke three bones in her foot when she stood up.

That sounded unbelievable, but then again, most mysteries are.

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About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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