Thursday, December 14, 2006


By Marion Kelley Bullock

“Lying down in the back seat of this car is no small feet—uh, feat,” I said, trying to get my ailing foot propped on pillows in a suitably elevated position, as per the doctor’s instructions. My husband laughed a bit at my intended pun, to encourage me.

After all, I had just had surgery under general anesthetic to straighten the second toe on my right foot and remove its ingrown toenail. Following a short stay in the recovery room, I was reinforced by two pills the nurse handed me to take with a cup of soda. And a wheelchair to take me to the car. Ready to sleep the two hours of our drive home. That is, if I could get in the car. It took a while. And the task had to be repeated both times we stopped at restrooms. This gave me plenty of experience learning to walk on my right heel, doing a balancing act with my friend’s walker that I borrowed for the first two days.

I’m not allowed to drive, to play the piano or organ, or put any weight on the toe. When I shower, I must not get my right foot wet! I challenge you to try that. I’m required to wear a surgical shoe for six to eight weeks and to elevate the right foot as much of the time as possible. “How much?” I asked. “Oh, you can’t do it too much,” the surgeon said.

Difficult as this was at first, I quickly learned to sleep with my foot elevated on two pillows, sit propped on the couch to write, and finally, to prop my right foot on the shredder under my computer desk while I type.

You might say I’m almost back to normal. Except for the limp, due to the difference in the height of my surgical shoe and whatever shoe I happen to be wearing on my left foot. And the white bandage that sticks out like a sore thumb. Uh, I mean toe.

After my one-week check-up, I attended my Sunday school class Christmas party, where the topic du jour was my toe and my classmate’s broken ankle, which was ensconsed in a surgical boot. Our friends murmured enviously about all the help Fern and I were getting from our husbands.

All but one classmate. Peggy had been busily waiting on her husband before and since his recent surgery. She listened to all the comments and then she stood and pointed to Fern’s and my surgical footwear. “Soon as Bob gets well,” she said, “I’m gonna get me one of those!”