I mentioned to my sister the other day about how I was buying new shoes for a writer's conference I am attending in Vegas this summer. Knowing my current financial state, she asked if I thought that was a good idea, because I had bought several new pairs of expensive shoes last year. I was kind of surprised at her unsolicited advice, mostly because my sister has never been the voice of reason. But I explained to her why it was so important this year.
Three years ago I was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver that left me immobile for seven months. After six surgeries, I was left with screws in an elbow that won't straighten all the way, a rod in my left thigh where I'm missing two inches of bone, and plates and screws in my ankle, which was twisted completely backwards. I was also finally able to start walking on two feet, getting me out of a wheelchair.
While the doctors said I should be back to "normal" in a year's time, our definitions of normal must have been different. Yes, I can walk, for which I am exceptionally grateful. But I have a permanent slight limp from the ankle, and chronic pain from the missing thigh bone. Not to mention I am a short person, with what my husband terms alligator arms, so with my elbow not straightening all the way, I have even more trouble reaching for things such as groceris on a high shelf, or food at the drive-through.
The first year I started walking again I could only wear Crocs and backless flat tennis shoes. My feet and ankles would swell, (my left ankle was badly sprained as well and took forever to heal), and those were the only shoes that (1) fit and (2) I could walk in without falling. I had, and still have to some degree, a measure of difficulty with balance, so those were it. Ugly fat shoes for short, ugly fat feet.
Last year, however, the swellling was less and my balance a bit better. I was able to wear shoes with a little wedge heel, or a higher rubber sole. While I now have to buy my shoes a half-size to a full size bigger and in a wide width to accomodate the swelling, at least I was able to graduate to two or three pairs of more normal looking shoes. If you have normal feet, you may not realize that wide shoes can cost more than regular shoes. Before the wreck, I could go into Payless or any discount shoe store and buy a pair of buy-one-get-one-free shoes, right off the rack. Now, I have to order from a catalog that specializes in wide width shoes.
As we move further along into the summer this year, I am able to wear even more normal, dare I say cute shoes, as the swelling has gone down further. It may sound silly, but when everything in your world has changed, from not being able to play soccer with your kids to being barely able to sit on the ground and get back up again, something as simple as a regular pair of shoes can make you feel normal again.
While I may never be able to go on a walking field trip with my girls again, or jog with the dog, or spend an entire day shopping at the mall, at least I can once again wear cute shoes for the things I can still do. And on a bad day, that might be the one thing that keeps me going.
Causes Holli Castillo Supports
American Diabetes Association, American Breast Cancer Association, Lazarus House New Orleans