Fake Foot Flops, Leads to Learning

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Doctors. My head is filled with doctors. I’ve always tried to keep my appointments in November (my birthday month) and May (the halfway mark to my next birthday) because it’s easy to remember, but that’s gone out the window.

Last week, both my grandson and I had appointments in Indianapolis. I had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon who amputated my leg. I call him “my favorite leg-whacker.” My grandson had a follow-up appointment the same day with the maxillofacial surgeon who realigned his jaws last year.

And I had to slip in an emergency appointment with a prosthetist. Since mine was out that day, I saw a colleague.

As I was leaving Las Vegas after attending the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, I was having a devil of a time walking. I’m not too good at walking yet anyway, but this was really bad. I even nearly fell stepping onto the airplane.

Then I looked down: I was heading north and my foot was pointing west. It looked like third position in ballet, where the heel of one foot is at the middle of the second foot and the first foot is at roughly a right angle to the second.

Maybe I put my leg on crooked. So I took it off, carefully aligned it, and put it back on. My foot flopped outward. I tried again. Flop.

I decided I should have put on a stump sock (or two), which I didn’t even take with me because I usually have the opposite problem: I can’t get my leg into my prosthesis. “Maybe,” I told myself, “my leg is too loose inside the socket and the prosthesis swung around on the pin.”

(Let me interject a short lesson here: I put a sleeve with a thick liner made of silicone over my residual limb — which was formerly called a stump, and which I call Kenny after the podiatry resident who gave that foot its last pedicure. Then I screw a pin into the bottom of the sleeve. When I put Kenny into the socket of the prosthesis, the pin locks in and holds it on. The silicone doesn’t let Kenny go anywhere. And it’s real comfortable in this summer heat, lemme tell ya! [cough])

To continue: Because I failed to reach my prosthetist on the one day he’s in Terre Haute, I went to one of the offices in Indianapolis, where the prosthetist I saw said something-or-other had come loose. And that I needed to be wearing a sock because the socket was too loose.

Wonderful. So now I need to learn how to interpret the signs that my prosthesis is too loose. I asked an online support group and got some advice, but I think it’s going to take some paying attention on my part.

It’s just one more thing to learn. And, as much as I wish things came to me instantly, I need to keep telling myself it’s going to take time. After all, one time all I knew about diabetes was that only Type 1 was the “real” kind and that all you needed to do was not eat sugar. I’ve learned a lot since then — and I’m still learning.

As for doctors…I was supposed to see the pulmonologist yesterday, I’m told. At least, I got a phone call reminding me of my appointment.

“What appointment? I didn’t make an appointment.”

“The hospital made one for you when you were there three months ago.”

“Well, they didn’t bother to tell me and it wasn’t on my discharge orders.”

So I didn’t go to that one. It’s too much trouble to get a ride on short notice, I have construction workers in my house, and I didn’t feel like doing breathing tests anyway.

I do have appointments with my podiatrist and endocrinologist on Thursday. I know: I made them. Maybe I will ask my podiatrist if he’ll see me for half price. After all, I only have half the feet I used to.

And I need to make an appointment with my rehab doc to get injections in my knees for the arthritis.

At this rate, I won’t have anybody left to see in November. Except for the ophthalmologist. Maybe my primary-care doc…

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