"You mean like walk walk?" I asked the doctor, making sure that when he told me to walk, he meant to like, you know, walk. My left foot had not touched the ground in six weeks and approximately three hours, and the thought of putting pressure on the foot, even when ensconced in a walking boot, was enough to make the timid six-year-old in me come out.
Yes, he meant walk. Pulling the Band-Aid off all at once, I took the awkward first step as if there was a fly under my boot that I didn't want to crush...success!
No crushed Achilles. No shooting pain. The feel of the first step was like that first sip of cold water on a hot day-no, I'm playin, this was a small step for the body, and a giant step for the psyche. The feel was of those slippery steps taken in Dad's "boats," those penny loafers that sat idle some days when he wore the dress shoes with the shoelaces.
"Just heel to toe, heel to toe," said the doctor patiently, practiced enough even as a youngish orthopedist to know that despite my fears, I would be all right. His comfort lay in the repetition of heel to toe, mine in the fact that he was comfortable.
I will be in the walking boot for two weeks, then I have a Shoe Appointment.
"Bring the left shoe with you next time," the doctor said at least three times. "We're gonna fit you, and you'll be walking in a shoe in a few weeks. Hobbling, I should say."
In three weeks, physical therapy begins, then some other followup appointments, and then...a long road ahead, I know.
Is it too corny to say that I have to take it one step at a time?
Speaking of corny, I held up my left foot today, sporting some new Chuck Taylor(s) after weeks of rocking the infamous Polo shoe that was on my foot when the Achilles was ruptured.
"Hey, look," I said, pausing for emphasis, "I got new shoe. Get it? Singular?"
The pitying laughter of the class told me that, wonder of all wonders, I was now That Guy. The teacher who made jokes so corny that students felt sorry for him. The teacher we all had, the sophomore computer teacher I had some fourteen years ago.
Time flies when you're telling shoe jokes...