When I started Therapy I wore grippy socks since I was transitioning out of the bedridden phase. Soon A(2) told Mommy I should wear sneakers. So out came my favorite Nikes – by the time I learned to walk the hole in my right toe was obvious, and a new one was forming on the left.
I refused to part with them, though, since I was determined to learn to run in them. Yeah, that didn’t go as planned. I finally let Mommy confiscate them bc I knew the holes were getting to be too much for her to bear and I moved on to different shoes. I’ve worn several kinds of sneakers since and realized that my feet are more sensitive now. When I learned to walk I immediately developed callouses. It happened when I started using the AlterG more, too. I need to use an Emjoi (I gifted my sisters with this little tool and I LOVE it – it’s a must-have for my mobility advancement. PS. this is a non-afilliate link).
I used to poll on whether or not I’d wear high heels again. But at this point I keep my feet as close to the ground and covered as often as possible. I ran over them one too many times in my wheelchair before I started wearing sturdier shoes. I also need as much support/stability a pair of shoes can give me.
Unfortunately my Trainers like the idea of feeling the ground sans soles. When Trainer D told me to take my shoes off so I could do some balance work I protested vehemently. He just grinned amusedly which only made me talk louder and longer. Why are you smiling?!?!?!? That means you are NOT HEARING ME. Oy. Where do I find these people?
Coach R sprang the same idea on me a few days later. He said, Do these come off easy? (This is Rspeak for “take your shoes off.”) Immediately I was like, Oh no, R. Sorry – these STAY ON. This is one of the cardinal rules of Recovery for me: “Protect your feet at all times.” It’s right up there with “No sign of weakness.”
It makes sense since I am still learning to use my feet and legs appropriately and am invested in safeguarding them. That’s why I was addicted to my aircast for so long. But Coach R got me to take my shoes off once while I was seated so I really had no excuse except that feet (particularly my own) gross me out. He said the usual, Do these come off easy? I was caught off guard and couldn’t think of a reason to refuse. Plus we had only recently met so I wasn’t ready to issue an outright negative. (That shyness wore off rapidly.) So I took them off and he checked the strength and range of motion etc.
There was a lot of foot touching. Ewww. When some friends came to see me when I first flew home JPAS said to me, Ning, I need to tell you something. I don’t want this to ever come between us. (He let the dramatic tension build.) I touched your foot in the hospital.
Blech!! JPAS and JLSS had flown out to Vibra (2nd Hospital) while I was still asleep. I thought it was so funny that was the first thing he chose to tell me.
When Coach R checked my feet he remarked again on how my toes are always pointed. Apparently no matter what we’re doing my sneakers are constantly tilted. I didn’t notice this until he said something. Old habits die hard. In the same way that I always point my toes I also always cringe inwardly when dealing with feet. Coach R has trained teams of sweaty students, professional athletes, and Olympians, so I’m pretty sure the only person grossed out by the foot touching was me. It took all of my (admittedly compromised) self-command to keep from throwing up right then and there.
It is still remarkable to me that this is what my life is like now. What would have NEVER happened prior to my injury happens regularly in RecoveryLand and my job is to accept the help with thanks.
I gave away all of my shoes from my Old Life – there were a lot of them! Except my favorite pair of strappy red heels – I’m holding on to those out of pure sentimentality. I used to imagine wearing heels bc I regularly imagined wearing my old clothes and pretty shoes were appropriate for my wardrobe then. Times have changed and I’m actually content to wear what I do now.
I also used to really miss the sensation of standing on my hands or doing a cartwheel etc. Trainer D is willing to spot me and I’ve considered doing it just to make M37 laugh, but my eyes/head have been rowdier than usual lately so I’ve finally admitted that I probably shouldn’t attempt any (even relatively static) acrobatics. I held on to the memory of doing those things since they’re not something I do routinely like stairs or walking so I could remember the sensation of pressing your digits into the floor and shifting your weight to keep your balance.
I clung to that memory like I clung to the hope of wearing heels again as a souvenir from my Old Life. But now I’ve said goodbye to my shoes and admitted that my muscle memory is damaged. (I know – you’re like, Seriously – it took you all this time to figure that out?!?!) But I’m not admitting defeat – these things are simply no longer important to me.