Thursday, January 08, 2009
Living with chronic disease is no piece of cake. Some people have to watch their ice cream intake, give up wheat bread, swallow a rainbow in a handful of pills throughout the day, submit their bodies to painful but better-than-death procedures and withstand the scorn and hostility of people who don’t understand why that “perfectly healthy” person just pulled up into a disabled parking space. I’m one of those “perfectly healthy” ones, thought not having a car means I don’t have to worry about all those stares.
Today, my two biggest arthritis-based complaints are the following:
I can’t scoop ice cream. Or find a decent pair of shoes.
After a frustrating day of zipping on, zipping off my sexy, tall, heeled, Brazilian black boots in a futile attempt to find something a little more practical, I came home empty-handed. With a guesstimate of my size and width, I said a prayer and ordered something in black from an online merchant. And then, to make me feel better, we had ice cream. Except I had to soften the ice cream in the microwave. Not a sliver budged for me, so I had to let my grandmother scoop out our orange sorbet. My wrist is a wimp.
It’s much easier to find someone to dole out the ice cream. I hate shoe shopping. As a self-proclaimed shoe addict, this is surprising. But you see, I have to pass up the aisles upon aisles full of tempting size sevens, dainty and cleverly detailed, or powerful gladiator heels in shiny patent leather, the sort of shoe you’d love to have the guts to wear in public. 1930’s screen-siren pumps. Something, anything in green. None of those work for me. I get to peer down to the lowest shelf and poke around for the elusive size 10.5, 11. Sometimes, the store only gets in one or two pairs, so sneaky shoppers who can’t make a decision hide the boxes or turn them around so it’s more difficult to see the sizes. Or they simply get there before I do. So the options usually are: the cute but foot-gnawing ugly-stepsister shoe that will NEVER accommodate all ten toes, or the very practical, clunky-heeled, round toe monster that screams “ORTHOTICS! ARTHRITIS! HIDE ME, QUICK!”
My only real winter shoes are the aforementioned black boots, which are surprisingly comfortable and versatile. I think I’ve worn them 6 out of the last 7 days. There was one day I gave in and wore sneakers. But just out running errands. I changed back to the black beauties in the evening!
The problem is genetics. Big feet and rheumatoid arthritis make it darn difficult to find anything worth shoving my feet into for a couple of hours. My closet is full of creations that I've had one-night stands with, guiltily replacing them in their boxes because I couldn't imagine spending another minute with them on my feet. Other shoes are mercilessly beaten to death, worn until they're destroyed. I've been in destruction mode for the last few months and am looking for new shoes in an attempt to postpone the inevitable.
Last night, I actually googled “sexy orthotic shoes.” The most attractive things that popped up, besides seedy ads for really bizarre fetishes, were some boxy wedges with doubled straps. Ooh. Straps. And maybe, just maybe, there was the good luck to find a color choice beyond black and brown. But sold out in the larger sizes. Go figure.
I refuse to wear those plastic shoes with the holes in them. Can’t do it. And vanity still has its hold on me, so I’m stubbornly insisting on shoes that aren’t available for Medicaid reimbursements. Anyone out there interested in partnering up to make cute shoes for people whose feet are old but whose soles are still young? (Couldn’t resist, folks, sorry!)
p.s. Can you guess which of the above shoes is the one I want and which is the one my big toe is rooting for?