The Agony of Da Feet, Part the Second (a/k/a Toe Woes)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

This is a follow-up of sorts to my recent post about my foot woes.

It is also an unintended expression of sisterly solidarity with Jenna, a fellow exercise enthusiast, who experienced her own toe woes this week.

(I was going to say "nut" rather than "enthusiast," but I hesitate to tar Jenna with *that* brush - although it most certainly applies to yours truly!)

Follow below for the toe-tal story.

(Apologies to those of you not in the pun-iverse where I, sadly, spend far too much of my time.) :c)

As I've mentioned before (what I'm sure most readers will contend is far too many times), the past year was a total loss for me in terms of exercise. I'm normally an active gal. Mostly nervous energy, I suspect, but still active.

In order: I broke three ribs in March. I collapsed from exhaustion in September (and re-injured my ribs in the bargain). I had the worst flu bug I've had in years, starting just before Christmas and lingering well into February. I hurt my ankle, wrist, and hip after a hit and run in January.

Worst of all, I had to take steroids to help the nasty abrasion on my hip heal.

The end result:

I gained nearly 20 lbs., a direct result of the steroids and the enforced inactivity.

I'm normally pretty scrawny, so that is a *lot* to me.

And I'll be honest: it is depressing.

I *hate* feeling out of shape.

And I *hated* being completely helpless to do anything about it even more.

I *had* to let my ribs heal.

I *had* to rest to recover from the flu and ensuing bronchitis.

I *had* to take the steroids to help my hip heal.

And I *had* to let my ribs and then my ankle heal.

Essentially, I lost an entire year of being able to exercise at my normal level.

In fact, for most of it, I had to be idle.

I'm certain that is part of the reason I've had so much difficulty the past year with the crazy events in my life.

They would be difficult under most circumstances.

But being unable to have any physical outlet made it much, much harder to deal with.

When I finally, I finally got the all-clear to resume exercising about two months ago, I forced myself to start slowly, as the doctor advised me.

OK, ordered me.

("Don't think I don't know what you're planning, Missie. I know your type," she said with a knowing look. "If I have to put you in another walking boot, I'm going to make sure it clashes with every single thing in your wardrobe.")

(I was going to bring up the Hippocratic oath, but thought better of it. Clearly, this was not a woman to be trifled with.)

So, mostly out of fear, I did as I was told.

It was driving me CRAZY!!! lol (Did I mention I have a lot of nervous energy?)

But I listened.

I slowly - and I mean SLOWLY - worked to rebuild up my stamina over the course of six weeks.

At long last, a few weeks ago I was at the point when I could finally resume close to my usual routine.


My goal is to be back at my normal weight by the end of July, which is also when I attend the Newport Folk Festival. It's entirely reasonable (1.5 lbs. a week) and reachable.

Today was a simply lovely day, here, albeit a bit chilly for early May. (We barely reached the mid-50s, or 12.8C.)

Being as it was so nice, and a Saturday, I of course decided to kick things up a notch.

So I went for a walk.

A *long* walk.

A *long, long* walk. lol

I was listening to Muse (thanks to Stace, I am a hopeless addict now!), and was lost in thought about, oh, let's see...

Guys, going full-time, guys, my hair, girls (still figuring that one out, I guess!), how happy I am these days, guys *and* girls...

Anyway, you get the idea. :c)

I sort of meandered along several of my favorite routes for what seemed like a reasonable length of time.

I was winding things down when I finally stopped to pick up an iced coffee at the Starbucks near my home.

I know all of the baristas, as I stop by there frequently and like to chat with them. Accordingly, I was prepared to be treated with the deference and respect you would assume a regular  customer and (imho) generous tipper would expect.

A, the barista, took one look at me and said, "Geez, what the hell happened to you?"

"You look like a drowned rat, you know,"chimed in N, the other barista.

(Side note: I sweat. A LOT. Think sauna-level amounts of perspiration... while sleeping. In mid-winter. With no sheets over me. And the windows open. And a fan blowing on me.)

I thanked them for their concern and assured them not to worry, that I was fine.

"As long as you're healthy enough to tip," said A. "So, how long have you been out?"

"Not long. Just since 2:00."

Her eyes went wide.

"Uh.... it's 6:15, you know."


Suddenly I felt very, very tired.

I decided that four and a half hours was more than enough exercise time (I had to walk another 20 minutes to get home) even for me.

I indulged myself with a large toffee nut iced coffee to go. I knew if I sat down I would be in trouble.

So I didn't.

When I got home, I decided to hop in the shower, then flop on my couch.

I pulled off my sneakers...

And immediately cursed myself.

My poor feet are... well, those dogs are ugly. That is not false modesty. They have taken a beating over the years.

Ingrown toenails, broken toes, several surgeries, a propensity for blisters... the end result are tootsies that will NOT see the light of day when I am full-time if I can avoid it.

(Fashion question: can you wear winter boots with a sundress? Just curious.)

Before I go for a walk for exercise, I always tape several of my toes, as well as the side and back of both feet. They're prone to blisters, and the nails tend to be a bit soft.

Being a total ditz these days (this has to be related to getting more and more blonde as my transition progresses), it simply never occurred to me to do so before I left.

I will spare you the gory details, but can sum it up accordingly:


Suffice it to say that those socks have been sent to the Great Laundromat in the Sky - permanently.

Once I was in the shower, I quickly determined that things looked much worse than they really were.  Essentially, two toes were a bit chewed up.

And now, several hours later, they are simply a bit tender.

In hindsight, I think the Ambulatory Angels took pity on me and let me off easy.

This time.

I can assure you I most definitely will *not* forget  my pre-exercise podiatry prevention routine anytime soon!

I have a photo of my tortured tootsies as my wallpaper on my iPhone to remind me.

OK, I made that up. :c)

It isn't my wallpaper, but I *did* take a picture.

Believe me, that is more than enough!


P.S. I've lost five pounds in two-plus weeks. :c)

Downward and onward!!!


This gives me a reason to post a few clips of one of my favorite bands, who do not get anywhere near the love they deserve: Little Feat.

They were a phenomenal live band at their peak in the early- to mid-Seventies (before frontman Lowell George's drug use took its toll), on a par with The Who, Led Zeppelin, and other legendary live acts. Here they perform George's classic ode to truckers, "Willin'" from the superb Live at Ultrasonic Studio bootleg in 1974:

If you can find this, grab it! It is wonderful.

Here's a wonderful version of the endlessly funky"Fat Man In The Bathtub," from 1976:

And last, a haunting version of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home," with Bonnie Raitt. 

I just found this tonight. It is really something, and is helped in no small part by Lowell's inspired slide-guitar work. His slide playing is utterly unique and as a distinctive as George Harrison's; high praise in the Book of Cass...

As a bonus, here's a version with the pre-song chatter. Bonnie is charming, especially when she teases Lowell about how cute she thinks he is:


Stace on May 5, 2013 at 9:21 AM said...

I don't know, i wear summer boots in winter :)When i went full time in the middle of winter it discovered that i needed brown boots for a few outfits, and so on day two (december 14th in North Europe, i went to a shop to recommended by a co-worker. And saw some beautiful nubuck brown boots that cant get wet. And bought them :) Wonderful in the summer and a pain in the neck to keep looking good in winter :)


Cassidy on May 5, 2013 at 1:26 PM said...

Ooohhh... I was only kidding, but I *love* boots, so this is great to know! lol

I suspect I'll mostly be wearing boots, sneakers, and flats, as heels will likely be an issue. My ankles are quite weak, unfortunately, for several reasons.

I fractured my right ankle when I was 15, and it never healed properly. That led to *both* ankles tending to roll easily. (It's why I couldn't get out of the way of the van back in January.)

I also learned, much to my surprise, that my right leg is longer than the left during a free chiropractic exam. I'm sure that played a factor in my foot and ankle woes. (They were amazed I don't have back problems.)

But I digress. :c) I shall henceforth keep my eyes peeled for all-season boots. lol Thank you for the tip, Stace!


P.S. Hope you had a good week *and* weekend! Also, your boots sound pretty awesome! :-p

Jenna on May 7, 2013 at 2:37 AM said...

Cass, thanks for not tarring me with the "nut" brush. Most people that know me wouldn't hesitate to do that :-) I think it has something to do with taking on stupid challenges like marathons and such-like.

It must have been a lovely day if you could manage to walk for over 4 hours.

Boots are awesome, only thing I'm finding at the moment is that they don't seem to be designed to last more than a year before they need repairing or replacing.

Hope you find some pretty awesome boots.

Cassidy on May 7, 2013 at 11:36 PM said...

Hi Jenna!

I have been looked at askance enough times to know to do unto others. :c) I only *wish* I could do what you do.

As for my walk, I chalk it up mostly to my high pain threshold, lack of common sense, and general blonde-ness. (This really is a thing with me now, apparently, given how absent-minded and clumsy I am...)

I will keep you posted on my boot patrol. :c)

== Cass

bashashhazbaz on May 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM said...

ouch, ouch and more ouch! well i hope the tootsies are healing and personally i love seeing gals in boots, too, at all times of the year so go crazy! :)

Cassidy on May 9, 2013 at 9:39 PM said...

@ bashashhazbaz: Positive reinforcement is duly noted. :c) Thanks!!!!

The tootsies are coming along, happily. They will be ready for duty this weekend!

I owe you a reply, btw. I wrote it last week, but I cannot find it. I am so, so blonde these days it isn't funny. :c) Anyway, keep an eye on your inbox!

== Cass

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