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I am a firm believer in the fact that if your feet hurt everything hurts. Think about it, unless you’re a 100% couch potato, you have to shuffle around on those aching feet to do anything and everything. Right now, I’m not even talking about my usual arthritic feet and crooked toes which have been about my life long enough now that I just take that discomfort as a regular part of my life. But this new foot pain is throwing me for a loop and my hips out of whack.

It was my own fault. If I had listened to that cautious little voice in my head and not tried to climb into the pool on the one-rail ladder, this never would have happened. But, no, not me, I watched as all of the other aqua-fitters ignored that little yellow “Achtung! Beware! Go Away! Do Not Use This Ladder!” sign and slipped into the deep end of the pool. I was not going to be a wimp and get into the pool at one of the other ladders or, heaven forbid, shuffling down the ramp. I backed in, grabbing the one rail with both hands and slipped my foot into the first slot of the ladder. Then, when I reached for the next step, my body did this little twist which caused the next-to-the-baby-toe on my left foot to bang into the back of the step. Ohh, Ohh! I knew I had done something once the brain registered that there was definitely some pain coming from that little toe. I splashed down into the pool very ungracefully and did the class, ignoring the throbbing coming from my left foot. Then, after shuffling to the shower room and getting dressed, I decided to add more than insult to this injury by making my way on foot to a couple of stores and, then, walking the ten blocks home. Needless to say, I paid for that stupidity, too.

But, I’m proud to say, I remembered to put ice on it and made my way to the doctor’s the next day. When I told her the story of how it happened, she just shook her head. We’ve known each other for a long time, so she has become used to my sometime foolishness. An x-ray didn’t see anything broken in there, so after a few days it started feeling better and I knew in my heart that I was on the mend.

Then, this past Thursday, in the pool again, I let my ego take the place of my good old common sense. Since there weren’t very many of us in the pool that day, Christina, the instructor and also my intrepid trainer, decided to have some fun with us. She passed out a second noodle to each of us and then instructed — challenged?? — us to stand on both of them. This was very tricky. As soon as I got one foot on a noodle and pushed down the other, my foot would slip off the first and I’d have to start all over again. Finally, seeing the four of us in the deep end failing monumentally at this task, Christina waved us  to the shallow end. This was not an easy thing to do even there. Before you jump to conclusions about my ineptitude at balancing on two noodles, try it sometime, I dare you. I looked around the pool and saw that everyone else was having some balancing problems too so I felt redeemed. I think Christina did it just to have a good laugh at our expense. But, to my credit, I kept trying and I kept falling off. Finally, when she’d had enough fun she ended the exercise and that pain, at least, stopped. But, when I got out of the pool, my old pain in that little toe on the left foot was back. There was nothing to do but hobble home those ten blocks and hope it would be better in the morning.

But it wasn’t. By Saturday, it was hurting so much I just sat down and cried which, as we all know, doesn’t do a damn bit of good. So I called the foot doctor. I did not hobble up there, but, wisely, for once in my life, called a cab. The doctor looked at my swollen foot and said, “Ann, Ann, Ann. What have you done to this foot?” He is very protective of feet and does not appreciate those of us who mistreat them. I told him all my embarrassing and true stories. Then, with a shake of his head as if the whole mess was my fault — which, I guess it was — told me that I had re-injured that little foot and maybe, perhaps, broken the

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All those bone names that I certainly didn’t learn

metatarsal bone. To illustrate this to my uncomprehending eyes (I am not up on my bone names), he scooted on his little stool over to his model of a foot. He showed me the skeletal toes by pulling them out and springing them back in.  Then, he focused my attention on that itty bitty bone that connects the toes to the foot. “That, he said, is probably what is hurting you.” He gave dire predictions of wearing one of those boots or a cast around for six weeks until this thing heals. As I put my shoes on, he said, “Standing on noodles is banned until this foot heals!” I didn’t tell him, but balancing on a piece of foam in water well over my head always puts a little fear into my exercises, so I knew I would have no problem obeying his orders.

Now, I wait for another x-ray and the final verdict of what I have to do. Just to make things even more interesting, it’s supposed to snow for the next two days which makes my shuffling, painful, getting-around, even more of a challenge. But, hey, it could always be worse.