Chick Wit: Finding a blessing in a bunion

Posted: January 08, 2012

I know I've written about my feet before, but changes are afoot.

Sorry.

To begin, my feet barely look human anymore. My soles have thickened to an elephant's hide, and my toenails have turned to horn, curved and yellowing.

I don't have feet, I have hooves.

Bottom line, I'm becoming a centaur. Or maybe a Minotaur. Either way, I'm not getting remarried anytime soon.

Unless Thing Three is the Old Spice guy.

To top it off, my amazing disappearing little toenail is now long gone. I guess it was vestigial. I think it dissolved into my sock when I was 51 or so, but I forget.

Turns out that memory is vestigial, too.

I suppose a pedicure would solve these foot problems, but I generally ignore them. I don't want to inflict my feet on a salon, which probably lacks the requisite nuclear weaponry.

But now there's something about my feet that I can't ignore.

First, a warning.

The following may be an overshare, but why stop now? Overshare is my middle name. Besides, how can sharing too much ever be wrong? It's the season of giving, so here goes:

I have a bunion.

You know what that is? The Internet will give you the medical details, but all I know is that a few years ago, that big bone on the side of my foot started growing sideways, completing my transformation into a gargoyle.

Nobody told me that in middle age, I would turn into something from the Middle Ages.

But as you know, I try to look on the bright side. For example, I'll be more stable on a windy day, now that my foot is sprouting a foot. I'll be harder to knock over now, though I bet nobody will try. They'd be afraid I'd bite them with my pointy teeth or fly at them on leathery wings.

I'm cranky, for a mythical beast. After all, I'm a menopausal mythical beast.

But to stick to the story, I ignored my bunion for as long as I could, which means until all my fancy shoes couldn't fit anymore. I'm lucky enough to have quite a few pairs of nice shoes, which I save for signings and dates.

OK, mostly for signings.

But a bunion renders all those great shoes unwearable. In other words, a peep-toe is sexy. A peep-bunion is not.

Plus it's straight-up unfair of your body to be growing something new, at this point in life. Middle age is already undignified enough, with waistlines widening willy-nilly and chins sprouting hair, like bamboo for the face. Now, my bones are stretching my skin.

Which is my fat's job.

Honestly, if I get stretch marks, I want it to be from chocolate cake.

So I went to the doctor's for my annual exam, and he took one look at my right foot, frowning. "You can't keep ignoring this bunion," he said, gently.

"I can't?" I asked, and then I corrected myself. "I agree, I can't. But why?" I didn't explain that I ignore everything bad, in the hope that it will go away.

This works, but only with husbands.

The doctor continued: "If you deal with it now, you can avoid general anesthesia. You can get a local block."

"You mean I need surgery?"

"Yes." The doctor pointed to my second toe. "See how your big toe is shifting over and taking up the room where your second toe should be? If you don't fix this, in time, your second toe will be on top of your big toe. That's called hammertoe."

I tried not to vomit in my mouth.

"This may run in your family," said the doctor.

Then I remembered that all of my aunts wore bedroom slippers everywhere, even to weddings. One aunt even had dress flip-flops, for funerals.

The Flying Scottolines keep it classy.

So by the time you read this, I should have gone under the knife and will have to stay off my feet for seven weeks.

But I'm looking on the bright side. I have a new book to write and I like sitting.

God willing, I'm going to earn some stretch marks.


Lisa Scottoline's new novel, "Come Home," will be published April 10. Lisa and Francesca Serritella's book, "Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter," is in bookstores now. Visit Lisa at scottoline.com.

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