Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Curvy from my head to my toes

If you've met me know you know I'm a curvy woman, with a close to hour glass figure (or hour and a half figure as my sister once described). In fact, even my feet are curvy. At least, that's how my podiatrist described them during my third post-surgical check-up following a bunionectomy and metatarsal osteotomy two months ago.

I was just gearing up to hop off the exam table to grab a copy of US News and World Report when Dr. Basile burst into the room and said, "How are you?"

"Great. How are you?" was my reply. And in fact, I was great. I had worn high heels three days without any pain at the surgical site. I had tried cross-country skiing and was pleased to get my boots on and understanding when the motion was too painful. I've been walking regularly without any sign of a limp and the final bits of the dissolving stitches had finally left my foot.

"I'm glad to hear that, because I'm not happy with the way your foot has healed."

"What does that mean?" I said, immediately suspicious. I tensely shifted my foot which was resting on the pull out tray at the base of the exam table.

Dr. Basile grabbed my foot and explained that my big toe was still significantly curled towards the center of my foot. Before the surgery it was resting under the second toe. Now the gap between the two toes is maybe big enough to slide a dime between, lengthwise.

He went on to explain "I'm pretty anal about the toe being as straight as possible. And in fact, I have patients whose toes are much straighter than yours who have been angry with me when they realize their toe is not 100% straight. Let me show you what is happening on the x-rays."

I pulled on my sock and my brown suede Dansko clog and followed him into the hall. He showed me the before and after xrays, where I could clearly see the loss of bone on the left instep (the bunionectomy) and the location of the two screws at the base of my metatarsal series in the big toe. I could also see that the change in the arc of the curve on my big toe is slight, enough to keep it from bumping into the second toe, but not enough to change the fundamental shape of my foot.

Dr. Basile said, "I can fix it by cutting the top bone in the big toe, and inserting another set of screws. I didn't want to do this at first, because your recovery time would be longer, and it would reduce the flexibility of your toe." He looked at my querulously.

"It is curvy. I'm curvy." I said to Dr. Basile. "As long as being curvy doesn't hurt, I'm okay with leaving this alone." I started to walk away.

Dr. Basile smiled and chuckled. "You are going to be fine," he said as I waved good-bye and headed out the door.

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