(Note: This essay was chosen as a winner in the 2020 Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Competition. I’ll read the essay at a reception hosted by Betsy Bombeck, Erma’s daughter, at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, in April.)
I limped into the doctor’s office, grimacing with every other step. My strong right foot was ready to dance half of a festive polka, but the left foot hurt as if I were walking in a box of rocks over the smoldering ashes of my broken dreams. I explained to the doctor how the agony in my heel was worse in the morning, and I wanted to stay in bed, read books, and hire a mysterious Italian hunk named Antonio to bring me brunch and sing ballads.
“You have plantar fasciitis,” Doctor Rodgers said after manipulating my foot. The diagnosis sounded sophisticated and serious.
“Am I going to die?” I asked, mentally assessing who should receive my collection of original Beatles’ albums after the fatal fasciitis destroyed my plantar.
The doctor stifled a groan. “The plantar fascia is a fibrous tissue that extends along the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Your foot hurts because the tissue has serious inflammation.”
Those were medical terms I could understand. I had issues with tissues.
“Do you jog?” The doctor peered at my matronly body covered with black sweatpants and large shirt featuring the words: “I Heart Donuts.” We both laughed.
“Do you wear high-heeled shoes?”
“Not since the Reagan Administration,” I answered. “And, only for fancy fundraising dinners. I’ll never forget the Spring Gala of 1988 when I wore silver satin heels and Lydia Zollinger spilled red wine on my shoe. I dumped the rest of her wine on the other shoe so they would match.”
Dr. Rodgers cleared her throat, indicating she didn’t care about the Spring Gala. She proceeded to describe remedies that included stretching exercises, ice packs, wraps, shoe inserts, oils, and orthopedic shoes. None of her recommendations included Antonio, my morning troubadour. She mumbled something about losing weight, but my brain had a mental block against such wicked words. Chubby people don’t need to be told to lose weight.
Then she recommended a treatment called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy.
“I might be an older, full-bodied woman with a limp,” I retorted, “but I don’t need shock therapy.”
Shock Wave Therapy – 9-Second video
“The technique uses a wand to distribute shock waves over the bottom of your foot,” she explained patiently. “Most clients report immediate improvement.”
At the scheduled appointment, the technician moved the magic machine over my foot, promising it wouldn’t hurt. After the procedure ended, I gently stood and rejoiced because the pain was gone. I was ready for both feet to dance a lively polka down Main Street. Full of gratitude, I decided to add the technician’s name to my Will. She can have the Beatles’ albums.