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Das Boot

I hate it, but today I am wearing my boot.

Let me back up. A couple of months ago, I broke my foot. How doesn't matter; the fact is, I have a broken bone in my foot and it hurts. I went to an orthopedic surgeon, and he told me that I need to wear a boot that goes from my toes to my knee and come back in a month. By that time, one of three things will have happened: it will have gotten better, it will be the same, or it will be worse. If it's anything but the first one, I will need an MRI and a possible surgery, from which the recovery would be measured in months. Well then, give me that damn boot.

The boot is ingenious. I can't move my ankle at all. Think that's funny? Try walking without moving your ankle. The Lovely Louise says that I do a sort of “hoppity shuffle” when I try to walk. I think I'm going to report her for violating my rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Walking is tough because the bottom of the boot isn't flat. It's rounded, which is supposed to make it easier to go from heel to toe when walking. It also makes me at least an inch taller on the left side. I can stand on my left leg and do a complete spin if I lift up my right foot. What a dance move.

I've been told that, because of the disparity in height between the two sides when I wear the boot, I could be damaging my hip by standing and walking abnormally. It was suggested that crutches would be better. I've used crutches before, however, and they're not for me (although they are great for whacking people who get in your way).

A thought has occurred to me: Now that I have a broken foot and a boot, am I temporarily disabled? Does that mean I can get a handicap placard for my truck? I just checked on the Internet and I do qualify for one. It certainly would make things easier. Problem is, I don't feel disabled; I feel silly. And by the time I get everything filled out and have my doctor complete his part, I won't need the damned thing anymore. Never mind.

The day after tomorrow I have to fly back to Cape Cod on business. Can I get someone to take me to the boarding gate in a wheelchair? Do I get preferred boarding for people “who need more time”? Can I get an aisle seat on the right side of the plane so I can stick my left foot out into the aisle and trip everyone? Will it help me get a sympathy upgrade to business class?

I wrote the first draft of this before my trip. I'm now back, and here's an update: No wheelchair, no preferred boarding, and no upgrade. I had booked the exit row so I could have extra room for my boot, but Spirit Airlines wouldn't let me sit in the exit row because I'm “disabled.” If I'm disabled, why won't you give me preferred boarding? Huh? Seriously—huh?

Here's an interesting fact: At night, when I take off the boot, my ankle doesn't want to bend because it's been relaxing all day with the boot doing all the heavy lifting. It’s a strange feeling, and I shuffle along even worse after taking the boot off. And now that my other ankle's doing extra work, it's starting to get sore as well. Pretty soon my left foot will disappear entirely, and I'll be hopping everywhere.

I've been thinking about going out in the boat. If I do, I'm not wearing the boot, since just being on the boat is enough instability. Here's the problem: I won't wear the boot in the boat. If I don't wear the boot, Louise will kill me. Therefore I cannot go out in the boat. Damn.


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