About two weeks ago, at my daughter’s 6 year check up, we were told that Alli needed to see a podiatrist. Apparently when she stands up, her feet spread out and become flat and her pediatrician was concerned about it enough to refer us to a specialist.
Now, Alli has always had small issues with her feet. When I was pregnant with her, I remember an ultrasound picture where all you could see was her foot. That’s all there was to the picture, it was the blackness of the amniotic fluid and one big foot in the middle of the screen. When she was a baby, I had to cut the feet off of all of her sleepers, because her feet were too big to fit into them. I remember looking at the bottoms of a pair of newborn pajamas and thinking, “Really? Are you kidding me?”
About three months ago, she started complaining about ballet class. She said she didn’t want to go, that her feet felt too tired to do ballet. Alli has taken ballet since she was 4. She has been in two ballet recitals and loved every minute of them. For her to say she doesn’t want to go to ballet is a huge deal. I tried bribing her to go, I even told her that if she doesn’t go that she cannot be in the recital (which is true, as it turns out), and she still held her ground and insisted that she was finished with ballet for good.
Cut to today. We walked into the Podiatrists office, gave the nurse our name, and sat down to wait. Do you know how to tell if you are in an eastern shore doctor’s office? Go to the supply of magazines they keep for the waiting patients. If you see any copies of Field and Stream, or the special double issue of Deer and Deer Hunter Magazine, then you are definitely on the right side of the bay. Plus, when they ask for your co-pay and you hand them a credit card, they proceed to run the card through one of those slidie things that I haven’t seen since 1987 when I worked at The Gap.
So, do you know who most often visits the podiatrist? Apparently it is the elderly and diabetics, which makes sense when you think about it. The body parts first and most profoundly affected by both diabetes and old age are the feet. We sat down in the chairs and there was an elderly man sitting in a wheelchair about 5 seats to our left. He obviously had been dropped off by a local nursing home or hospice care situation. He was the sort of old man who is slumped over in his wheelchair, drooling and randomly spitting out incoherent sounds. Well, he was freaking my daughter out. She was staring really hard at her Scooby Doo Magazine while occasionally stealing peeks out of the corners of her eyes. At one point, after a particularly loud outburst, she tugged on my sleeve and pleaded, “Can we please go see the Doctor NOW, mom?” I felt sort of bad for her, and was about to suggest that we switch to the other side of the waiting room, when I suddenly focused on the poor man’s face. He was staring at Alli, and for a brief moment looked sort of happy. I decided that she could endure a little more discomfort in a doctor’s waiting room if it was the right thing to do.
The appointment was very illuminating. It turns out that Alli has very loose ligaments. The Podiatrist described feet as being like one of those rafts from Gilligan’s Island. You know, like the ones that are made of logs and held together with vines? When the vines are tight, the raft stays together and floats, and when the vines are loose, the logs spread out when stepped on. Luckily, she won’t need special shoes, but just special inserts in the shoes she already has. I apparently also need to buy her shoes with unyielding soles and heels on them. Like athletic shoes and those Stride Rite Mary Jane School Shoes.
All in all, it could have been worse. The best thing I was hoping for was to be told that she was absolutely perfect and fine. The worst case scenario was for her to have to wear special shoes or some other type of apparatus. This was sort of in the middle. There was a problem, but it had a simple and easy solution. Whew! Glad that over! Now, we just need to get her ears checked out next month. That might be a whole new adventure