I’m trying to find the benefits of aging, but outside of still being alive, I struggle with seeing anything good in the process. For me, it’s meant watching what I eat more and more, curbing alcohol because my body just can’t recover like it did in it’s 30s, and a long list of pains that seem to pop up now and then, from my lower back to various tendon problems.
I tore the meniscus in my knee a few years ago. I stepped into a hole walking. Perhaps the worst one, though has been my feet. Several years ago now, I got plantar fasciitis. Every morning for six months, I woke in excruciating pain. I even had to crawl to the bathroom from my bed a few times it hurt so much. That cleared up, and I do some preventative exercises to keep it at bay, that have worked, thank God.
But I’m pretty sure that caused my other issue in my foot, Morton’s Neuroma. Ths is basically a growth on the nerve leading to your toes. It’s easy to fix according to my podiatrist, but very difficult to recover from the surgery. Most people never have any feeling in their toes again. So I have opted to just treat it without surgery, hoping for the best. It’s apparently caused by repetitive trauma. It’s also common for women who wear high heels. Huh. That’s great. I can play up the repetitive trauma part, as I was a jock for the first 20 years of my life. But the heel thing will definitely come back to haunt me at some point. Someone’s wife is going to know what this is and spill the beans. It’s OK, I’ve got thick skin, I can take it.
The worst part about Morton’s Neuroma has been my shoe selection. I was raised on the belief that a man only has two things they can do to show their personal style, a watch, and shoes. My ex-wife’s family used to go so far as to explain how that’s how they evaluate someone they meet, by their watch and shoes. So Morton’s Neuroma is aggravated by wearing tight shoes, or shoes with limited arch support. I’ve had to go up anywhere from a half size to a full size and go as wide as I can just to get a shoe that doesn’t cause a flare-up.
The flare-up ranges from feeling like your sock has slid down under your toes with a marble in it to flat out pain and swelling. I’ve had to seek out shoes that don’t look too bad and that have a lot of padding on the sole. My first attempt was just getting some good running shoes, thinking they would have the best support. Nope. They are now designed to be as light as possible. So I looked at just a good sneaker. But the colors were God-awful. Gone were the days of anything mild or conservative in an athletic shoe. Bright oranges and yellows on a shoe? I must have tried on a dozen shoes, and by the end of the session, I had some that I had settled on. Two pairs, actually, one I could live with being seen in, and another that was wonderfully comfortable, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in. They would be inside shoes.
Because the biggest change that happened to me with this goddamned neuroma is that I had to wear shoes all the time. No more coming home and kicking off shoes and socks and walking around to feel the ground on your feet. No, that is forbidden with Morton’s Neuroma. I ended up going through my closet after a year of this and donating my three sets of cowboy boots, my Donald Pliner’s, and a few other very nice, beautiful shoes that I used for work.
Now the challenge has been to find something I can tolerate and still look professional. When I find a shoe that works, I have to buy several pairs because I’m the kiss of death to products. If I don’t buy more than one, I will never find this shoe again and the process will have to start all over again.
It’s maddening. My son is under strict instructions to not let me ever wear Crocs, but I now understand why people my age and older start to migrate towards them. In the end, you just give up and side with something that doesn’t hurt, something that feels OK.
As the old saying goes, “aging is tough, but it beats the alternative.” I’m not sure it beats it by much.