My mom’s memorial service is tomorrow morning.
I’m still breathing, and I guess I’m holding it together somewhat because here I am typing, not hiding under my blanket in a dissociative state.
I can’t wear pretty or even most normal shoes. I’d like to look nice for my mom’s service. I’m unable to wear anything resembling girl shoes at this time, so a dress is definitely out. Planning what to wear has been horrible, in one way it doesn’t matter, in another it matters a great deal, and mostly, it is just making the fact that mom is gone way, way, too real.
I’ve been wearing one pair of sneakers for the past year or so since this hemiplegic migraine stuff started. I only have one pair of shoes that I can get my weak foot into without it crumpling up inside or twisting when I walk. Once I determined I had a nice pantsuit to wear, I was not too keen on wearing these beat up blue sneakers with it.
I asked Hubby to help me buy some nicer shoes. I need it to be totally flat, no arch support, and no memory foam that they seem to be putting in everything, and no heels of course, and no odd textured soles that slip out from under me. I need the shoe itself to be lightweight, I’m already limping and dragging. It needs to be flexible, not too stiff, so it doesn’t push back against the way I limp and trip me.
I tried on some cute shoes first. That was a mistake, because it hurt deeply when I couldn’t even stand up in them, unable to support any weight on my weak foot and ankle. Next I tried some loafer styles, but they were too open and didn’t come up high enough and slipped right off my noodlish foot. You see, you don’t think about how much muscle tone your foot has, but when it is gone you can’t even hold a slipper on it, it just slides off when you lift your leg. Next I tried some shoes that had laces, almost like men’s dress shoes. They stayed on, but either my toes crumpled up and I couldn’t flatten them inside, or they were too stiff and heavy.
Cue the flashback. And the tears. I was suddenly 12 again, desperately trying to get a recently paralyzed leg to wear the 7th grade band uniform black dress shoes to go with the black skirt. I made myself a toe splint out of popsicle sticks and medical tape, one stick under each toe and then a support bar under the ball of the foot and one on its side in between each toe jam, and between the toes and ball. Then I packed tissue in all around it to make up for loss of muscle tone, and taped the shoe to my actual foot in every place I could as well to keep it from sliding off. I made it through the concert and afterwards unwrapped a very bloody foot that night, but I was very pleased with myself because it worked, the shoe stayed on. I played perfectly and smiled prettily during the concert, no one knew about the construction set in my toes or the blood seeping into the tissues. I thought that was a normal solution and that I did a good job. No one, not even my parents knew what I did or how it hurt. They didn’t force me to do this, I did it myself, because I had to. I knew I had to hide my flaws, solve my own problems, and smile while doing it. So I did.
I told Hubby about the flashback and wiped away the tears. He said something like, “This is so not fair you have to go through this again” I said “yes, but this time, you need to tell me that the shoes don’t matter. Right?? That if the only shoes I can find are zebra striped and hot pink, that I’m more important. That walking without pain, that not falling, is more important. You need to tell me that now. Tell me.” Seriously I am laughing at the absurdity of the cruelty of the universe to have weakened my leg so much again, to send me back to these childhood memories. But I’m almost wondering if I have to relive some of this crap to let it go. Because this time I won’t hurt myself, and this time I have people that care more about me than the impression it would make if people knew I couldn’t wear the proper shoe.
Hubby looked right at me and told me the words I should have heard long ago. That its okay to show up wearing whatever shoes can get me there with the least amount of pain. That no one cares if my shoes match, that they only care about me. Then he looked at me with that sideways look he gets, and asked if that was what I need to hear? Because he thought I should know that. I confirmed I needed to hear it, needed permission to do something ‘wrong’ like wear the wrong shoes, because I’ve never been important, I’ve never been anything. He says ‘Hmmm…’
We both seemed to gain strength from that, and looked over the store shelves one last time before giving up. I finally found something! I couldn’t have done it without Hubby’s help – both his physical help of bending and getting shoes from low shelves, and his emotional support. I would have given up like I had the other times I had tried to find shoes in the past year and came back with only my ratty old sneakers again.
So I am sorry mom. I tried, I really did, but the only shoes I could find are actually suede boots. But it snowed again yesterday so boots aren’t so out of season even though it is Spring, and it will look fine with my black jacket. And with a little luck I won’t fall when I wear these-practicing at home here today. They aren’t comfortable, that would be asking too much – but they are lightweight, flexible, flat, and have good traction.
This made me think of an old commercial for perfect fitting socks…found it… 🙂
So my noodlish drop foot is only one concern weighing on me. I’m dealing with each one as it comes up, somehow. But I feel like a punching bag. Or maybe a barfbag. Katy Perry feels like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind. I have one of those stuck in the thorns of my rose bush outside, so maybe that works too. I feel baggy. Out of control. And so damn tired. Enough already.
Shoes done – check!
Next I get to fight with my insurance company and see why they denied approval for my surgery. On Wednesday. Yeah. Seriously. Just let me take care of myself without fighting so hard. Why….