Monday, July 9, 2012

The Month of the Foot



http://www.hasslefreeclipart.com/clipart_bodyparts/images/foot2.gif/
I am two-and -a-half weeks into recovery from foot surgery, and there isn't a lot to think about when your day is spent reading one book after another while your foot is propped up on 3 or 4 pillows to keep it above your waist. (The first 2 weeks it was above my heart.) I could be doing book reviews, true, but it would be hard to pick one. I think I've read about 20 books in two weeks! 


I keep wondering how this experience will play into my writing. Will it? Can it? I write mainly for kids. I had bunions and hammer-toes, an adult affliction that develops over time. The protagonist in my present WIP is a ten-year-old girl in the Victorian era, when corrective surgery for these didn't exist, and ten-year-olds wouldn't even know what they were.


Write what you know. Well, at present, what I know is all about foot surgery for bunions and hammertoes. Maybe one of you can have a character with this problem, in which case, please help yourself to the following information. 
                                        
This is kinda what my feet looked like before surgery. I had one of each of these on each foot. And let me tell you, they are really uncomfortable. Almost all my shoes started rubbing painful blisters. I could only wear those comfy sliders that look like bedroom slippers. You know the ones I mean. My feet looked a little in between the picture on the left below and the picture on the right. You get the general idea.


                         



I had the right foot done last summer, and the left foot done on June 22nd this summer. It's amazing what the doctor does: He cuts bone. Yes. He cuts the bunion off. Then he cuts the hammertoe off and pins that toe so that it's flat. Yeah. A pin. (That comes out after 5 weeks). The new big toe, now minus a bunion, has a little screw in the joint. That's forever. 


When the foot is all healed up, it looks like a normal foot again, like the feet in the next picture. So far, my right foot looks like one of these. My left foot will soon. But that's not why I had it done. Believe me, I would have kept having my shoes stretched across the toe before having my bones cut. This is not something to do for cosmetic reasons. I did it because of discomfort and pain. I couldn't wear any shoe with comfort, and I couldn't do much walking for exercise. 
But now that I do have normal feet again (or will, when the swelling on this one goes down), I admit I am looking forward to wearing nice shoes again like the ones way below. 


Meanwhile, I suppose I can weave part of this experience into a story: If my MC gets sick in a sequel, I know what she feels like while recuperating, longing to be outside again; longing to walk around and say hello to friends or admire gardens or go peer in a shop window. I know, too, how tired of reading she might become, no matter how much she loves to read. Nothing gets completely wasted on a writer, does it? 


How about you? Have you been through some experiences you can't really find a way to put per se into a story except to cull out bits and pieces?




                 


By the way, you may have noticed these shoes don't have pointy toes or high heels. But they beat the bedroom slipper look. 

30 comments:

Rosi said...

I'm glad you are doing so well and glad to hear your first surgery healed so well. I did not have have experience. I will never be able to wear open-toed shoes or sandles again.8-( But at least I don't have the terrible pain anymore.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

You are so right about the pain. I euphemistically call it discomfort, but anyone know that's a code word for pain.

Joanna said...

No idea it could be so painful, and I am so glad that you can look forward to pain-free walking and some pretty shoes and sandals again! The only similar experience I have had was recurring ingrowing toenail as a kid that would end up bloody and pussy. In the end I had to have the outer edges of the big toe nail removed.. it was an ouch experience too! One appreciates one's feet and the pounding the receive in a whole new way. Here's to speedy healing of the left foot, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Thanks, Joanna!

Catherine A. Winn said...

Hope you feel better soon and no more of that kind of problem. Definitely use this experience in your work, maybe the MC's mom or grandma could be recuperating fromt this and he/she has to wait on her hand and foot :)

In my thirties I started feeling pain after coming home from work wearing pointy high heels. I stopped wearing them and didn't look back. I only wear small pumps when necessary and wear SAS comfort shoes the rest of the time if not my cross trainers. I'm so glad I made that choice.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Carherine, I hadn't worn spike heels, but the damage was done. It was showing up before I became sensible about shoes. But it's also hereditary. Bad shows just hurry it on. Happily those days are over! I probably can't use the experience in this book. But I have other books in me! :-)

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

What I meant to say was that I hadn't worn spike heels in years, but. . . .

Tanya Reimer said...

Funny how we do use these things in our writing. When I look back, I write about a lot of characters with headaches. In fact, in every book someone has a headache for a different reason. You'll probably be surprised how valuable this experience is to you. Glad to hear you're doing better and hope you can get outside soon!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Tanya, yes, it's funny, isn't it. WhenI was teaching, I only had summers off, and so many of my stories from that time had hot July mornings and sweltering August afternoons in them. :-)

Ann Best said...

All experience is useful for writers! I would say I'm sorry about your having to have foot surgery, Elizabeth, but yes, it all gives us experience and is for our good, so I believe! I send warm healing vibes in your direction.

Thanks for stopping by. I always like to see your smiling face on my occasional post. At least I'm managing to get something up once in a while. But right now my daughter needs me, so this will be my last comment of the afternoon. See you later....

Ann

Lydia Kang said...

You and your poor feet! I'm glad you're healing, slowly but surely!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Hi, Ann, thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy your blog. You are so upbeat! Thanks for the good wishes re: my foot, and I agree, I'm sure I can use this experience some time. Best wishes for you and your daughter.

Hey, Lydia, thanks for the good wishes. I'm 3/5 through the recuperation process. Can't wait to be out and about again!

Miranda Hardy said...

Sounds like a painful ailment. Hope they heal quickly and give you no more trouble.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Thanks, Miranda!

Nick Wilford said...

Glad to hear the surgery has gone well so far! Hope you're all healed soon and can get about.

A lot of my writing feels like fumbling blind or it's something I've only learnt through research. So it's always nice to get in something from real life even if it's just something minor.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Foot surgery involving the bone sounds awful! But glad you won't be in pain anymore.
Thanks for the kind words at Rachna's blog and the follow!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Nick, I know what you mean. I'm always reading about how you should incorporate the familiar into your writing, but I'm beginning to realize that's a little different that I thought. Probably just little chips of an experience will do. (Say, using a walker to get around in my case.) Although, who knows, one of my characters may yet have foot surgery! :-)

Alex, it sounds worse than it feels, because vicodin took care of what would have been the painful days. It's more inconvenient. Luckily, my hubby has been taking great care of me, and I've been burying myself in books!

Julia Hones said...

Oh, I've just read this, Elizabeth. I hope you recovered nicely. Take care.

Julia Hones said...

Elizabeth, I've just tagged you on my blog.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm glad you're recovering, Elizabeth. My aunt had this done a # of years ago, and she told me how painful it was during recovery. Read is a good way to spend the time.

I think you can use the feeling of feeling ill and being cooped inside in a # of scenarios. I know someone who is writing about someone dying of AIDS and now has a better understanding of being sick after she went through chemo.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Elizabeth - I'm glad you're on the road to recovery - I loved your post! A great reminder that even the challenges in life can be used as inspiration in our writing. Take Care ~

Margaret Duarte said...

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Elizabeth. I like those red shoes, but the white sandals look a lot more comfortable. Bet you find a way to incorporate your experience into your fiction. You're a writer. You can't help it.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Thanks for the tag,, Julia. I'm catching up on book reviews I have to turn in, but when I finish those, I'll address the tag and pass it on.

Theresa, after the first week or so, it really hasn't been very painful, and earlier I was on pain meds, so it wasn't painful then either. Maybe your aunt didn't elevate her foot enough or ice it often enough. Those are the two things my Dr. emphasized. It's been more tedious than anything.

Victoria and Margaret, you are right. Whatever the challenge, a writer always files it away for the future. It's always, "Oh, well, some day I'll write about this...."

Claudia Del Balso said...

I think you can incorporate your recovery experience and overall feelings in your MS even if it's for kids. Children have accidents and get sick, too. A lot of them have also experienced surgery (I did when I was eight years old and to this day, I still remember every detail). And if none of this applies, then you've probably learned a lot from reading 20 books in two weeks ;) What a feat! I applaud you for that. It takes me for ever to finish one :(
I wish you a speedy recovery.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Thanks Claudia. The longer I'm in bed, the more I notice how it feels, so I'm sure I will work it in somehow. Meanwhile, I went back and counted my books. Seventeen, although I've passed twenty now. Considering how much I love to read, you'd be surprised how tiring that can get when that's all you can do! But. . . . day after tomorrow the pin comes out, and I'll soon be running around on two feet again!

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Elizabeth,
I hope your feet are much better now. I can only imagine the discomfort you've experienced.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Thanks, Joy. The end is in sight, though. Tomorrow the pin comes out , and I'll soon be running around on two feet. Can't wait!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hope your foot has completely healed, Elizabeth. You sure are reading a lot. I feel the more I read, the better I acquaint myself with different plots and story lines.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Rachna, that's the big bonus! I have soooo much more time to just read, read, read. Of course even reading can get old. But it has definitely immersed me in words so nicely strung together that I'm eager to write.

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