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Jump into summer — Feet first

Jump into summer — Feet first
Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

After much consideration, the decision was made. Pros outweighed the cons; intellect won over the heart and so I took the sandals off the exhibit and asked the saleswoman to bring a pair in my size. I sat impatiently in the chair, relishing the very thought of having a new pair of sandals snuggled away in my closet. They’d be hidden from sight for the mandatory 3 weeks so that I could then wear them and say truthfully to my husband, “No honey, these aren’t new. I’ve had them for a while now.”

She came out of the shoe inventory door (also known as heaven’s gate) and bobbed toward me carrying several boxes of sandals that may be of interest.

I took off my shoes, slid down my socks and nearly fainted from the sudden awareness of my aged Post Winter Feet. Good lord almighty, there was nowhere to hide. The saleswoman was upon me. My feet were bare and nearly glowed in the unfortunate retail lighting.

As I shuffled my feet beneath one of the boxes that I pretended to drop, she stood there, refusing to move along and help other swooning women. She asked if I needed a nylon stocking and I whispered yes. She handed me a flimsy film of nylon and remained planted in her spot, determined to watch me pull on the sandals.

I scooped the nylon quickly over one foot and put on the shoe. My thick, jagged toenails ripped through the end of the nylon like shark’s teeth. The hoary, cracked skin of my heel snagged and shredded the rest of it. Scars from my ankle replacement surgery three years ago stood out like purple reminders of putting my foot in a margarita blender. My humiliation was complete. Still, I carried on and minced around the sales floor as if I had just come from the mani/pedi salon. The foot-high mirrors told no lies however and it was clear from the bits of nylon and flaking skin floating to the floor that I would have to buy the sandals or be forced to accompany the saleswoman outside to dump them in an incinerator.

At the register, she thanked me for my business and hoped I enjoyed the new sandals. I blurted out that yes, I would enjoy them greatly sometime after several visits to the farrier salon. She smiled politely, wondering – I’m sure – why I had apparently waited 47 years to apply lotion or a soapstone to my feet.

My female compatriots of a certain age, take this cautionary tale to heart. Take a peek at your feet before you hit the shoe store.

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Rest Assured: My unplanned ‘car camping’ experience in Wyoming

By Ann Loyola

It was surprising. It wasn’t the biggest surprise I’d had that day, but I admit I didn’t think my camera accessory bag would end up being a passable pillow, even with my jeans rolled around it for padding.  The 4-inch ledge between my car’s folded backseat and the rear floor mat presented the biggest problem while I snuggled down for a good night’s sleep in the back of my Honda but I resolved that by stuffing some canvas grocery totes under my knees.  Heck, I never remember to bring the bags inside the store with me but thank goodness I carry them around in my car.

The biggest surprise I’d had that day – two Fridays ago to be exact – was discovering that Laramie, Wyo. is such a busy, happenin’ kind of town that every single blasted hotel/motel/B&B was full. I drove into town at 9 p.m., exhausted after 7 hours of driving but looking forward to picking up my daughter from a three-week camp held at the University of Wyoming.

Car emergency kit infographicI called every hotel front desk. I shuffled into the lobby of several lodges only to hear bad news. By 10:45 p.m., I had to accept reality and began making a bed in the back of the car. I didn’t have a coat. Didn’t bring a blanket. I dug around my suitcase and draped clothing over myself. At 3 a.m., I woke up shivering and had to leave my spot in the Fairfield Inn parking lot to drive to the nearest truck stop. I bought a huge “I Heart Wyoming” hoodie, used the potty, and headed back. I considered staying in the truck stop parking lot but vaguely recalled hearing something negative about women hanging out in cars at truck stops.

When I showed up at my daughter’s dorm (and yes, I tried to get permission to sneak into the dorm for the night), I was red-eyed, gritty haired and possibly smelly. Something had bitten the side of my face and my ankle during the night. I had managed to brush my teeth and scrub my face at the truck stop but that was as far as I could go without arousing fear among the other female patrons. So I was partially presentable as I met the other parents, mingled during a nice luncheon and then finally hit the road home.

Sleep is important. Our bodies need ample rest. Our brains function better with the right amount of sleep. More studies are proving that consistent REM-involved sleep can lead to better all-around wellness. That’s why the moral of this story is worth sharing: If you ever have the slightest inkling that you may need to stay overnight in Laramie, Wyo., make a reservation well in advance.

Do you have any travel stories like this to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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Doc Talk: The downside of toughing it out

By Dr. Mo Brown
Orthopedic surgeon

Mo Brown head shot

Dr. Maurice (Mo) Brown

I love taking care of the tough people who live in beautiful Teton Valley. If you live here, you are “tough”. This is not a sit-and-play-checkers-as-the-sun-goes-down kind of place. Our valley is full of tough people. They ski on torn ACLs, they board with broken tailbones, they sled with ripped rotator cuffs, they drive tractors with broken wrists and they go on with their work and recreation for years with these injuries. Really, I have to marvel at the pain these people must endure and the inventions they create to keep on moving.

If you think I’m writing about you, then please read on.

I admire your high pain threshold and your unwillingness to give up any time for rehabilitation because you’re having too much fun or have too much work to do. Just know this: It’s better for you and your orthopedic surgeon to have something to work with when you decide to get “it” fixed, whatever “it” may be.

Just know this: It’s better for you and your orthopedic surgeon to have something to work with when you decide to get “it” fixed, whatever “it” may be.

Orthopedists see X-rays and MRIs that tell the whole story in a few simple images and sometimes, it isn’t pretty.

A good example of long-term damage being the end product of ignoring an injury is a meniscus tear in a knee joint. It’s very common for me to see patients with a “torn and ignored” meniscus. The meniscus is designed to be a protector of the knee joint. But when torn, it becomes a defector and can destroy the joint’s surface cartilage. I see too many patients that have put off treatment because some days it feels fine and they can live with the popping and occasional pain. It’s a bummer to see the joint surface severely damaged when we finally get around to fixing the problem. If I can offer treatment soon after the injury, there is much less damage to the joint surface resulting in a quicker, better recovery and much better long term outlook.

In modern sports medicine we are generally more aggressive when it comes to early rehab. ACL patients start rehab right away — a big change from casting (eek!) and a year in rehab in the early days of ACL reconstruction. However, recent data regarding ankle sprains has led to a step back in how those injuries are managed. Instead of pushing immediate movement, it’s clear that a period of casting or boot immobilization produces better outcomes.

Again, I see lots of patients who ignore a bad ankle sprain and keep on truckin’. They sprain their ankle over and over and ultimately require surgery to reattach or reconstruct the ligaments.

Now, I’m not throwing stones here. I’m just as guilty of delaying treatment. But take my advice: if you get hurt, have it checked out. If you wait too long, what could have been a little R & R with physical therapy or maybe a minor surgical repair can morph into a more complex procedure such as joint replacement.

If you get hurt, have it checked out.

Orthopedics_Mo Brown

Mo Brown and patient

It’s important to know what the consequences can be if you put off medical help for injuries. You may be mentally able to handle physical pain, but your body is sending that pain signal for a reason.

For all of you die-hards out there, let me put it this way: The toughest thing you can do in these situations is to stop your activities, see your doctor and get “it” fixed before it becomes a bigger problem.

Dr. Mo Brown is an orthopedic surgeon at Driggs Health Clinic.

This article originally appeared in the Teton Valley News.

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