The phone rang at exactly 6 p.m. I was in the kitchen, trying to decide what to make for dinner. Pasta or chicken? Pasta and chicken? I don’t normally answer the phone, but something compelled me to pick it up.
"Do you still need my help?" he asked. "I have an opening at 11:30 tomorrow morning."
Finally a real conversation with the man I’d been playing phone tag with for two weeks! I did a little victory dance.
"Yup. That works for me. See you then."
I hung up the phone feeling as giddy as if George Stroumboulopoulos had called to ask me out. No, this was way more exciting. I had a date with a podiatrist!
Not to get into too much detail, but I have a painful condition called Morton’s neuroma, which is an inflamed nerve between the third and fourth toe. I got it after months of cycling in too small shoes. The nerve was repeatedly being pinched until it swelled up and stayed that way. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me; other times it feels like a hot knife is being jabbed into the ball of my foot.
I diagnosed myself last summer after consulting my collection of medical reference books (a staple on every good hypochondriac’s bookshelf). None of the suggested treatments -- bigger shoes, ice, an addiction to painkillers -- worked.
Admitting that it just wasn’t going to go away on its own, I called a podiatrist. My friend Leandro, a nurse, offered his support, "Why are you going to a podiatrist? I’ve never heard of anyone under the age of 70 going to a podiatrist."
Old or not, I realized my feet were in no condition to be fondled by a strange man. I clipped my nails, painted my toes hot pink, and slathered my feet in moisturizer. I mean, you brush your teeth before going to the dentist, right? And what if the podiatrist turned out to be hot?
The next day
After scrubbing my feet raw, I pulled on a pair of clean socks and laced up my old-school adidas sneakers. I figured showing up in sensible shoes would earn me some bonus points.
I shouldn’t have bothered. After asking a few questions and digging his fingers into the ball of my foot, the podiatrist told me he couldn’t help me.
"You have a neuroma," he said. "That’s not my specialty."
Excuse me? What exactly was his specialty then? Clipping toenails and sanding calluses? I wore clean socks for this?
He gave me the phone number of another doctor, a sports podiatrist.
"He’s young and specializes in sports injuries. I think you’ll really like him."
I swear, the way he said it made it sound like the other doctor was cute and available. I’m going to set up an appointment first thing Monday morning.
Wait a minute! It’s Sunday evening already? Going to the podiatrist was the highlight of my weekend? And I wrote about it? I am officially old.