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If you are a fan of Bette Midler you are probably aware of one of her (many) popular songs, one in particular is a favorite of mine…‘In These Shoes’. The lyrics are wonderful, funny and maybe a tad over the top for some. This favorite song of mine popped up yesterday while ‘The Little One’ was being fitted for diabetic shoes at Hanger Prosthetic and Orthotics. (You might be familiar with the movie Dolphin Tail, the good folks at Hanger worked on this project, their work is quite moving as is this movie) They are a great company!
Having experience in this procedure with Fr. Orlando a number of years ago, I have been gently bugging ‘The Little One’ to obtain a referral from his PCP for a pair of these diabetic and therapeutic shoes. Finally, our day for our custom fitting was Wednesday!
You might ask…’Why these shoes?‘ It’s no secret that diabetics have an increased risk of developing foot problems. These custom-made therapeutic shoes offer support, relieve stress and strain on the foot and back while providing a better ‘walk’. Watching “The Little One” walk over the past few months, I have grown concern with his balance and his foot ware. Asking him to change shoes, well…uh…hmm…change can be difficult, even with shoes. (While the closet is full of shoes, some of them should really stay in the closet!) Having these custom fitted shoes will only enhance his walking, while aiding him with better balance. Better balance means less chance of a fall. I think you get the picture…
When the attendant noticed the shoes ‘The Little One’ was wearing…she said out loud…’You’re walking IN THESE SHOES’. ———————————————————>
It was a jolt to the ‘Imelda Marcos‘ of South Florida; I mean these shoes are at least 20 years old! Twenty years ago, ‘The Little One’ was stronger and could manage shoes like this which offered little or no support…but ohhhhh…forget safety, they do look marvelous!
Since we’ve been back in Florida, ‘The Little One’ has surprised me from time to time with ‘treasures’ like these shoes, which he has had in his possession for a long period of time. Many of these ‘surprises’ have a story to them, or are connected to his partner Herman of 43 years. It’s hard to just walk away from these treasures…. no matter how mundane I might think they might be.
As the conversation with orthopedic professional continued, it was easier for ‘The Little One’ to hear and accept what he needed in foot wear for his own safety from a professional. Always mindful of his safety and what is best for him, I also have to be careful not to over step my boundaries and ‘demand’ that he do something that he may not want to do. You know the phrase…’you pick your battles.’ I knew that this was one battle that would be won by the professional. (When it comes to personal safety, sometimes you do have to take a stand.)
As a caregiver, it is important for me to know as many resources as possible, yet we can’t know them all. Having previous experience to build on, I was able to tell ‘The Little One’ that diabetic/therapeutic shoes are the only foot-ware covered by medicare (You will need a referral from your PCP) That opened the door for the referral and hence, he will have new shoes next week. (To show his need, the orthopedic professional moved up his second appointment to next week because of his critical need for these shoes!)
The lesson of this story for me has to do more with how we see things that are important to us. Shoes, trinkets, all of the collectibles, have a particular meaning to them. We all have something in our possession that we can identify that has meaning to it. We get attached to items for different reasons that are very personal, yet until you are IN THESE SHOES, who is it for us to tell someone to give up something that has meaning to it?
One of the lyrics in Bette’s song is…”In these shoes? Oh, I doubt you’d survive.” Bette is so right…In these shoes, I doubt “The Little One” would he would have survived. We can all survive and prosper when we are mindful of each other needs, react accordingly to those needs and care for those who cannot care for themselves.
When we care like that…we can care in ‘ANY SHOES’
You see…we might have cancer; but cancer does not have us!