As I've said before, having a hip replacement in summer was a good read and is probably the best decision I've made in this last 5 years, (which, if you're familiar with my talent of messing up my life in astounding and intricate ways, probably doesn't say much). Anyhow, the benefit of a summer hip replacement is that you can walk outside without slipping on a wet/icy sidewalk, your post-surgery depression isn't worsened by endless fog and rain (or, in the case of the Midwest, temperatures so cold you could literally die by going outside without protection) and (best of all!) you don't have to spend 20 minutes a day trying to put on pair of running shoes/boots because you can slip your feet into the faux-Croc rubber Mary Janes you got four years ago at the B.C. ferry terminal and which you have worn so often that they are about two weeks away from crumbling into dust.
In order to perfect my gait pattern, however, my physiotherapist has talked me into putting on running shoes. It turns out that you can probably change the oil in your car, build yourself some custom cabinets and perform cataract surgery using fewer tools than what I need to put on my shoes. So here, for those of you who want to add an extra dose of complexity into your day by putting on your New Balances using more tools than there are at an Ed Hardy fashion show, here are the steps:
- Outfit your running shoes in those curly no-tie elastic laces. Where can you find such laces? In the medical supply store. Somewhere between the incontinence supplies and the adult bibs. (Hint: the rainbow ones bring an extra dose of glam and go with every outfit).
- Gather up your socks, shoes, shoe horn, sock aid, grabber, a bottle of bourbon, some Valium and every last ounce of patience that hasn't dwindled away from spending the past 2 months in bed watching Ty Pennington's meth-fueled enthusiasm for over-decorating. Look down at your feet and think, "God, I have hairy feet. I look like a hobbit." (Reason #452 why I'm still single).
- Take your sock aid, (see accompanying photo), roll it up and insert it into a sock. (By the way, doesn't that guy in the photo look like he's in some state of zen mastery? He's the Yoda of sock aids. You can imagine him saying, "Do or do not, young Jedi. There is no try.") Make sure to put the sock on straight because, if you don't, you will walk around for the rest of the day thinking, "Damn. Is there something in my shoe?" but then realize that it's just the sock's seam rubbing against your foot and there's nothing you can do about it because by now you're out of the house and you don't have your sock aid. And then you will cry real tears.
- Think, hey, I wonder if this sock aid could be used to help fat guys put on condoms. (Yes, I realize that I used this joke in my novel, but since it's probably the one thing in my novel that was true-to-life about having a hip replacement, I'm recycling it).
- Lower the sock aid by the string and go fishing for your feet, which should not be hard because those bad boys are size 9 and have arches higher than several Lower Mainland bridges.
- Wiggle your toes into the sock, making sure you keep your foot straight, which is no easy feat (no pun intended) because your foot is twisted after 2 years of rolling your ankle whenever your hip wandered out of the socket.
- Pull upwards on the string so that the sock slides (crookedly) on. If you drop the string, swear, use your grabber to pick it up, and try it again.
- Stare for several long moments at your running shoe, wondering how in the world you are going to do this without throwing something through a window.
- Steel yourself. Say, "patience, don't fail me now." Say, "Do or do not. There is no try!" Take several deep, calming breaths (and maybe a low-grade sedative and a shot of whiskey).
- Drop the shoe and use the grabber to push it so that it aligns with your foot. Stick in the shoe horn.
- Try to wiggle your toes into the shoe without getting the tongue caught under your foot.
- Sigh. Pick the shoe back up with the grabber, try to pull the tongue up, but it keeps sliding down again, so loosen the elastic laces, but that doesn't work because you so obviously suck at life and why can't you get this when old grandpa in the picture is rocking this with ease.
- Use the grabber to hold the tongue up, but the grabber's claws don't have the grip strength to do the job and, besides, you lack the coordination.
- Stick your foot in to the shoe and slip it on using the shoe horn. Try to use the grabber to adjust the tongue, fail, get frustrated and break your hip restrictions by reaching down and grabbing the tongue with the tips of your fingers because you barely have the flexion to even break your hip restrictions. Tighten the laces while you're down there.
- Commend yourself on your great personal courage and restraint and embark on an exciting journey involving an elliptical machine and/or a walk to the local 7-11 to get a slurpee, since you can only enjoy them in Canada because America has still not gotten the memo that slurpees/icees/whatever should. not. be. carbonated.