Friday, January 4, 2013

Life Story Part 5: Foot confusion

At the suggestion of Courtney, I have been writing my life stories. I actually am almost done and let me tell you, things get pretty vulnerable. And it has been really hard to write the hard stuff. To revisit hasn't been pleasant. But once I got through the tough stuff, I have felt awesome. You should try this life story writing business. It's pretty telling. 

Life Story Part 1 HERE

Life Story Part 2 HERE

Life Story Part 3 HERE

Life Story Part 4 HERE

Life Story Part 5: Foot confusion
Ethan had walked miles and miles all over the Canadian eastern coast for the 2 years of his church mission. Miles of roads lined with wild cherry trees and birch trees. He had shoveled snow from miles of sidewalks, but his feet never bothered him. The pain began to creep up when Ethan took up golf in the early years of our marriage. He would walk 18 holes with his clubs on his back and then come home needing a foot rub. Soon, it turned into him riding a golf cart for 18 holes and still needing a foot rub. I always knew his feet didn’t look normal. I made fun of them when we were dating. “You look like you could climb a coconut tree with your bare feet!” “Your feet look like hobbit feet!” Soon we realized that the shape of those feet were the problem.

We began to look for a doctor. The first doctor gave us mountains of pain medication, and Ethan took it. He followed the directions on the bottle and savored the moments he could take it and feel it lessen his foot pain. Soon, he needed more and more to have the medication to effect. Before we knew it, his body was completely dependant on it.

It was a Saturday night in November of 2007 and I was newly pregnant with Van. I was sick, tired and bratty. Ethan had run out of his medication for the weekend, but he didn’t think much of it. He would fill his prescription on Monday and all would be well. But then the withdrawal symptoms set in and we realized we were in way over our heads. He was shaking and sweating and felt like he was itching out of his skin. We were so unfamiliar with the power of pain medication and hadn’t a clue what to do with these withdrawal symptoms. I became so angry with Ethan for not being more responsible with what he was taking. At one point, he passed out in his underwear on the hallway floor. And without hesitation, I bent down and slapped him hard across the face. I did it to wake him up, but also because I was so angry at what was happening.

It became obvious that pain medication wasn’t going to fix his feet, so we set out to look for a podiatrist that would operate and make all our troubles go away. We went to three different doctors, all of which looked at Ethan’s feet in amazement, wondering how he is even able to walk. None of them were helpful and they would just recommend more pain medication. At this point, we felt helpless. It was time for a family fast. We emailed all our family and asked them to pray and fast with us the coming Sunday to help us find a doctor and a solution. And fast they did and find a doctor we did.

Ethan was at his appointment with a 4th doctor when  the doctor had to suddenly leave for an emergency. The doctor left in the office to take the appointments was Dr. Borah Rhim, a fresh, young graduate from the east coast with with olive skin and smart black-framed glasses. She looked at Ethan’s feet and got a look of determination on her face. “We are going to try and fix these.”

Dr. Rhim was careful with her diagnosis. She had us drive to Santa Monica to meet with some other foot specialists, doctors that are medical consults for shoes manufacturers and heads of orthopedics at top hospitals. All 4 of them stared at Ethan’s xrays and watched in amazement as he walked up and down the hall. They were all puzzled, but also committed to finding a solution. We felt like we were in great hands.

A plan was made and a surgery date set. We spent the next few months anticipating the arrival of our new baby and preparing for something that couldn’t be prepared for.

1 comment:

  1. Your kids and grandkids and great-grandkids are going to need this to hear this. So great that you are taking the time to write it all.