Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back Attack

Back Attack

By Allison Adams 03-06-10 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 03-08-10

If you see me out and about you may notice that I am walking a little strangely these days. My frame won’t straighten – its a little hunched over. My gait has been reduced to a shuffle. I cannot rise from a seated position without reaching for some assistance. I cannot make any sudden movements. No. Sudden. Movements.

I wince and gasp.

I am in pain.

I injured myself on Friday at a big event. I lifted, then carried something heavy for several hours: my entire self, balanced upon two 2 ½” high-heels. Now my back’s out-of-whack.

When I was younger I dressed for the office, power lunches, and big events, which meant living in suits and skirts and control top pantyhose. I used to be able to slap on a pair of high-heels at 7AM and slip out of them twelve hours later without batting an eye. When I was younger I punctuated almost every ensemble with a sleek set of stilettos. When I was younger I could walk, run, or stand for hours in shoes that elevated my 5’10” fashionably frocked frame to infinity, and beyond.

Not. Any. More.

Decades ago I sacrificed fashion when I traded-in my office for a laundry room and began eating power lunches at McDonalds. The Chamber of Commerce mixers were gone with the wind; attending a big event meant I dashed out to the grocery store.

I spent a lot of time on the floor, but not standing. I had to be prepared at a moment’s notice to do things that would be impossible to accomplish while wearing a stylish pair of high-heels – like rescuing a toddler’s errant sneaker from the bottom of the plastic ball pit at the fast food playland.

About that same time socks took the place of pantyhose – even though I needed their control-top feature more than ever – and I began buying shoes whose name brands included the words ortho, ergo, cush, and stride.

I embraced Mary Janes.

In those years, on more than one occasion, I stepped out to shop wearing my house shoes. I showed up at church sporting one conservative navy flat, and one conservative black one. If I really wanted to dress-up for the day, I slapped on my white leather Keds.

Fast-forward to last Friday.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I dressed for my big event. I should have made a U-turn the second I pulled-on a pair of super control-top pantyhose – but I pushed onward.

With my top super-controlled, I reached for the shoebox on my closet shelf. I pulled it down, dusted-off the lid, completely ignored the warning label, and opened the box to reveal a spectacularly snazzy set of black leather, high-heeled, ankle boots, wrapped in a blanket of tissue paper.

Chic shoes, sister.

I sat down on the edge of my bed prepared to wrestle a while, but was amazed how easily I was able to wedge my feet into the boots. They actually felt com … comfort … not nearly as excruciating as I imagined they would feel.

I arose, and after a few seconds of teetering, I was able to regain my balance. I stood tall and then test-drove myself around the house without too much trouble. By that time the super control-top pantyhose had also managed to restrict the blood flow to my brain, rendering me unable to think clearly, and I decided I was good to go for the entire day.

Eight hours later, my fashionable footwear had taken its toll on my fifty-something year-old form. Even after I popped my feet out of their trendy torture chamber they continued to pulse with pain.

And it didn’t stop there. The pain traveled up my legs, gained speed, invaded my ample hip area, and eventually settled in my lower back.

It lives there today. As a result my movements – if I choose to a make any – are deliberate, and jerky, and punctuated with painful moans.

I may be temporarily sidelined, but I’m not surrendering my quest to one day be able to sport a sexy stiletto heel. I think my feet just bit-off a little more than they could chew.

Next time I get the urge to dress-up for a big event I think I’ll start with knee-high hose and a pair of patent leather pumps – something that will allow for adequate circulation while sustaining my substantial load.

For now though, its bye-bye, boots; hello, Hush Puppies.

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