Saturday, August 20, 2011

(UN)Happy Feet

         I'm not exactly sure what is wrong with me (I awake with that thought often). But it seems that I got the short end of the stick when it comes to foot/head coordination. I have not met a person capable of falling up the stairs on a regular basis; I have mastered this talent. I also have a tendency to, on a consistent basis, to stub my toe. Somehow I always manage to stub the same toe making this ridiculous injury more annoying each time. Just when my bruise is on the up and up toward its enlightened path to healing is when Jesus thinks it funny to send a curb flying in its direction. That moment is one of the few which I reserve for incessant cursing. I do not curse on a regular basis, I choose only times where it is only most appropriate and classy. In my life I have had quite a slue of embarrassing foot injuries including (but not limited to) jumping and landing on my big toe (the same one I always stub), my current injury which is called a stone bruise, and even developing a severe case of osteomyelitis (a serious bone infection) in my toe which I assumed developed from my love/hate relationship with open-toed sandals. But today I would like to take you a few months to a very embarassing and silly time of my life. Only now has the trauma has finally worn off enough for me to even talk about it. I will tell you about the story of when I got glass in my toe and couldn't get it out. I will try and hold back on the swearing.

        Of course I don't even need to tell you which lucky toe had glass stuck in it. For Christ's sake, my right big toe is about as lucky as Kirstie Alley's nutritionist. Up until my unfortunate incident (which I am still unsure of how it happened) I had been hell bent on not wearing shoes or socks in my apartment; my personal tribute to K.D. Lang. My best guess is that on one drunken evening I must have been so inebriated from the copious amount of Polar Ice I had consumed that I must have been blithely unaware of the fact that I had stepped on the tiniest little shard of glass. I probably just kept it moving only to pass out on my twin sized piece of fluff (to refer to the mattress stuffed in the corner that I sleep on as a "bed" would be grossly inaccurate). I awoke the next morning and tiptoed my way to the commode (similarly to refer to that misfortune as my "bathroom" would be a joke...and not a funny one) when I felt a small prick in Big Lucky, the largest of toes on my right foot of course. Even though I had mostly sobered up by this point, I decided to ignore the pain because the it was so slight. I understand that Big Lucky has been through a lot in his life and probably just needed a little extra time to wake up; maybe he was just sore. I jumped in the shower, grabbed my Herbal Essences (which has most recently been upgraded to Dark 'N Lovely) and began washing the naps as usual. On occasion I felt what I could seriously only describe as mild discomfort in Big Lucky. I continued about my daily routine, brushing my teeth, flossing my gums, and covering my entire bi-racial body in Shea butter in hopes to become more African-American (Look Gepetto, I'm a real Negro!). As I made my way down the ridiculously long hallway in my apartment (which would be better described as a runway) I found my pace slowing down about 10 feet in. The slight discomfort in Big Lucky was becoming more and more annoying as I was making my naked entrance into the kitchen. Clearly, further inspection was required. I sat down on the concrete and took a quick peek at the bottom of my toe. Nothing seemed the problem. I couldn't find any cuts, scrapes, or wounds. Upon my discovery that seemingly there was nothing wrong I became further annoyed. "Listen you little SKANK!", I scolded Big Lucky, "I don't work my ass off 35 hours a week so you can screw with my daily routine you little bitch! You've given me trouble my whole life and I've just taken it like Pamela Anderson on a God damned boat! Now you listen here. If you don't start co-operating soon I'm gonna send you off to live with the Osmonds!". He seemed to respond well. I stood up and kept on strolling.

         I really feel that when you scold a child, pet, or random appendage that you really get the best results when you have done so in a Bill O'Reilly type tone. As I took a few steps forward I realized that my scolding had really done its job. I felt no pain. I made myself breakfast and took my multivitamin. I fell into the habit of almost taking two (like I do my Extra Strength Tylenol) and immediately spit one out. Thank God I dodged that bullet. I could have ended up like Amy Winehouse. After saving my own life, I made my way back to the bedroom to get dressed. I decided that today was not the day I would show up to work naked. I figured that I needed to wait sometime until I was a little higher up on the food chain so that my progressive act would be taken seriously by my co-workers. I also thought it would be best to wait until I have enough money to buy my own car before I go to work in the nude. I had no fear of riding public transportation with booty to the wind; people ride the New York City subway in their underwear all the time. But I hadn't heard of such an act done in Dallas and didn't want to be the guinea pig. As I  made my way back to the bedroom completely pain-free, I realized that I had a very strange rhythm to my walk. After I made it about 25 feet down the runway I realized that I was limping. "Who do I think I am, Master P?" I said to myself. I realized that I was accommodating the impending injury to Big Lucky. As I tried to re-adjust my posture and weight so I could walk like a normal human being who hasn't been recently paroled, I winced at the pain I felt yet again on my big right toe. Shit! Something was clearly wrong. I woke up my roommate Urkel (he gets the name from the striking resemblance to African-American 90s television character, Steve Urkel). You see, Urkel has one of those magic phones that can do anything. It can find directions to the Mexican border, scan grocery items to do comparative shopping, and I'm pretty sure it can even change your tampon. I knew Urkel would be capable of finding me a podiatrist and quickly. After several attempts which responded quickly with no availability and/or an answering machine I finally got a response. I asked the receptionist for the address, got in a cab, and was on my way. I was so pre-occupied with my self-concern that I did not pay attention to some very obvious signs that this place was slightly illegitimate. Upon reflection, I realized that I should have picked up on some very telling clues that this establishment may have been slightly less than par. Some of these clues, I realize now, were obvious even in my dealings with their staff on the phone. When I called the doctor's office, this is how the conversation with the receptionist went (we'll call her Consuela):

Consuela: Hello
Me: Hi, I'm not sure what is going on with my big toe but clearly there's an issue. I need to make an appointment. Things are only going to get worse.
Consuela: OK
Me: Do you have anything available today?
Consuela: Yes.
Me: So when can I come in?
Consuela: You can come now.
Me: Well.....Don't you need my name?
Consuela: Sure. What is it?

         I blocked out the rest of the conversation from my memory. I can't believe I didn't realize the ridiculousness of the situation before I got in that cab. How shady is it to not be asked any kind of information to make an appointment at a podiatrist's office that is not even part of a walk-in clinic? Once the cab pulled up to the street we had difficulty locating the address. We were on the correct block but both of us were having trouble finding the doctor's office. I checked the address again and looked up. Apparently we were right in front of it. I'll start with the outside and work my way in.

        I cannot make it clear enough that this was NOT a doctor's office! This could not pass for a drive-through bagel shop! This looked like the house from Hansel and Gretel (minus the candy). In fact, a few candy-canes hanging from the roof probably would have mildly distracted me from the horror I was witnessing visually. The truck that was parked outside lengthwise in front of the building was almost wider than the shack itself. I heard the cab speed away from behind me. I don't blame the little Paki. This whole situation was very Jeepers Creepers 3. As I slowly paced myself towards the "establishment" I was for a moment thankful of the fact that I was yet to nourish myself that morning making the inevitable diarrhea a less unfortunate onset. I maneuvered my way around the truck to end up in front of the entrance. Atop the roof there was a small clearly handwritten sign that said "Martin Luther King Foot Clinic" with a phone number at the bottom. "Well I sure hit the jackpot!", I thought, as I patted myself on the back. I assumed the MLK association was just a simple nod to the street it was on with the same name. This was an assumption that would be proven incorrect a few moments later. I  begrudgingly knocked on the door. Normally one would let oneself into a doctor's office but being that this was merely a trailer park posing as an office of podiatry, I felt it more appropriate to knock on the door and waited for someone to answer. I waited some time for a person to answer but to no avail. I shrugged my shoulders, took a deep breath, turned the knob and entered. Before I could even get one foot in the door I was immediately greeted by a cat. "Are you a licensed podiatrist?", I asked the feline. She, the little black ball of fluff, just stared at me. "Meow!" finally came out of little Pussywinkle's mouth after an awkward silence. The little bitch tiptoed her way inside the "office" so I followed suit. I closed the door behind me immediately in fear of the Pussywinkle making an escape. I was unsure as to whether or not Pussywinkle actually lived in the doctor's office but I was not going to risk the chance of being held responsible for losing someone's pussy (I learned that lesson the hard way when I was 11). I blocked my eyes from the unsightly vision that my eyes were bestowed with and turned directly toward the glass plated window to my right. There was a small Hispanic woman sitting a desk behind the glass. I assumed this must be Consuela or possibly Shakira without make-up.

          "Do you realize there is a cat running around aimlessly in here?" was my first sentence spoken to Consuela. "Don't worry, she's friendly" was her response as she giggled at my ignorance. I was appalled. I suppose this would have been a cue (after several others that had lead up to that moment) to cut my losses and call the Paki taxi-cab driver to come pick me up and take me to a feline-free office of podiatry. I needed to be at work in an hour and I really needed to get this shit taken care of and quickly. So I decided to grin and bare it and just get through this situation as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Why I hadn't put some vodka and 7 up in a glass jar in the house and taken it with me for moral support is beyond me. Live and learn. I quickly filled out the form and handed the 3 pages back to Consuela whom I noticed was wearing what appeared to be floral pajamas. Consuela instructed me to sit down and wait for my doctor. She left the room.

          Unfortunately I had no choice, as I was all alone in a chair in the waiting room, to be forced to analyze every single detail of the hideous surroundings that encompassed the entire periphery of my vision. Even before I stepped into the place I knew it was clearly an "urban" establishment (The cat gave it away). I have this problem that as long as my eyes are open I can't stop staring at things that are disturbing (intoxicated or not). My only saving grace of course was that I would be detailing this in a blog at a later date once I had seen a therapist. I will begin with the right wall and work my way left. It began with a small sign hanging to my right saying "Dallas BLACK Chamber of Commerce 2007". I suppose this really went well with the "MLK" theme. Above that was a very large picture, almost a mural, of a Black man skiing. This I found quite disturbing. Since when do Black people ski? You can barely even get them in the water. Why would someone hang this up in a doctor's office? In Texas? And most importantly, who the Hell was this random person and why was he on the wall in the first place? I started to put things together as I gazed towards the center wall. There was a picture of another Black man playing football. I wasn't sure if this was the same man or not until I looked at the photograph on the left wall with a picture of a Black man going fishing. It was clear to me that fishing Black man and skiing Black man were the same Black man making it plausible that football Black man was the same Black man as both skiing Black man and fishing Black man who were the same as each other making all three pictures the same Black man. However, I still was not sure who this Black man was. Surely, no one could be so narcissistic as to put pictures of THEMSELVES up at their own doctor's office? I mean, I've done that to my bedroom but it's my BEDroom. You wouldn't see me barricading an office cubicle with life-sized posters and statues of myself. I was more than slightly concerned that there would be the ultimate possibility that my podiatrist had spent more time creating a shrine to himself in the waiting room than he did creating his hand-made sign outside what appeared to be his own shack. I didn't want to venture inside my imagination to even think about what was to come inside the actual patients quarters. I would find out soon. I needed a drink.

       I heard footsteps coming down the hallway into the waiting room. I held my breath in anticipation of meeting my new found mystery self-obsessed podiatrist. It turned out to be a false alarm. It was only the cat making a return to the scene of the crime. Pussywinkle jumped up and sat beside me. I considered petting her but then remembered a story about fellow Canadian Pamela Anderson contracting a severe case of Hepatitis C. I sat patiently for several minutes to be greeted by Consuela. "The room is ready", she said as she pointed me in the direction of the office. She sat back down at her desk and I made my way to the chamber of doom. Pussywinkle just sat there frozen. The little bitch didn't even come for emotional support. Felines are such skanks.

        The doctor's "office" consisted of a patient's chair that was clearly broken, two other small chairs, a small basket, a desk with drawers, a window with broken blinds, and a small clip-on fan propped up sideways on a book sitting on the desk. I wanted to start crying but I stopped myself in fear of the doctor coming in soon and seeing me. I needed him to take me seriously. The second emotional feeling that I was overwhelmed with was a similar one. Diarrhea. Again, thankfully I had not eaten anything so I knew this was a false alarm. I sat down very carefully on the patient's chair, removed my socks and shoes (not in that order) and patiently awaited my fate. In he walked. It was Black Man! Just like in the pictures! For Christ's sake, this doctor actually plastered pictures of himself all over the waiting room. What a psychopath! Although, to be fair, would there have been a better alternative as to who that was in those pictures. Perhaps a secret gay lover that he lived vicariously through because of his affinity for sports but lack of ability to perform on account of his very hectic podiatry schedule?

           Doctor Black-Man was old, slow-moving, and hideously inarticulate. I wish he had come with subtitles. I have an easier time understanding Flava Flav when I have loud gas (This happens often for the fact that watching any television program with Flava Flav usually causes the onset of gas). "I think I may have stepped on something but if I did, I can't find it. I'm not sure. But it hurts." as I pointed to Big Lucky. Doctor Black-Man seemed disinterested. He put on sterile white gloves which I will admit is a very difficult task even for those of us who are not elderly. He was finally successful with the gloves after what felt like enough time to watch the director's cut of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Doctor Black-Man began examining Big Lucky. He seemed quite confused (Doctor Black-Man not Big Lucky). He kept touching it so much I think my toenail got "blueballs". Doctor Black-Man then left the room unannounced. I suppose he needed a break after such a long fully committed stretch of work. He returned shortly after with a companion. I was hoping it was Pussywinkle who probably had a better idea of the scope of the situation. Unfortunately it was Consuela. I was very confused as to what business Hispanic receptionist in Doctor Black Man's lair. " Is she going to clean the sheets or possibly change the towels in the bathroom?" were my first few thoughts (Actually they were my second thoughts. My first thoughts were too inappropriately racist for publication). Doctor Black-Man mumbled something in the style of Charlie Brown's school teacher to Consuela who reached into the desk and pulled out what appeared to be a needle.

           At the time, it was not my first concern that Consuela apparently performed dual roles at the Martin Luther King Foot Clinic as both head receptionist and podiatric nurse. The concern at the forefront of my mind was that a Hispanic teenager with nothing more than weekend training in Microsoft Word looked like she was preparing herself to inject me with something! "Consuela! What the Christ is going on here?". She laughed as she looked away and began shaking the needle. "I'm serious! What is THAT thing for?" I demanded. "We think there's a piece of glass in your foot and we need to get it out." she stated. Great! Big Lucky has a piece of glass in him and now I have get it removed by Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Shakira. Weren't there phones that needed answering? You think I would have been slightly relieved to see Consuela hand the needle over to the doctor but given that Doctor Black-Man was older and slower than time itself it was no relief as I was concerned that he may have slight Parkinson's (or the "shakes" as my Nana refers to it). Instead, Consuela's job was to continually spray a cool mist atop of the wounded area to ease the impending pain. This was getting to be more and more absurd by the second. It was at that moment when I started to come to the realization that I was sitting inside of a non-air conditioned shack in the middle of nowhere on one of the hottest days in June in Texas. I began sweating profusely. My face looked like a Whitney Houston concert. I threw my head back on the pillow, flexed my foot, and gazed out the window. "Take a deep breath", said Consuela as she began to spray. I placed my thumb in front of my mouth, violently began biting my nail, and took it like Kim Kardashian on videotape.

        Doctor Black-Man, true to form, took his sweet little time with each poke of the needle. He didn't put all of the numbing medication in at once. He would slowly put the needle in, inject a little bit, pull it out, and then repeat. Was he afraid he was going to get me pregnant? I debated as to whether or not this was an appropriate time to make him aware that I had my diaphragm in. After 5 minutes of Big Lucky being raped, my face was like a salty Niagra Falls. I couldn't stop sweating. I began swishing my head back and forth on the pillow as I felt my eyes rolling back into my head (I guess I really was turning into Kim Kardashian). A feeling came over me that came as a complete surprise. I felt overwhelmingly nauseated. How could this be? I hadn't eaten anything! I tossed and turned as Doctor Black-Man continued to stab away at Big Lucky. "I need a bucket", I said to Consuela. "I think I might be sick." I should point out that Consuela had stopped spraying the cooling agent a long time ago and was just standing there watching. You would of thought I had asked her to drive to the grocery store to pick me up some fresh lemongrass! Clearly annoyed, she left the room at a pace similar to that of a tranquilized manatee. During the time she was gone, I began to feel even worse. I really thought I was going to vomit. I was partially thrilled on account of being able to go to work later looking like Nicole Richie but it was difficult to revel in that excitement when I didn't have a bucket to be sick in. After a painstakingly long amount of time, finally Consuela returned with a small woven basket. Unfortunately I did not end up being sick after all even though it was pretty touch and go for a while. I guess I would have to remain at the same body mass. A girl can dream....

          I looked down at Doctor Black-Man who had taken a break from raping my big toe. He had something in his hand and was examining it closely. He seemed both confused and astonished. He looked like he had just found Osama bin Laden (this was a few weeks before the bearded maniac was killed and then buried in a pile of hummus). Doctor Black-Man showed the spec to Consuela who examined it for sometime also looking like she had stumbled upon the cure for premature ejaculation. I really wanted to know what all the fuss was about but I was enjoying the break from the toe rape so I kept my mouth shut. Consuela gave the spec back to Doctor Black-Man who placed it in a napkin, walked close toward me and presented me with the gift. "Is this the glass you were talking about?" he said. I could barely hear him over the fan. "What?!" I exclaimed. He repeated the question. I couldn't believe it. What the Christ was he thinking? Was I supposed to be able to identify the piece of glass that was plaguing me. As if I had fully examined the shard before I voluntarily shoved it up my own toe! This was absurd! After rolling my eyes and taking a few deep breaths I looked at the two geniuses and said "Well I suppose so!". I figured it was better to avoid any possibility of further needle penetration. I just prayed that whatever it was I was staring at (which was so tiny it could pass as the life and career of Jamie-Lynn Spears) was in fact the little bitch that I had somehow stepped on the night previous.

        After a quick sterilization and gauze wrap, I was well on my way hobbling back toward the waiting room. When I approached the front desk, Consuela was already there seated ready to take my payment. "Oh my gosh, you again!" I acted surprised. Thank Jesus that I have health care and that I had to suffer through that absolutely tragic nightmare of a doctor's visit for the bargain of thirty dollars. I handed her my VISA card which she quickly handed back to me. "We only take cash" said Consuela. "Do you have an ATM?" I asked. "No." she said quickly. "Well unless you happened to find thirty single dollar bills inside my toe when you were searching in there, I'm not sure how you expect me to pay you." She said that she would make an "exception" and allow me to send them a cheque at a later date (as if that was going to happen) and let me go. I said goodbye to Pussywhistle, called a cab and was on my way home.

          I have no idea how a business gets away with being such a disaster. If I kept my house in the kind of shape that the doctor's did in their office, my neighbour's would call Childcare Services to take possession of my goldfish. I actually don't have a goldfish but the joke really lands well. Of course the most important thing is that Big Lucky was okay. I took him immediately to get a get a full rape exam (not the first time) and enrolled him in rape counselling. He really went through a lot! I sincerely hope that no one has to go through the kind of nightmare that Big Lucky and I had to go through all because I missed a spot while sweeping. I suppose it's a sign that K.D. Lang is not relevant in this current decade. Woolen socks are now a personal requirement of mine in my living quarters. Wearing socks while otherwise being completely naked is a new feeling for me yet completely appropriate giving its African-American roots. Black men LOVE having sex with just their socks on. Just ask Heidi Klum.


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