By Joe Rector

The year 2020 just keeps getting better. We’ve struggled through a presidential election where the incumbent still hasn’t conceded but claims that illegal voting has stolen the race from him. On top of that, the entire world faces a pandemic that in America alone has infected nearly 13 million folks and killed 260,000+ individuals. We’ve been asked to stay at home as all, but the most essential businesses, have closed. Many are celebrating Thanksgiving without some family members who choose being safe over gathering. In addition to all these things, I’m now wearing a boot on my left foot.

A month ago, my foot began to hurt. It ached, and in one spot a shooting pain on the outside hit. I figured this was just one more piece of evidence that my age was catching up with me. As the weeks passed, my foot hurt more, and I limped more. Amy strongly suggested, a code for “do it,” that a visit to the doctor was in order. So, I made the trip the Monday before Thanksgiving to Tennessee Orthopedic Center, and Dr. Hopkins announced that I suffered from plantar fasciitis and a stress fracture. How the second thing happened I’ll never know, but the combination is enough to slow me down.

I’m in this boot until a return visit later in December. It reminds me of the casts that I’ve worn on this same foot over the years. There have been four of them, along with two ankle surgeries. Luckily, most of the problems occurred when I was in high school. At that age, I could handle a pair or crutches well enough to try to race guys on the football team. On one occasion, I’d had a little too much to drink (yes, I was underage), and a car full of guys from another school wanted to fight my friends and me. I hopped out of the car with a cast on my foot and began banging on their car with my crutch. They must have decided fighting a crazy person wasn’t such a good idea.

I wrecked my mother’s care while wearing one cast. A classmate almost ran me off the road. I backed into a driveway, looked the short way, the long way, and the short way again. When I pulled out, a Knox County Sheriff’s cruiser, that was chasing the boy without siren or lights, broadsided me. I fell out of the car, grabbed my crutches and checked on the officer, whose vehicle was sitting in a deep ditch with the back end stuck in the mud.

This boot I’m wearing is strange to me. Always before, my foot was wrapped in a cast that couldn’t hold any weight. I had to keep my foot off the ground at all times. With this new contraption, I can walk all I want. My gait is more than a little off as I hobble around places, but at least my hands won’t blister from holding onto the handles of crutches.

Let’s hope things are better by the next doctor’s appointment. I’m not inclined to do much more to heal an aching foot. Surgeries and hard casts don’t seem practical for someone who isn’t’ always the nimblest on his feet. I might prefer these aches and pains to any new ones that further treatments may bring on.

One thing is for sure: I’d like to have things healed up so I can walk out of this God forsaken year and into the next one that brings much more promise. Like most people, I’m over 2020.