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My Right Foot



An acclaimed novelist, friend of Andrew Weil's "since the days when he couldn't afford to fix his washing machine,” and former co-executive producer of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, recounts an odyssey worthy of Achilles to fix her own right heel maybe even her soul. Did she get well because she heard the right message or found the right drug or the right healer? Or was it time itself?

The heel pain came on suddenly — a stabbing sensation in the bottom of my right foot. I kept walking on it, thinking the pain would go away in a few days, but it didn’t. Instead, the heel pain seemed to trigger a slide into a black hole of health problems, none of which was life-threatening but which ruined the quality of my days. When the heel pain had started, I went to the internist. He took X rays, said I did not have a bone spur, and referred me to a podiatrist who said I had plantar fasciitis — an inflammation of the connective tissue in the heel. He gave me a cortisone shot in the side of the foot but when the heel pain grew worse, he said there was nothing further he could do. As weeks passed, I grew frustrated and alarmed. You don’t appreciate your feet — and all the activities that require them, such as hiking, cycling, running, dancing — until you lose use of them. I went to see a second podiatrist, Dan Altchuler, who said the first had been wrong. I had bursitis — an inflammation of the bursa in the bottom of the heel. He said the cortisone I’d received in t …

Sara Davidson’s novels include the best-selling Loose Change: Three Women of the Sixties and Cowboy: A Love Story. She created the ABC-TV series “Jack and Mike” and was co-executive producer of CBS’s “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” Her journalism has appeared in Harper’s, The Atlantic, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times Magazine.

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