Thursday, November 25, 2010

My only Italian shoes so far

As noted before, SENSIBLE people will bring suitable shoes to Italy. But then again,  I never claimed I was sensible!

Well, I had thought that I had sunk to a new low when I acquired the beige compression stocking back home. I was all ready to sign myself up for a Zimmer frame and a life aka Bridget Jones where I would die alone and be eaten by Alsatians...but I was wrong…

Enter the giant bandaged foot and the impossibility to get shoes to fit comfortably. After wearing my running shoes with the laces undone for the past two days since arriving, I just could not bear to wear them any longer. I found myself coveting the crocs worn by the nursing staff at the pre-operative check yesterday. Crocs! You see how low I have sunk. Luckily, one other patient was recently wearing what looked like grandpa slippers and Shawn got the address off her for the orthopaedic shop.

This shop was quite the eye-opener. It sells everything from wheelchairs to braces to stockings to dental gear and blood pressure and portable fat monitors (I was quite intrigued by that one and wondered if you put it on you to measure your body fat or if you stuck it in your food. Unfortunately my Italian reading skills, while miles ahead on my ability to parley, did not stretch to gadget packaging). Nestled amongst this was a glass display of the most heinous slippers and clogs imaginable. No plain black shoes available; no, this season’s orthopaedic shoe is all about the colours; maroon or leopard print or pond-scum green with reindeer on them. I kid you not. We were momentarily buoyed by the sign on the top of the cabinet that showed crocs (Dr Scholl here) but alas, the shop assistant said they did not stock these. 

So, we picked the least hideous clog slipper in a charming off-white colour and asked for 2 sizes too big. Being mirror twins, our plan was to buy one fat-foot pair and one normal-foot pair and trade. To our embarrassment, the clog-shoe did not fit. Nor did the next size or the size above that. The lady kept shaking her head when we asked for bigger ones. No, no - that was the biggest she had and no, they did not stock men's shoes. Her look said, what were these crazy foreigners wanting with men's shoes?

We were about to give up and resign ourselves to living with cramped feet when she emerged from the back with the holy grail of orthopaedic slippers. Behold them in all of their elegance; black with a lovely crepe sole. The upper is made of the softest black felt and the shoe is lined with faux sheepskin. Over the toe is Velcro in a t-shape so that the entire front upper can lift away from the sole and fit in a swollen foot. On the heel, more Velcro allows adjustment for slim or corpulent heels. The whole thing is finished with a cheerful stripe of piping around the front. What more can you want? They are absolute bliss to wear - no burning heels or pain across the top of the foot where the running shoe cut in. I feel somehow like a naughty little kid wearing my slippers in public. Okay, so they may be classed as a public menace as some elderly Italian lady almost fell off her scooter ogling them at the traffic lights but who cares; it's like walking on air!

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