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Role Reversal: More Lessons from the Boot

Yesterday, I had a follow up visit with my foot doctor, Dr. Julia. We share great conversations about pain and pain management. I told her the pain from my foot is one issue but the mental pain from not being able to “Do” and just “Be” while I rest is a bigger problem. I asked her if she did psychiatric counseling.

“Psychiatric Podiatrist, interesting concept, Mary,” she chuckled.

She thought I was kidding. I was dead straight.

Being limited physically, allowing others to wait on you hand and foot, rubs up against our freedom and independence. Relying on others and canceling commitments makes me a person I do not want to be. I am the doer, the caretaker, the supporter, the one who has been there for others. But now I am having to reverse roles. Now, I am the receiver, the one who needs support, the one who needs others to be here.

Tough lesson, boot.

A younger version of myself might have used food or wine to navigate these waters. Lots of it. But I know better. That only compounds suffering.

I am trying to spend time with the thoughts that are arising. How do I see myself? Do I have to “Do” to “Be”? Why is it so hard to just “Be”?


The boot seems to be telling me my ego is feeling very threatened by not “Do-ing”.  My ever present little pug, Trey, allows me to see there is beauty in just “Be-ing”.

I will keep taking centering breaths, not engage the negative thoughts my ego keeps trying to present, and attempt to absorb what Trey knows. It is his peace I desire.

And what I have learned is that if I take pen to paper I might be able to mine some gems from this experience.

About Mary Byrne Eigel

Before writing children’s books, Mary spent many years teaching in classrooms and creating art in her studio. She was born with bi-lateral hip dysplasia, a painful condition that causes normal activities, like walking, to be challenging. As a child, when Mary had to trek long distances, she often wished she had a wheelchair. For her, a wheelchair offered pain-free opportunities, not limitations. Mary grew up in Chicago, which is the lakefront inspiration for the town of Sail. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two dogs, Beaux and Trey.

6 responses »

  1. Mary, I hope she can give you some time frame for this experience and you can look forward to the removing of the boot. And yes, do mine all the feelings you have about your situation. Thinking of you, Beth

  2. It’s so hard to just ‘be’ when in constant debilitating pain – I miss it greatly… Hope you’re baring up okay…

  3. Mary Byrne Eigel

    Beth, it drives home the need to address body, mind and spirit with pain management. I am getting a chance to go back to the classroom, figuratively, and not be the teacher. Always a lesson to be learned. Thanks for your encouragement.

  4. Mary Byrne Eigel

    Toby, you have had an incredible ordeal. Believe that things will improve and keep blogging!

  5. Mary,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the ‘boot.’ I, too, enjoy our discussions and your insight. Your openness is so welcomed! There is always something to learn and the bumps in the road remind us of that. You are progressing forward….and I look forward to the day that you can give the boot…..the boot!

  6. Mary Byrne Eigel

    Doing my best to get there ASAP! Thanks to you. Have a great weekend.

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