Those stinking feet.
I picked up the socks dark with the tips of my fingers and took them to the back porch laundry room, holding my nose with the other hand. I went to the sink to wash and scrub my hands. It was so hard to get the odor off my hands.
Ever since Dave shattered his heels the two years’ previous, there were days, and sometimes a week, when the odor was so bad I put his shoes outside. Seriously. Our kids wrinkled up their noses and asked, “What is that smell?!” In time, they recognized the odor coming from their father’s socks and shoes. [If you haven’t heard the story of the shattered heals, you can read about them here, or here, or here.
Dave’s feet weren’t always like that. Sure, he had the typical sweat after a day of hard work, but this odor was hard, rank, and strong enough to make a person gag. A dead cow found days after dying or a groundhog long deceased and under the house do not begin to describe the stench.
We dealt with it as best we could. We removed his shoes from the living room as soon as he took them off and placed them outside. I kept his stinking socks in the hamper on the back porch and washed them for hours in a heavy load of detergent and vinegar. I washed my hands after throwing the socks in the hamper or in the washer because the odor clung to my fingers. We purchased specialty socks – ones “guaranteed” to take care of odors. They didn’t. I purchased special soaps for soaking Dave’s feet, ones guaranteed to decrease inflammation and provide healing for shedding skin. They didn’t.
The period of stinking feet lasted for a week or so, then disappeared. A few weeks or months later, it happened again. This cycle continued for about two years following his accident.
What they mean
You know what we discovered? After each episode of stinking feet, Dave had more range of motion. Even though his doctors were right when they said he’d never run again, Dave experienced more range of motion than anticipated. Each time his feet stank, his range of motion increased after the odor was gone.
We learned that the inconvenience of the odor was worth it because in actuality, it signaled healing. I don’t know how this worked, but we think the odor came from shedding of inflammation inside his skin, thus leaving more range of motion. When Dave shattered his heels, he didn’t need surgery because every fragment stayed in place and in the same plane. Yet, there was injury that took months for his body to process and to heal. Were there impurities that needed to be fleshed out of his system? Possibly. Was the stench from the impurities working their way out through his skin? We think so.
Even though his feet looked perfectly fine on the outside, the inside was full of fractured bone fragments trying to knit back together again. Who would have thought we could tell what was happening on the inside by what we smelled on the outside?
Once the healing was complete, the odor was gone. That’s how we knew his feet were whole. It’s a lesson for life.