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Details of de-feet

As a former runner and current walker, hiker, swimmer and massage therapist, I know the value of healthy feet and legs. So it was with no little sense of irony that I surmounted seemingly complementary accidents in 2004, one to my right foot and ankle in February and one to my left foot in July.

An icy sidewalk and curb, a heavy massage table on my arm, and a fateful slip on a cold Tuesday evening outside the newspaper where I work as a copy editor all contributed to a sprained right ankle that led to a trip to a hospital emergency room, doctor visits and six weeks of physical therapy. A massage session at a client’s home, an inadvertent stepping on a resident cat and an immediate and subsequent encounter with its sibling all contributed to a cat bite/slashing of my left foot that led to swelling and infection and four days of intravenous antibiotics during an extended summertime hospitalization.

Remarkably, although both incidents took me away from my massage practice for a week at a time, neither episode kept me from enjoying two of my most profitable massage months of 2004, up from a down 2003 for my best year ever. Fortunately, despite the pain each incident inflicted and the unasked-for familiarity with maneuvering with crutches that each brought me, neither episode inflicted permanent damage on my feet.

What they did leave me with was a renewed appreciation of my health in a war-filled year that also brought news of the 2003 death of a cherished mentor, Lehigh physiotherapist Jim Mathews (see tribute feature story below), and the deaths of my Uncle Jimmy Claudepierre (see feature story) and the mother of my brother Mike’s then-fiancee, now-wife, Joyce. They also left me as appreciative as always of family (including my mother, a spry 83); family events (high school graduations of nieces Marissa and Julianne; a summer picnic hosted by Tomm and Linda Sprick; Christmas and spring and summer gatherings hosted by the Ziemers; and Mike and Joyce’s wedding); and the home I share with Frank Johnston, his burgeoning orchid business ( and our three parrots, Romeo, Rambo and Zephyr.

Life there might be filled with whistles, squawks and screeches, but it’s also filled with joy and love. May your home and your life be likewise filled, in 2005 and always.