Are You Proud to be a Podiatrist? (Mark Metzger, DPM)
Without doubt, the strangest experience I had as a
podiatrist occurred at the most unlikely of venues
and circumstances. Almost 10 years ago, I attended
a large seminar on "Creation: God or an Accident,"
sponsored by the Skeptic's Society. The Conference
took place in Pasadena, CA at Cal Tech. At least
800 people attended. The conference lasted 2 days
with lectures by various cosmologists, skeptics,
atheists, and religious representatives. Some of
the World's famous scientists spoke at this
auspicious event, including Nobel Prize laureates.
If there were any other DPMs in the audience, I
did not see or recognize any. During intermission
after one of the lectures, I happened to mention
to someone next to me that I was a podiatrist. The
individual behind me immediately took off his
shoes to show me his orthotics and asked me
several questions about orthotics. I patiently
answered his questions.
At the next intermission, some people stood behind
me and formed a line. I have no idea how or why,
but there developed a queue behind me, with people
standing with one or both shoes off. I patiently
answered their questions, but noted that one of
the worlds' most famous cosmologist was ALSO in
line! His lecture was next, so he said he would
"get back to me" later.
I had not traveled to the seminar by car, and
needed a car ride back to my hotel. Several people
volunteered, one explaining that he had a failed
ankle surgery and needed my "opinion." He took off
his shoe in the back seat for me to "examine" him.
It appeared that he had severe gastro-soleus
equinus and I believe that contributed to his
failed surgery. After watching him walk on the
sidewalk, he was literally "up on his toes" on the
surgical side. After I explained this to him, he
seemed enormously relieved and asked to pay me. Of
ourse I refused. He was a young man. I had no
idea about his education. He said the surgery was
done by an orthopedic surgeon.
I have never before or since had an experience
like that. The irony of course is that it was a
seminar of the "Skeptic's Society." Each and every
questioner thanked me profusely and called me
doctor. To this day I cannot explain this,
although during these years running was very
popular and a number of those questions concerned
running and shoe gear. I have no explanation on
how my (previous) occupation "got out" into the
crowd. I guess I am "agnostic" on that point...
During my very early years "learning" about
podiatry, "chiropodists" were described in some
pamphlets at my undergrad college as "handmaidens"
for orthopedic surgeons. Subsequently, after being
in practice a number of years I employed medical
doctors (anesthesiologists) at my own Medicare
Certified Surgical Center. In my efforts to find
anesthesiologists, a number of them called me to
take me out to lunch, in hopes of being hired.
Nobody ever told me I would be employing medical
doctors in any facet of my experience as a
podiatrist. Neither did any of my "training"
prepare me for a queue of people standing to get
podiatric advice at a cosmology conference.
Michael M. Rosenblatt, DPM, San Jose, CA
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