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5 September 2012
Sounds kind of crazy, but I'm thinking about feet today. I thought about feet last night when I was sleeping on the couch with Lizzie, I thought about feet when I was reading my new elephant book when I couldn't get to sleep, and I thought about my own feet when I headed off to Podiatry this morning.
This was the last of the tests my primary care physician ordered in August, all of which have been within normal limits. The podiatry appointment was canceled by Kaiser twice, so I expected them to be canceling again when they called yesterday, but it was just a reminder. I got up early this morning to do a foot soak, just in case the feet weren't as clean as they looked!
I don't know why there was no podiatry clinic closer than Vallejo, which is an hour's drive from here. I gave "Nigel" (our GPS--he's British) the information and off I went. The Kaiser garage was so full I thought surely I would be late for my appointment, but no, I arrived only one minute after the scheduled time.
The provider was an RN named Terry, who didn't know, either, why I was there, but she checked my feet, clipped my toenails and told me I was welcome to come back for nail care if I wanted, but it would cost $35 per visit, so I thanked her and made my way back out to the car again!
The one thing she did do was to explain that the "ingrown toenail" I thought I had was not, and was a mild nail fungus, about which I can do nothing really, except get a soft brush and brush the area when I take a shower. She cleaned out the area, and it doesn't hurt any more. Yippee!
As for dog feet, Lizzie comes to mind instantly. Lizzie spends a lot of time licking her front paws. Wherever she is she is licking those feet. It always looks like one of the dogs has peed on the couch or on a blanket because she slops over onto whatever surface she is lying and leaves a small puddle of dog drool. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with her feet, she just likes to lick them.
But what I'm finding today the most interesting feet are elephant feet. The book I am reading currently is called "The Elephant's Secret Sense," by Caitlin O'Connell. O'Connell has spent many years studying elephants, particularly focusing on their method of communication. She speaks about how important an elephant's feet are in communicating not only with its own herd, but herds in the vast area where it lives.
The pad on the bottom of an elephant's foot is able to register vibrations for many miles, which can tell it where other herds are located and when there is danger nearby. It also allows these huge animals to move almost soundlessly through the forest, when necessary.
But over and above the spongy pad of the foot, she observed that when startled, or wary, elephants walk on tiptoe. (They also stand on tiptoe to reach vegetation which is too high to reach from the ground.) She speculates that "perhaps elephants were getting up onto the their toes to direct the vibrations through special vibration-sensitive cells at the tips of the toes or through their toenails. Alternatively, the vibrations could pass through their foot pads and and toe bones, feet, and then up the leg, and into the ear."
As I have mentioned here many times, I find elephants endlessly fascinating and look forward to finishing this book and knowing even more.
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