Memoirs of a girl with flat feet

Dear Readers,

All that fuss about my feet, I never imagined that one day my feet would send the local media into frenzy. It was an awkward feeling as the adage goes; I was abruptly plunged into my ‘15 minutes of fame’. Well, the press interview wasn’t as glamourous as I envisaged.

It all dates back to when I was in Primary 1, I was taking ballet lessons then and used to admire myself doing neophyte ballet routines in a light pink leotard and tutu. Looking back, I was definitely suffering from delusions of grandeur.

However, a meeting with my parents and ballet teacher revealed something that surprised my parents and I. I was unable to tip toe properly! Therefore resulting in an appointment with an orthopaedist. At the appointment, it was revealed that I had bunions and it was the root cause of me being unable to tip toe properly.

Looks like I’ll have to say goodbye to prancing around the stage in a ladybird costume. I admit, I was rather saddened by it. Insoles were ‘prescribed’ and resulted in a limited choice of footwear in my primary school days. Well, by being limited meant mostly stuck to ‘New Balance’ shoes since most shoes wouldn’t fit onto those insolent insoles.

Well, I had to stop ballet and my parents decided to let me have a go at learning to play the piano instead of ballet. Oh, it was quite a good choice.

I still felt the sense of pride the day I was able to play Mary had a little lamb on the piano with my own little fingers. Moving on, I continued on a regimen of various insoles over the next few years in hopes of correcting my bunions. By Primary 5, I had an appointment with another orthopaedist. Who discovered that I had flat feet too! Call that another piece of news? This is tantamount to a recipe for disaster for an 11 year old. Turns out that both defects were unrelated. Furthermore, the only viable option at that point in time was surgery for my flat feet. Given my age, it felt as if doomsday had arrived. After the discovery of my condition, yet another discovery was made, my spine wasn’t actually straight! Yep, doomsday has definitely arrived. Fate has officially bestowed on me to go through a battery of X rays and an endless stream of doctor’s appointments.

Let the appointments begin! Round one of appointments starts off with Professor Wong Hee Kit at the NUH department of Orthopaedics. He told me that the condition for my spine was called Scoliosis and that my flat feet could have relations to it. Professor Wong then referred me to Dr. Tan Ken Jin who was a leading specialist in foot and ankle surgery. He gave a further assessment on my flat feet condition thus marking the second round of appointments. Then came the X rays, I was sentenced to a battery of back and foot X rays. Dr. Tan assessed my foot X ray and the verdict was given that surgery was required. I could practically hear the bells knelling internally at the thought of doomsday arriving.


Several months and appointments later, the day of the surgery arrived. I was surprisingly unfazed about going through it, okay; I was a little bit scared. There were several surgeons there, who kept asking me what my name was. I was getting annoyed and actually wanted them to proceed with the surgery immediately. After asking me for my name a countless number of times, they proceeded to outline the place where they were going to make the incision. I just stared at my leg and thought about those medical documentaries I saw on TV. I was then placed under general anesthesia for the procedure. Hours later, I’m awake and ready for discharge from the hospital and left to hobble around on crutches.At the same time being placed in an ‘air cast’ boot for the next 6 weeks. I subsequently attended my school’s Primary 6 graduation night hobbling on crutches.

Six months later, they performed the same procedure on the right foot. The second time round went better than expected since I was prepared for what was to come. It was approximately two weeks after the surgery when I was contacted for an interview regarding the procedure. Obviously, I was puzzled about it but went ahead with the interview .It was the same day I learnt that I was the first patient to share my experience with the media . I was ‘attacked’ by a bout of questions by the journalists asking me about the surgery and what I hoped to do after my feet were fully healed. My ’15 minutes of fame’ didn’t go as planned. Instead, I found myself repeating words like some broken record. An article was subsequently published. My only presence in the article was my name and a one-liner of me saying that I hoped to take part in activities such as relay races once my feet were fully healed. I went through all the trouble with the press just for that one-liner!

In addition to an article, a TV interview was conducted and I chose to stay anonymous for the interview. It was then revealed that I was not exactly anonymous as they promised, thus signaling trouble with the press. Following the incident, I was sentenced to a lengthy phone call with a journalist who kept apologizing and rambled on incessantly about the lighting of the venue and functions of various TV’s. This only gave me the urge to hang up on her in order to cease her incessant rambling.

My feet are now fully healed and I can now engage in many sporting activities. Looking back, I find it laughable that I dreamt of attempting to balance on 6-inch stilettos when I can let alone barely balance on  2 inch heels during performances with my school’s Chinese Orchestra. This marks the end of memoirs of a girl with flat feet and the story might continue with memoirs of a girl with scoliosis.


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