Turn to Toon for esoteric illnesses

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2007

One of my favorite doctors is Terry Toon. She works at Good Hardware, located behind the Foodland Shopping Center. She deserves the honorific title of "Doctor."

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Let's start at the beginning of the story as the famous radio commentator announced.

Last summer, my left heel started to really hurt when I walked. It became so bad that it took painful efforts to endure a ten-minute stroll on the finest pedestrian walkway in the world; that is the Juneau docks, a distance of about 12 mile or more up and back.

Very few tourists take advantage of it. They mostly crowd South Franklin Street. Even relatively few Juneauites enjoy it, too busy perhaps to view the awesome scenes of Gastineau Channel and the mountains of Douglas Island.

Since suffering two heart attacks in 1999 and 2003, an exercise regimen of brisk walks was called for, even though some adviced that I stop putting any pressure on my foot.

It was either "my heart or my heel." I continued walking.

But medical attention was necessary. Visiting my favorite doctor at Salmon Creek, he advised seeing a specialist, a podiatrist, who took x-rays but could detect no debilitating bone spurs.

My daughter advised seeing an acupuncturist, who stuck about a dozen needles in my foot which made it look as though I had been attacked by a porcupine on the Perseverence Trail.

But the pain persisted.

Finally Doctor Terry Toon of Good Hardware offered a solution. Toon had, to this point, identified my disability. She instantly recognized what was wrong and said it was "plantar fascitis." She told me that it may last forever. Learning the name may have aleviated some of tension, since over the following weeks into late fall, the pain went away.

I could find no definition in my medical dictionary for "plantar fascitis" so I asked Doctor Toon. She answered "plantar fascitis is inflammation in the heel tissue."

I asked how she knew so much. She said a relative suffered from the same condition. For esoteric illnesses I can now turn to Doctor Toon. She is also an expert plumber when called upon to furnish the right size part to fix a leaky faucet.

• Lifelong Alaskan Elton Engstrom is a retired fish-buyer, lawyer and legislator (1964-70) who lives in Juneau.

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