In addition to the usual mixed bag of physical calamity that is my personal carcass, joining the chorus of pain recently has been a worsening problem in my left foot. I’ve been suffering with pretty nasty plantar fasciitis since this summer, and my research said that RICE and good stretching of my calves would eventually ease the pulling on the plantar fascia, so that’s what I did. However, it didn’t get better. And as time wore on, I started feeling the pain move up the back of my left heel. I did a lot of icing and stretching and avoiding of the doctor, because ever since my stroke scare a few years back, I have had very little faith that going to the doctor will actually do anything but make me a $15-25 co-pay poorer. Subsequent doctor visits since that incident have only reinforced this belief.
So there I was in my cubicle a few weeks ago, in need of a break, so I got up and stretched my calves as I’d been doing for months without incident, with a mind to taking a turn about the office building. But when I stretched the left one, something very, very bad happened. It felt like I had ripped my Achilles tendon, not entirely, but certainly like I was working on it. Imagine a rusty steak knife sawing at the back of your ankle and you’ve pretty much got what it felt like. I hobbled back to my chair and called my doc. A visit the next day resulted in me getting a referral to the orthopedist and an order for X-rays. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to see the orthopedist for 2 weeks. Suffice it to say that there was a fair amount of suffering, icing, cursing, and wincing filling my time while I waited.
Monday, finally, I went in with a foot wrapped in an Ace bandage. The orthopedist did a fairly decent exam, and only made me howl in pain the one time as he tested my assertion that flexing my foot at all resulted in the rusty-steak-knife sensation. Lo, and behold, but it STILL hurt! He suggested that at this point, my Achilles tendon probably just has micro-tears, and it needed a chance to heal. (Because when you’re constantly reinjuring it by walking, reflexively flexing it, and letting strange doctors bend your toes back, it can’t do that.) Let’s put it in a cast!
Now, I had suggested that possibility to Scott when we talked about it, and when I showed up back at work with my foot in a cast, I said, “Did I call it, or what?” Who needs medical school?
Frankly, the cast, as inconvenient and unwieldy as it is, has been a relief, both physical and mental. Physically, I cannot flex my foot in the way that makes it hurt; mentally, I feel like I might just have some hope, because I’ve been feeling pretty hopeless about the whole works lately; chronic pain is a bitch, especially when it’s getting worse. I’ll be wearing it for 4 weeks, getting it off right before I leave for camp, which is good, because my ocean-appreciating, whale-watching walk will be seriously compromised if I’m gimping around in this cast.
In the meantime, I get to learn all kinds of new things, like how to keep the shower water out of the top of the cast. I paid extra for waterproofing, but that just means the cast doesn’t get ruined if you get it wet; it doesn’t keep the water from slithering coldly across your skin and pooling at the bottom, where it takes all day to dry, and feels clammy and gross in the meantime. After trying the Hefty bag/rubber band combo (epic failure), it seems Saran Wrap at the top may be my answer. The family has been helpful. Athena keeps chewing my bare toes, which could be dangerous for her, if I reflexively move my foot and she gets clubbed like a baby seal. Rocky prefers to chew the walking shoe attachment that I wear over the cast. Monte just wants a lap, and he ignores my handicap entirely; he will not be denied. At least Scott has been wonderful about fetching things, asking me if I need anything, and not choosing the parking spot as far as possible from any possible destination, as is his wont.
Good times, good times.
All I want for Christmas is my health. It’d be such a novelty. I’ve been very good this year. (Of course I have; how much trouble can a cripple get into?) In any case, a relatively pain-free 2008 would be received with much gratitude and great relief.
Please and thank you,
Kristie Cunningham, good girl since 1971