I’ve been loving most of this whole sabbatical thing. It’s really nice, and some days I have plans with friends or family, while other days I don’t, and both are really nice. Maya has started school at our local community college and is in the process of settling in. I feel like I dodged a bullet with her not moving out, because if she were in college in VT or NY right now, I’d be pretty darned sad.
Amongst the relaxation and enjoyment of having time off, however, I’m having some weird kind of health issue with my foot. Feet. Legs. What could be wrong? I don’t know. The pain started in the big toe of my right foot (if I had said My Left Foot, we could have discussed Daniel Day Lewis. I’ll leave Nance to think about him for awhile, and see if she gets back to the rest of the post or not.) It felt as though I had strained it by doing lunges that were too deep or something. I had indeed been doing lunges, as part of my exercise routine, but I thought, gosh, if I strained it, wouldn’t I remember? Maybe not. So I backed off on the lunge type workouts. It got worse. I went to a party where one of the hosts (Ted’s lovely cousin) is in the final steps of getting her degree to become a physical therapist. She looked at it and wondered if perhaps I had an especially tight calf, as sometimes a tight one thing can affect other things. She suggested I might try stretching out my calves and Achilles tendons as part of a solution. So I did. It felt good to stretch them, but then I went to a yoga class and pushed it too hard, and then my knees started hurting. Did I tell you that the other foot (My Left Foot….talk to you later Nance) had started hurting? That the entirety of my feet were now hurting, not just the toes? No? Rats. So of course, I did the only thing that a normal person would do, and I went online and looked for symptoms. Gout. I have gout. Big toe pain = gout. That’s what the internet says, and why would the internet lie? Now I don’t eat a heavily protein diet, nor do I drink red wine (alas), nor do I eat organ meats (gross). But the internet also told me that dehydration can cause a flair up of an underlying case of gout, as can a sudden spike in consumption of caffeine. A little caffeine = good for gout relief. A lot of caffeine = bad for gout. Did I forget to mention to you that I have recently fallen in love with a nice latte once or twice (ok, three times) a week? There’s a Starbucks right down the street, and it’s so easy to pop in on the way back from a morning walk. The habit started, I think, when I was on Jury Duty a few months back, and for some reason I was groggy and thought a little coffee might be a good idea. I can’t drink coffee straight, or with just a bit of cream, because my stomach doesn’t react well. But a latte has enough milk to keep the demons at bay, and ever since Jury Duty, I’ve been popping over there more and more often. Anyway, to a normal person, 3 (ok, maybe 4 sometimes) lattes a week wouldn’t seem like a lot, but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that every person is different, and every person’s body reacts differently to the world in which it lives. I mean, I had doubled over in stomach pain, go home from work pain from coffee, and I was drinking that perhaps 2 times a week. The doctor couldn’t believe that was enough to give me grief, but when I quit the coffee, the pain went away. So…here I am with an online diagnosis of a disease that I don’t want, and the medication for which I do not want.
Since then, my knees have also started hurting. Not all of the time, but bending them to their full extent is very uncomfortable. I did a workout the other morning that included, in the cool down, getting into ‘child’s pose’. If you know that yoga pose, you know that you bend your knees a lot. It hurt in a weird way, as though the knees were very tight, as if they weren’t meant to bend that way, which they most definitely are. I don’t know what that’s about.
Seeing me hobble down the stairs one morning, knees and feet giving me grief, Ted suggested that I might want to go see Dr. Backie Crackie (our chiropractor), and see what he thinks. So off I went. Dr. Crackie doen’t think it’s gout, as I don’t have enough of the symptoms in his book. He said generally the pain is much worse than I’m describing, for one thing. Though he’s only seen maybe 5 gout patients in his career, which is long and illustrious. He did say that if the Physical Therapist’s idea was right, he should be able to relieve my pain by giving me an adjustment. OK, that’s a start.
The cracking felt pretty good, and gosh, I haven’t been in awhile. I should go more often. It does loosen up my back and neck and even opens my sinuses. But it didn’t help the pain. The pain felt a little different the next day, but not much, and now it’s back where it was.
So I bit the bullet and made a doctor’s appointment for next week. I do want to know what’s wrong. I did notice a bit of edema (swelling) in my right foot last night. I’ve not paid attention to that before, so I don’t know how long it’s been that way. It certainly isn’t that way all of the time, and the pain does not correspond to the swelling. First thing in the morning is the worst time. I come downstairs, drink 3 or 4 glasses of water, a bit of cherry juice (I’ve heard sour cherry juice is good for gout), take an Alieve, and stretch my calves. I wish I knew what was wrong. I hope my doctor can diagnose something, and that it’s simple and doesn’t require medication. Don’t doctors always want medication? I hate medication. To be more accurate, I worry about the side effects of so many medications. So first is to try to get a diagnosis, and then to see if there is a natural way to deal with whatever is going on. Thus far, drinking some sour cherry juice, stretching my calves, drinking more water…all of these are easy and don’t have any bad side effects, so that’s something. I’ll let you know what the doctor says next week.
Edited after Rain and Alley’s comments to add: Maybe it will turn out to be that I’m going barefoot around the house during my sabbatical, and not drinking as much water as I do when I’m working. Maybe it will be my newish shoes pinching me in a weird place. I’m hoping it’s something like this, and not something more serious. But I guess I want to rule out something worse, because I’ve not had anything like this happen to me before, and my shoes, while new, are the same brand of summer sandals that I’ve been wearing for 8 or 9 years now. And I’m not on my feet enough to cause all of this grief…I don’t think. We shall see.