Monday, February 10, 2014

I can't come up with a clever title for this one...

There are a lot of things pain does to a person. It does its work slowly, sometimes, so slowly you don't even realize it. Like a river changing its course. Just one day it happens to be there and you don't remember it always being there, but you can't remember when it wasn't there.  Losing my hearing was one of those gradual things. I didn't realize how bad it had gotten till I was able to hear things again. It makes me wonder just how long I suffered through it (and my family, for that matter. Having to repeat things is annoying. Trust me, I know).

A few weeks ago, I had my usual followup appointment and I discovered I had a new doctor. I get a new doctor every few years because the Veteran's hospital in Madison, Wisconsin is a teaching hospital. Normally, when I see my doctor, everything gets updated across the board (I'm speaking of the medicines I take to stay alive and it includes my Hydrocodone and muscle relaxers). Of all the pills I take (I take blood pressure meds and water pills that are prescribed), the Hydrocodone is the only one that is refilled on a monthly basis. ALL the others (including the over-the-counter vitamins I have to take) are a 90-day supply (including the muscle relaxers). I don't know why this is, because I would think a 90 day supply of muscle relaxers would be just as bad as a 90-day supply of Hydrocodone.

Anyway, it took me till this month to realize that there's a pattern to things. Like I said, all my medicines are a 90-day supply but the pain meds. And I call in my refills with two weeks notice- just like they tell you to- so I don't end up running out. This time, though, I called in my refill and the automated voice told me that the prescription had expired and if I wanted to request a renewal, press one now. So I did. It said to "wait ten days" before calling back. I had two weeks, of course ten days is nothing.

Now, I get enough pain meds to take six a day for thirty days. I don't take that many every day. Some days I just take three at night. But as we all know, this past year has been the weirdest weather year ever. I have no idea when I'll have a day bad enough to require daytime pain meds. So, when ten days came and the automated number told me that "a request has been submitted, no action has been taken", I stopped taking any daytime pain meds. I started only taking two at night, and taking over-the-counter acetaminophen. (Hydrocodone is 5mgs of hydrocodone and 325 mgs of acetaminophen). Plus my nightly muscle relaxers. I called back two days later (so, twelve days after the request) and was told it was "processing".

I had several days where I needed to take pain meds, but I also had the luxury of not having to do anything or go anywhere, so I just suffered through it. They came in the mail before I ran out, luckily. And the day that the pills arrived, I took two. It was great. I noticed the difference within an hour. (then I proceeded to take a bunch of photos of bald eagles at a local park, trudging around in the snow for 40 minutes).

So, that's the usual bullshit. Pain here, pain there, sometimes less pain, sometimes more pain. And the new-normal bullshit... the pain in my foot. My left foot, to be precise. I always have foot pain- always. For the last 22+ years. I know this, because my son just turned 22 years old and it was while I was pregnant with him. Sometime between the end of Bristol (first September) and one of the other faires (first week of October, second week of October) or Teslacon (first of November), my plantar fasciitis flared up and has not stopped. I tolerated it because I had no choice. I had shit to do and it had to be done. Nothing helps- no pain meds can even take the edge off this pain. It feels like a red hot railroad spike is being ground into my heel every time I put weight on it. When I don't have weight on it, it is a dull, throbbing, burning reminder not to ever stand up again. Any time you see me at an event and I have any kind of limp, odds are that its my feet. My knees never hurt anymore (not since the knee replacement).

Back in the day, I went through a cowboy phase. I had the hat, the boots, even a Driz-a-bone coat. (I didn't wear the hat much, though). The slight heel on the cowboy boot takes the pressure off heel spurs/plantar fasciitis. That's how I survived for a number of years- when I was doing the four-miles a day concrete pounding in sneakers, I spent those days wearing cowboy boots. Well, I don't have cowboy boots anymore. I don't get to wear cute girl shoes with a slight heel either. Till now... A couple months ago, I discovered these boots...



And they worked. That little heel took some of the pressure off the spurs that create the pain at the slight-inside part of my heel. And, dammit, they look cool too! (they're RED!) Look... see how cool they are?


Well, they don't work much anymore. They do ease a bit of the pain, but instead of eliminating it like my old cowboy boots used to, they reduce it to a grinding bruise pain. That's hugely better than it was before, don't get me wrong. And if I could wear these every day, I sure as hell would. But if you have bone spurs, you know they don't only exist in the heel. I also have to tolerate it in the front of the arch, near the ball of my foot.

After months of this pain, I finally looked up home remedies beyond "a slight heel". Ice, stretches, elevation, rest... I've done it all. The ice part doesn't help at all. It just makes my heel cold. Stretches have their own issues with hurting like fucking hell- but I do them! Every morning before I get out of bed, I do a few stretches. Sometimes it helps, most times it doesn't. And rest... elevation. Sure, I'd sit down with my feet up if I could. So, I Googled "when to go to the doctor" and now I have an appointment next week with a podiatrist. I haven't seen him in about four years (shortly after my one-year followup with my knee surgeon). When I had my knee replacement, the podiatrist gave me some kind of shot in my right heel (same area), so I would be able to use my right side during my recovery. By comparison, that spur rarely hurts, even now. (I still have the general foot pain, though).

I'm going to make the suggestion that we just cut off my existing foot and grow a whole new one. They can do that now, right? This is the future we were always told about when we were kids, right? RIGHT!?

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