Saturday, November 11, 2017

Like an 18th Century Invalid

About 3 months ago, I decided to hang an IKEA shelving system in one of our Guest Room closets.

No problem, I thought, I've done this many times before. How could anything possibly go wrong?

After climbing up and down a stepladder all day, I went to bed, and awoke the next morning with a terrible pain in my left foot.

I considered going to the ER - you don't mess around with feet! - but was dissuaded from going by my husband. "Maybe it's just a sprain, or something, or a cramped muscle. Just keep off it for a couple of days, and it will get better, I bet," he said.

I didn't go to the ER. I waited a week, and then went to a doc-in-a-box clinic, where they took some X-rays.

Nothing showed up on the X-rays, so the doctor told me it was probably a sprain, and - like my husband suggested - told me to ice it and not walk around too much.

I like to be busy. If I feel well enough to be up and about, then I will be up and about, damn it, because days where I feel great are not ones to be wasted.

I went to IKEA the next day.

My foot hurt horribly that night. And for the next week.

I waited another week, and made an appointment with a podiatrist, because "walking it off" was obviously not working.

I chose a podiatrist whose website stressed conservative care, versus the ones I saw whose home pages discussed their cutting edge surgical skills. Surgery should be a last resort, in my not-so-humble opinion.

The podiatrist took X-rays, and nothing was visible. After quizzing me about my activities, and hearing that I'd been climbing a stepladder, he said that he thought it was a stress fracture.

He, being a foot expert, told me that if it was a stress fracture, it might not show up on an X-ray film for a few weeks, if ever, which explains why the doc-in-a-box didn't see a break. He gave me a choice: he could either give me a boot/cast to wear for 3-4 weeks, and we could see what happened, or he could have me get an MRI of my foot to determine 100% if it was a stress fracture.

I went for the boot. Sure, 70% of the MRI would be covered by insurance, but that's still possibly a few hundred dollars, and the boot cost $30 (after insurance).

After three weeks, I walked around without my boot/cast and felt great. No foot pain!

At least, while I was walking around sans boot, there wasn't any pain. That night, however, I was in a lot of pain.

I hadn't worn shoes while walking around. The doctor had neglected to mention that I have to always wear padded shoes while walking on hard surfaces, like our wood and tile floors.


I re-fractured my foot.


Another 6 weeks passed, and I felt secure enough to go sans-boot, again. I wore some comfortable, sensible-heeled boots for a day, and felt fine.

Then, I wore my adorable leopard-print ballet flats, and all (foot) hell broke loose.

I immediately put the boot back on, and called the podiatrist again.

A second round of X-rays showed that there was definite healing where I'd fractured my metatarsal - the bone there is thicker, now - but there were no visible breaks.

"Maybe there's just a spot that hasn't healed yet," he said. "It's been 10 weeks since I first saw you; insurance won't cover a bone growth stimulator until 3 months, give or take a few days. Let's give you a new boot" (mine was worn out, and the cushioning air bladder no longer held air) "and see you back in two weeks. Also, you might want to try to completely stay off of it, if possible. If you have to be up and around a lot, try using crutches or a knee walker."

Determined to be careful, I rented a knee walker, and I've been using it if I have to walk a long distance. Mostly, though, I've been camped out on the living room sofa, with my foot elevated and an ice pack strapped to my foot, trying to keep it from swelling too much.

Meanwhile, my poor, wonderful husband is doing what he always does: stripping old latex paint off the woodwork throughout the house, patching cracks in walls, and generally slaving away to make our house a home.

While I lie on the sofa. Drinking La Croix and playing games on my phone.

Yes, I feel guilty.

But, you know.

Doctor's orders.