Happy New Year, My Foot!

December 31, 2009. Out with the old, in with the new, blah, blah blah. New year, new resolutions, new opportunities. How’s that working out for me so far? Let’s see, shall we?

First, we need to climb into the Wayback Machine and set the dials for May, 2003. I woke up one morning, got out of bed, and almost fell flat on my face. I had such an intense pain in my right ankle that I immediately wondered what I might have done during the night to break it.

Making a long story short, as they say, I hobbled to the nearest medical center, where, for the next four months, I was x-rayed, EEG’d, EKG’d, MRI’d, CAT scanned, Ultrasounded, contributed gallons of blood and urine, sent to specialists, tested for arthritis, gout, diabetes, kidney problems, liver problems – I think they may have done a pregnancy test on me by mistake. At the end of the testing period, they looked at my swollen foot, shrugged their physicianly shoulders, and gave me their learned diagnosis: “That’s just how you are.” They couldn’t tell me what caused the problem, or how to make it go away. That’s just how I was.

In the years since, this strange myxedema has reappeared at random intervals, attacking either foot at it’s strange whim, sometimes causing excruciating pain in the ball of my foot, arches, heels or ankles. Sometimes it lasts for a few hours, sometimes a few weeks. There seems to be no pattern.

Now that that’s established, let’s check and see how my new year’s progressed.

December 31 – January 3: The old familiar tingling had reappeared, and my left foot started to puff up. Pain in the ball of my foot, or, as I call that area, my “toe knuckles”. By New Year’s Morning, I couldn’t stuff my foot into a shoe; started wearing a sandal. Thought the look might get me on Peopleofwalmart.com. Went grocery shopping Sunday; while hobbling around on my swollen and painful left foot, the pinched nerve that causes pain in my right leg started acting up. At one point, I found myself standing in the pasta aisle, considering calling someone to come and get me, because I was convinced I couldn’t take another step. Of course, though, I could, and made my way home.

January 4-5: Started feeling sharp pains in my left knee. Made it difficult to get into and out of my car. Cameron (my 15-year-old) had to help me get undressed for bed.

January 6: Cam helped me get dressed, and we left a little early, but we were still too late to his bus stop. I drove him to school, but the trip back to the office was excruciating. When I got there, I found that I could not get out of my car. I simply could not move my left leg. A couple of my co-workers helped me get out of the front seat of my car and into the back seat; they then drove me to the ER of a local hospital. After a short exam and an x-ray, the ER physician told me I had a calcium deposit on my knee, and referred me to an orthopedic doctor. They prescribed Percocet, gave me some crutches, and said “Goombye”.

January 7: Knee/foot issues pushed to the side. I have a kidney stone, dammit! The lipthotripsy was scheduled in advance, and everyone agreed that my edema problems would not interfere with my non-invasive surgery. The procedure is, according to the physician who performed it, “very successful”.

January 7-10: Rehab from surgery at my co-parent’s house. She makes me comfortable and dinner, and I’m eternally grateful.

January 10: Back at work, trying to figure out how to work crutches, and trying to remember to piss through the strainer and collect my kidney stone particles so my urologist can examine them. Ankle and knee still painful, but not as bad.

January 11: First visit to orthopedic guy, who looks at my x-rays, takes some of his own, and agrees I have a problem. He shows me the calcium deposit on my x-ray, prescribes an MRI, and gives me a pamphlet explaining arthroscopic knee surgery.

January 12: Visit to Comprehensive Pain Center to discuss the herniated disc and pinched nerve in my lower back. Appointment made for January 19 to administer cortisone injection.

January 13: MRI.

January 14: Orthopedic doc looks at the MRI results and decides surgery is not necessary. He can’t even locate the alleged calcium deposit. All he sees now is fluid and arthritis. However, he’s concerned that my ankle is still swollen, even though there’s no pain. So he gives me a knee sleeve and some Voltaten gel to swab on my kneecap, and schedules me for some lymphedema therapy next week.

So that’s how my 2010 is going so far. How you doin’?

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