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statico (5018)

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Co-author of Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook []

Journal of statico (5018)

Sunday October 17, 2004
10:19 PM

amputate, dammit.

[ #21389 ]

(Usually I try to make my journal entries Perl-oriented, but I really have to vent when things turn medical. I wish use Perl; let me post images with these entries, as they'd be very humorous and artistically accurate.)

Three times in the last two years, one of my feet would cause a two- or three-day ordeal in which I was barely able to walk. I'd hobble around a bit here and there and it turned out to be tendon fasciitis, or inflammation of the material around the tendons in the feet. The pain I would get at night was just the tendons tightening up. No problem, six or eight-hundred milligrams of ibprofen clears up any inflammation. Bring it on!

Three weeks ago, the big toe in my right foot started to hurt a but, kind of like it had popped out its joint and needed a good snap. I figured I had stubbed it somehow and that it would clear up. Man, was I wrong. That's like calling an asteroid the size of Texas headed for Earth a cute "space marble."

You have probably experienced the pain of getting hit really hard in the shins which, besides an annoying lump, produces some of the must acute pain I can imagine. The kind that, after you're done swearing at the desk/chair/goon that hit you, throbs and throbs and makes you want to throw up. Now, imagine that in one of your feet, and you can picture what started to wake me up at nights.

After the hobbling turned from funny-amusing to painful, I finally saw the folks at the Lane Health Center who, after a blood test, told me that I had a high uric acid level.

What does high uric acid mean? Gout. Yes, gout. The disease that plagued European kings in the Dark Ages, as well as my Dad. Wikipedia's definition of gout is pretty accurate in how fucking painful it is. But wait -- it gets better! In addition to gout, the tendon fasciitis had flared up, causing the arch of my foot to hurt. And here's the kicker: I had sprained that ankle from walking on it!

Now, I can understand the gout. My Dad has it even though he eats right and bicycles around 2,000 miles a year in the New Hampshire hills. I figured I was pretty healty as well. I could use to lose about 10-15 pounds and, up until I switched apartments in September, I doing a solid cardio and weight training workout at the gym almost daily. Additionally, up to that point I had decided to reduce my intake of pasta and bread and was making up by eating a lot more meat, especially red meat. That, plus a one-time treat of fried clams and a small but steady daily intake of scotch or beer, turned into a condition that made me want to lick any rat carrying the Black Plague.

For the first time in my life, I got to experience the fun and joy that is using crutches. Crutches are humanity's way of reminding you how easily your armpits can get irritated. However, they worked. After my liver finished its whiny alcohol withdrawl, the foot began to get a bit better.

I thought all was well, but in reality, my right foot had started to feel unloved and rejected. This was completely justified as it hadn't recieved nearly the level of pampering and love that the left foot had. So, while I was up at my parents' new house helping them move, the right foot decided to spite the left and hit me with twice as much pain than the left had even caused.

My dad rushed me to the emergency room at 5 in the morning and I was introduced to one of the medical field's favorite forbidden fruits --- vicadin. The nurse handed me two pills because I was "a bigger guy." Fifteen minutes later, the pain was gone, and I was definitely stoned.

The vicadin definitely helped. I was actually able to hobble around with the crutches and, eventually without them. And then the vicadin ran out.

A few friends were able to help me out and I actually succesfully telecommuted to class via Skype. Kind of embarassing and nerdy, but I was definitely able to hear what was going on and ask questions.

Now, wonderfully, I've been in my room for three days. The left ankle has acted up from walking strangly on the foot. The vicadin is long gone and ibprofen does nearly nothing besides give me a fuzzy kind of headache. Who knows if I'll even make it to class tomorrow. Plus, the way both of my feet are acting now, I'll probably be up at around 5am because of the throbbing pain.

When this is over, I really have to reward my girlfriend and roommate for being such sports. Pete (the roommate) has put up with me even though I've been kind of short-tempered from the pain and being house-stricken. Emily (the girlfriend) has gone above and beyond --- doing my laundry, cooking me dinner, bringing me pills and water. Both of them are indeed fantastic people.

Anyway, tomorrow I get to somehow hobble over to the Health Center. I'll sit up on one of the examination benches and simply moan, "Please fix me."

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  • When I walk a lot, or stub my toe... usually within a week or so that joint will be inflamed, sometimes to the extremes that you describe. The medical opinions from the people I've consulted are basically "not much we can do".

    So I take Ibuprofen to kill the swelling and numb the joint a bit, or get a prescription for stronger drugs if that's not enough. I try to drink a lot of water, because some part of the theory of the process involved includes relative dehydration.

    I've also had some success with the

    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge