March 2021
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Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine

My foot still hurts. I don’t post about it much, because, really, what is there to say? My foot hurts. It sucks to be in pain all the time, but it’s just one of those things that I have to deal with. It’s less preferable than not being in pain all the time, but it’s certainly more preferable than being in really bad pain all the time. And it’s definitely better than having something debilitating or serious. Like paralysis. Or cancer. Or paralyzing cancer.

In addition to my foot pain, the tendinitis in my knee is also back. Because I really needed to start feeling like an 80-year-old woman. Maybe I’ll go for the trifecta and get rheumatoid arthritis. Or hip dysplasia.

(Yes, I know, that mostly just happens to dogs).

(That’s the joke, you see).

(Now that I explained it, it’s not funny anymore).

I’m going to see my accupuncturist Wednesday night and then, next week, I’m going to see a massage therapist who specializes in sports medicine. I’ve also been mindful about my stretching and about using a foam roller.

Those of you are somewhat astute will notice that I haven’t mentioned going to the doctor. I should probably go see one, but I was so unimpressed by the care I got from my medical practice last time around, I feel like maybe I should go ahead and save myself the co-payments. It’s not like they were hitting my foot with a ball-peen hammer or jabbing me with infected needles, but I didn’t particularly feel like they were doing much to help me either. The only person who showed/did anything concrete for my healing process was the physical therapist, and it took two whole months before I could get in to see her. To summarize:

  • I run a half marathon on a sprained ankle, because I am S-M-R-T. During the course of the race, I hurt myself. Badly. The next day, I discover that I kindof can’t walk.
  • I go see a physician’s assistant, he orders up x-rays. My foot’s not broken, so they send me home with orders to come back if it still hurts.
  • It still hurts.
  • It still hurts a lot.
  • I call my medical group and they inform me that the PA that I saw is on vacation. They schedule an appointment for the week that he gets back.
  • I go see the PA again. He tells me that, because my foot still hurts, I should see an orthopedist. I wonder why we couldn’t do this over the phone, saving me from a co-pay, parking fee and having to go into work late. I am well aware that my foot still hurts. In other news, the grass is still green, the sky is still blue and I still hate it when people send me low-priority emails with the high importance flag checked off.
  • I go see an orthopedist. He determines that there is something wrong with my foot using the highly scientific method of jabbing it sharply with his thumb and listening to me scream in pain. He suspects a stress fracture. I am given a boot, told to avoid any forms of exercise that isn’t upper-body-only weightlifting and to schedule an MRI.
  • I schedule an MRI. Surprise, surprise, it is not going to be the next day.
  • I wait.
  • I wait some more.
  • The lack of regular cardio makes me go a little crazy.
  • I go into the MRI center at 9pm at night. They stick me in a little box, like a veal, and use giant, expensive magnets to take pictures of my foot.
  • I go home to wait.
  • I wait some more.
  • The orthopedist calls me up and tells me that the good news is that I don’t have a stress fracture. The bad news is that I have plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and posterior tibial tendonitis. He sounds vaguely impressed. I get a referral for physical therapy and I’m told to start weaning myself off the boot.
  • I stop wearing the boot, ASAP, because fuck the boot. I hate the boot.
  • I put the boot back on when my foot starts hurting again.
  • Surprise, surprise, there is a wait for PT. A long one. I cancel my plans to run in the Falmouth Road Race.
  • I wait.
  • I wait some more.
  • I see a physical therapist and she informs me that I actually tore part of my plantar fascia. The orthopedist never felt the need to tell me this. I’m assuming he didn’t want my head to get all big. She uses a combination of ultra-sound, massage and light stretching to help me out. My foot (finally) starts to feel better.
  • I’m told that my insurance is about to run out.
  • I call up the insurance company, all ready for a fight and they tell me that I have (approximately) 78,972,463 sessions left.
  • I fight with the PT office.
  • I fight with them some more.
  • They (finally) call up my insurance and are told that, yes, I have a million sessions left.
  • I have to stop doing PT because too many ultra-sound sessions could cook the inside of my foot like a piece of meat left in the microwave too long.
  • Try getting that mental image out of your head.
  • My foot still hurts.
  • Now my knee hurts.

So, dear readers, this is where we are. Every week, my foot feels a little better, but the pain is still there. And, now, my knee is acting up. It’s the same pain as last time and I know exactly what I did back then. So, I’m going to do my exercises, do my stretches, ice my knees and torture myself with a foam roller. I have no desire to spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours at the doctor’s office, just to have them tell me to do all of the things that I’m currently doing. I’m going to take that money and time and put it towards acupuncture and massage.

Someone pour me some wheatgrass, pass me some crystals and tell me to stop shaving. I think I just turned myself into a new-age hippie.

Modern medicine only has itself to blame.

For those of you who are tempted to sneak up behind me, get me in a head lock and then drag me to the doctor’s office, please don’t worry. We’re talking low-level, dull pain. The kind that makes you cranky but doesn’t make you scream in pain. The throbbing, stabbing, holy-shit-my-foot-is-on-fire pain was last summer. When my plantar fascia was torn and I was walking around on it. Because I had to wait for some dude to get back from vacation before I could see a specialist.

The moral of the story? Don’t assume that your doctor’s office has your best interests in mind (duh). Always advocate for yourself (duh). Don’t run 13.1 miles on a sprained ankle (does that even need to be said?).

Also, get your chakras aligned.

And you might want to take a look into that whole Chi situation.

10 comments to Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine

  • That sucks 🙁 Hope the acupuncture helps. Did any of the doctors say anything about your gait and orthotics maybe?

  • There is a clinician Boston that specializes in injury prevention for runners. They look at gait, flexibility, etc. Unfortunately, they have a five month waiting list. I’m hoping to get in there at some point to see about not having these problems in the future.

    There’s also a place that specializes in sports medicine that a friend recommended. I’m going to see about going there.

  • NancyH

    i’m absolutely with you. a good PT/manual therapist/massage/non-quack chiropractor is worth a dozen doctors. i don’t have experience with acupuncture but seems like it could help!

    i also completely understand how frustrating it is not to be able to do your sports and workouts!!

  • It seems like the people with actual hands on experience have better things to offer than the medical professionals who refer us to them. :p

    Acupuncture seems to help. As do the plasters that she gives me to put on my various ouchy places.

  • Chris

    Amen sister!

  • I don’t have much to offer in terms of practical suggestions but I’m beaming you tons of compassion and virtual brownies.

  • What a nightmare, but I’m glad they weren’t poking you with dirty needles. I’ve been struggling with Plantar Fasciitis only for the past couple of years and its one step forward and two steps back. I stopped bothering with my HMO machine after about 6 months. I stretch, I ice and I really hope I don’t tear it. Oh – and I won’t run a half if I sprain my ankle *duh* 🙂

  • You’d think that wouldn’t be a lesson that I’d need to learn. But, well…..

    (at least I know better, now!)


  • I feel so much better now! 🙂

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