Migraine

The first one I’ve had in almost five years, I think. I used to get one roughly every six months, until my doctor decided that getting my allergies under control would help rid me of the migraines. Weirdly enough, it worked. But the downside of not having had one for so long is that my migraine medication (which was back then one of the new -triptan varieties, which knocked the hell out of my last migraine) has gone totally out of date, and so Did Not Work.

(More below the fold.)

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Orthotics

You haven’t heard much from me about running since the marathon. Mostly that’s because there hasn’t been any.

Actually, that’s an exaggeration. I took a week or so off to recover, and then tied the old running shoes back on. I ran once or twice a week for the next six weeks or so, but finally had to stop entirely. My left arch, which began griping late in training, and which got seriously bitchy during the marathon itself, escalated its litany of complaint until I could no longer ignore it. When I first started noticing that I had a left arch, it was because it would begin bothering me around ten miles into a long run; during the marathon, it started hurting around mile seven; finally, it hurt half a mile into a run, which was my signal to quit.

I went to see my primary care physician in late April — and I promise this post will not devolve into a rant on the failures of the U.S. medical system, though there are elements of that contained herein — saying that I thought my arch had fallen, and that I needed orthotics. She took one look at my foot and diagnosed a fallen arch, referred me to a podiatrist, and sent me on my way. I called the podiatrist’s office that day, but the first appointment I could get was three weeks later — the day after I was set to leave for three weeks in DC. So I didn’t get to actually see the podiatrist (half my fault; half theirs) until early June. But I went, gave them my co-payment, and saw the doctor. He manipulated my feet, watched me walk around, and told me I needed orthotics.

Here’s the ranty part, though: at the end of the appointment, he tells me that my insurance company — the same company, remember, who dictated to my primary care physician to whom she could refer me — won’t cover the orthotics if his office makes them. “They have another lab they’ll want to send you to,” he says. He’d be happy to go ahead and make them anyhow, though, for $500. Being in a bit of a tight cash-flow period, though, I decide I’ve got to get the insurance company to pay for them, if they will, so I wait for them to call me with the approval information. Which they do, pretty speedily in fact, and refer me to an orthopedics lab nearby. So I have a little mini-rant built up here about why I got referred to someone who wasn’t going to be allowed to do the work, but I’ll let that slide.

I get an appointment with the orthopedics lab on June 21, and get re-diagnosed. The orthotist who sees me, incidentally, gives me the most severe diagnosis I’ve gotten, telling me that I’ve done significant damage to my feet — and by extension, my ankles, knees, and hips — by failing to address this problem sooner, but he also gives me exercises to do to improve the problem, in addition to the orthotics. He takes impressions of both my feet, says that the orthotics should be ready in five to seven business days, and that they’ll call to make an appointment when they’ve got them. Which they did, but they couldn’t get me in to pick them up until today.

But now I’ve got them, big rigid arched pieces of plastic in both my shoes. The orthotist says I need to break them in carefully, and let my feet adjust to them, so I don’t end up bruising my feet and making the whole thing worse. And he’s told me that I have to hold off on running until I can wear the orthotics all day, every day, for a week.

But oh boy. After that, I’m itching to go.

Warning:  This Post Is All About Boobs, But Not In A Good Way

So I spent several hours yesterday having my boobs crushed in order to have various pictures of their insides taken.

Actually, it was only one boob, and the crushing part of the festivities didn’t last all that long. For those of you who have not had this done, though, you should know that this medical procedure is like the gift that keeps on giving. You’re aware that it’s happened for way longer than you want to be.

Anyhow. This is the fourth such boob-crushing I’ve gotten to experience. And I’m a mere 37 years old. This does not seem to me to bode well for the future of my relationship with my breasts.

What follows is long, so it’s going below the fold. Read at your own risk.

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The Saga of the Toenail

So it’s clearly time to stop thinking about all this pointless, whiny nonsense about my “career,” and whether or not any recent markers of “success” or “failure” indicate that perhaps I’ve made some colossal “miscalculation” about whether I was in fact “meant” to do the thing that I’ve spent the last fourteen years or so of my “life” in preparation to “do,” or whether there exist such “inequities” in our prevailing “social structure” and “institutional climate” that no amount of “talent” or “hard work” on my part could possibly allow me to “achieve” the thing that I’ve been convinced that I “want,” when, in fact, it may well turn out that I just “don’t.”

Enough of that. There are more important things for us to consider.

Like my toenail.

The nail of the toe that is right next to my big toe, on my right foot. The nail which I discovered day before yesterday is in an advanced state of toe-abandonment, and is preparing to pull up stakes and light out for the territories.

Despite previous issues here described, I’ve never lost a toenail before, and I’m just not sure what to expect. Interestingly, the one I’m losing is not the one I expected to lose; this one’s on a whole other foot, and is a normal toenail, as toenails go. A toenail that has never given me a minute’s trouble.

The toe proper has tended to blister a bit, in recent years, when I run, on the top edge next to my big toe, because I think the big toe overlaps it a bit and rubs in an inappropriate way when I run. So I’ve dealt with blistering and callusing and general nastiness, but that’s the nature of toes. I never thought much of it, and just tried to keep after it with the pumice stone, when I could.

Post-marathon, though, once I could bring myself to look at my feet again — something I resisted at first because I wasn’t sure what state the toe I’d had trouble with before was going to be in — I discovered that, in fact, the nail of the bad toe had gone completely black, and there was a bit of blistering, and I thought, here we go, dead toenail walking. I never expected the other foot to have gotten in on the act, but, in fact, it had.

The usual blister-on-edge-near-big-toe was there. But the blister extended around over the tip of the toe, in a way I’d never seen before. I didn’t think much of it at first, assuming that it would reabsorb, as things do, and I’d be able to go on ignoring that toe, as I have pretty much all my life, but for the pumicing.

Instead, the blister grew a bit. Not much — no elephantiasis of the toe or anything — but just enough that it became uncomfortable. Shoes were no fun. So I did the thing one has to do with such a blister, and let me just say that it was nasty. It turned out that there was a small pool of blood right under the edge of my toenail, but I got it drained out, and all seemed well.

Over spring break, I got a pedicure. All of my toenails were a lovely red, and my calluses and blisters professionally attended to.

And because of the red, I had no idea anything was amiss, until earlier this week, when I noticed that my toenail just… didn’t look… right. Like it was at a weird angle or something. And I reached down to touch it, and it moved. And the uncanniness of this can only be compared to that feeling of moving your tongue around a tooth, as a kid, and suddenly feeling that tooth’s edge separating from your gums, and knowing that teeth aren’t supposed to do that.

The toenail is about eighty percent detached, at this point. The last twenty percent is not letting go, and — I say from unfortunate experience — screams like a mofo if you do something like catch it funny on a sock you’re trying to put on. So the whole thing is band-aided over, until the inevitable separation finally takes place.

From what I can tell, what’s underneath is none too attractive. This toe is not likely to see the outside of a band-aid for some time.

The stupid bloody toe from before, though, is soldiering on, as ever. Toenail still black under the red polish, but going nowhere.

And isn’t that just the way of things.

The Other Thing

The other thing is that moving makes it completely impossible to do anything else other than move. Because I can’t find any of the stuff that I need to do it with.

Posting’s likely to be a little light here for a while, given that (1) I’m so desperately behind in class preparations that every available moment here in the office needs to be spent on work, and (2) Verizon is so desperately behind on post-flood-and-mudslide repairs that my new phone service will not be connected until February 2, which gives me an optimistic date of February 14 before I’ve got working DSL at home.

Running’s also been thrown completely off-kilter by the move, both because for four days I could not find clean running clothes and because — and I only wish I were exaggerating — every muscle in my entire body hurts. My favorite one is the muscle which connects the second joint of my left middle finger with my palm. I’m very, very curious how that got such a workout.

Please, oh please, let me return to my regular schedule soon.

Ick

You know that feeling where you’re eating in a restaurant, and you bite into a piece of stir-fried chicken, and you can immediately tell that it’s been insufficiently stir-fried, and all you can think of is how you have to travel tomorrow, and you can’t have salmonella while you’re traveling? And then when, several hours later, you start feeling distinctly queasy, you can’t tell if it’s just the power of suggestion or if you really actually are getting ill? And how, given that uncertainty, you can’t decide whether the thing to do is just to try to go to sleep and see if it passes, or to, well, try to get the thing you think your body wants outside of you outside of you? Not to mention how, having opted for sleep, when you wake up the next morning still feeling just as queasy, you know that you’ve sort of missed your window of opportunity, because if queasy were to resolve into active being-sick right now, your travel day would be completely screwed?

I hate it when that happens.

Is This What It Feels Like to Be a Windows User?

So, that incipient case of the “chicken pox”?

Is not the chicken pox at all.

It is now, according to my doctor, a “virus of unknown origin.” Something almost certainly infectious, but untraceable without major lab analyses, which frankly aren’t worth it, as the virus seems pretty close to running its course.

Of course, because a mystery virus just wasn’t enough, my sore throat — which began as just a regular old sore throat such as one gets with the chicken pox, and then developed into nasty sores down the back of my throat, such as I’ve heard can also happen with the chicken pox — has morphed into a bacterial infection, which is in the process of turning into tonsillitis.

Antibiotics are on the way. Which is great and all, but I really want to run a full system scan, to root out any other little bugs that are lingering herein, waiting for their opportunity to surprise me.

Home, Again

Yes, I returned to Claremont eight days ago, after a fabulous trip through Paris and Tours. Yes, I’ve been meaning to post every day since I got back, but have been massively unable to do so, due to one crisis and another.

And yet, here I am, on a Monday night, when… aren’t I supposed to be in class right now?

Why, yes, I am.

Instead I’m at home. In bed. With the laptop.

And what appears to be an incipient case of the chicken pox.

And, I guess, plenty of time to get caught up here. More soon.

Them Singin’, Dancin’ Demons Do It Every Time

Inspired in part by the wonderful pulchritude, and in part by my own overindulgences, I’ve undertaken a plan of (somewhat) radical detoxing. The most significant aspect of my pretty much semi-annual attempt to achieve a less chemical existence is giving up caffeine, which has the immediate effect of making me feel as though someone is driving a railroad spike through my temporal lobe. Not good when one is frantically trying to finish up work on a manuscript about which one is decidedly ambivalent anyway.

The good news is that, as of last night, about 7:00 pm CDT, after two days of head-splitting and general depression, the pall lifted. Headache gone. Not thinking entirely clearly yet, but no longer feeling quite the same urge to dash in front of a streetcar, either.

What made the difference? Either the simple passage of time, or last night’s replay of the Buffy musical. You decide.