January can suck it.

Last week sucked. No other way to say it. It started off on Sunday morning with my making Texas chili (cooking is a rare event for me), and a couple hours later my hands felt as if they were on fire, thanks to my cutting jalapeno peppers (I guess it was a delayed effect). I tried several different things, including alcohol, lemon juice, and milk, multiple times. After several hours of intense pain, I think the apple cider vinegar finally did the trick; I was fortunately able to fall asleep to just slight heat in my hands. Lesson learned: wear gloves when cutting up hot peppers (note that hub is able to cut peppers with no ill effects).

But that was just a warm up (not pun intended). My left heel continued to hurt with every step I took, and fortunately, because of the craptastic weather (another reason for my January hatred) and people cancelling their appointments, the podiatrist was able to see me Tuesday afternoon. The result of that $40 copay: plantar fasciitis. The doc gave my foot a shot of something, which hurt a lot (I have no pain tolerance); I was given a hard, plastic cup to wear in my shoe and a prescription for a lot of ibuprofen. And I was told to ice it 4 times a day, which is not the easiest thing to do when you work. But worst of all, the doc said to stay off it as much as I can for six months. Ideally I should give up walking. Um, what? I typically walk at lunch most days and then I walk my dog when I get home from work and on the weekends. That's like telling someone to give up their morning coffee. But I told him I would stop walking for exercise for a few weeks and see how it goes, which is super unfortunate when I have the Weight Race coming up and have gained 8-10 pounds in the last year.

And then Wednesday night happened. I had a bunch of chips and many spoonfuls of guacamole before a big bowl of pasta for dinner. Soon after, I felt like there was a brick in my stomach. I figured I ate more than I should, plus I had had leftover chili for lunch. The pain continued throughout the evening, and worsened through the night. I got up a few times, and at one point, I had the chills, which seemed odd for overeating. When I woke up after little sleep, I took my temp, and it was 101. And my stomach still hurt; I thought it was the worst case of gas ever, which happened to remind me of my labor pains the night before I had the kid. I called off work but still took J to the bus stop, which was no small feat; it was extremely uncomfortable to bend over to put my boots on and get in and out of the car. But I was still holding out hope it would work itself out.

After the hubs went out and bought me some gas pills and I still felt lousy (that "brick" was still in there), I called my PCP and explained my symptoms. The woman who answered the phone said the flu that was going around came with stomach issues. With my fever and that a coworker called off the previous day for a stomach thing, I thought maybe it was one of those. But since I was in so much pain, I went to see a doctor. After doc asked me a bunch of questions and pressed on my stomach (holy pain!), he told me there was a 50% chance I had the flu and 50% chance it was appendicitis or diverticulitis. I am a little old for the former and a little young for the latter, so I was banking on the flu. Nonetheless, he suggested heading to the ER. I wanted to cry, which I did as soon as I got out to the waiting room (my neighbor came with me). Not only was I nervous about it being serious, but I had just spent $25 to see the doc and would be spending $125 at the ER, just to walk in that place.

I have been to the ER only twice. Once was when J cut her head, and we went to Children's. We were in and out in about an hour. The other time was when I hurt my ankle playing tennis (the first and last time of doing so) and was there for 2-3 hours. This ER experience, however, clocked in at just under 6 hours. Six hours of being in pain. Six hours of not knowing what the hell was wrong with me (well, 5 hours and 30 minutes of not knowing; the final 30 was finding out, getting instructions, and leaving).

Initially, I waited about 45 minutes to go back. During that first trip back, I got an IV/blood taken at a mobile cart and I peed in a cup (not at the cart). The nurse told me if I left with the IV, the police would come as it would be stealing. I guess drug users take those things. I was back out in the waiting room for about 1.5 hours, before heading to a sort of room in the ER. At that point, the nurse practitioner informed me I had a UTI and a high white blood cell count so they would need to do a CT scan to figure out what was going on. About an hour later, another nurse asked me where my urine was. Part of me wanted to say, how the hell would I know, the other part of me wanted to say, in my bladder, which is becoming full again from being here so long, but I just said I had no idea. I was tired, bored, and still in pain.

After another 45 minutes, I finally headed back to have the scan. That experience was not bad, other than a short-lived sensation of feeling warm and like I had to pee; nothing like the MRI I had done more than a year ago, with the constant jackhammer-like sound and being stuck in a tube. This took about 5 minutes after the setup, and it was only my mid-section that was in the doughnut-looking thing. I then waited another hour for the results:

Diverticulitis!

I told myself it was better than appendicitis because this meant no surgery, but I would need to be on antibiotics (one of which would cause me to projectile vomit if I drank alcohol), and the pain would subside in a few days to a few weeks. And the condition might never come back, it could come back multiple times, or I might need surgery. Ugh. At that point, I was just glad to be going home, though, to top off my departure, the nurse had a to get a wheelchair, rather than my walk out of the ER and to the car, because I could feel everything going black right after he removed the IV. Fortunately, I did not completely pass out. For the record, the hubs was with me; I would have been in no condition to drive.

Several days removed from the ER, I am feeling much better. I can finally bend over without immense pain. I still have pain throughout the day, but it comes less often. I had a fever the first two mornings after, but this morning, my temp was normal and I actually left the house, so there is that. I am slowly working my way up to eating more food; it is crazy to think that at a few bites of hash browns, one bite of sausage, and not quite two eggs was too much for me, but that was the most I have eaten since Wednesday. Supposedly I don't need to change my diet too much (unlike what docs told people years ago), but I should make sure I get enough fiber. Right now creamy foods and meat hold no appeal for me, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Pretty sure I will get over that soon.

Tomorrow I head back to work after being off since Wednesday. If my pain is like today, I should be fine, though sitting for that many hours will probably be a little challenging. I noticed my foot pain today because I spent more quite a few daylight hours out of bed (I walked 500 steps between Friday and Saturday), which was frustrating, but I guess those things take a lot of time to heal.

I am worried about things going forward. I am worried that the pain may take a long time to go away. I worry that I will eat the wrong things. I am worried that if I ever feel pain like this again, I am supposed to go to the ER. I am worried about how much this is going to cost. I am annoyed that my foot still hurts (mostly because I don't feel like dealing with two things), knowing that daily walking is supposed to help diverticulitis yet I am not supposed to walk with plantar fasciitus.

So, yeah, January has sucked for me so far. I really hope it gets better. And I say this as I sit here and try to ignore my latest headache and scratchy throat. Sigh.

Comments

bluzdude said…
OMG, Facie, that sucks so hard! It's like there are no good answers for anything...

Good thing we have such a robust health care system in place... No... Wait...

Maybe you can bicycle or use an elyptical trainer... Both should cause less stress on your foot but still provide some exercise.
Facie said…
Thanks for the comment, Bluz. Once I am feeling back to normal for more than a day, I am going to try walking again. Giving it up seems silly.

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