This little piggie. . .

img_4698This has been a long time coming.  For the better part of three years, I’ve been battling a Plantars Wart that was successfully treated but then morphed into hyperplasia and the callus from hell.  No amount of intervention short of surgery by the Cutie Pie Foot Doc, aka Kevin Brown, DPM, helped. 

The real tragedy of this situation is that I have not been able to wear cute shoes for many of the days during those three years.  Or if I did wear cute shoes, I was only able to wear them for an hour or two before I had to take them off.  I have found myself barefoot in some strange situations:  my son’s wedding in Spain, waiting on an Uber after the Andrea Boccelli concert in the Columbus snow, and routinely at the office.  I have walked barefoot down city streets, through the Dollar General and all sorts of other places in the course of my daily living.  West Virginia girl or no, this got to be silly.

BrownThe Cutie Pie Doc did, about every three months, effect a debridement of the 4th toe of my left foot which is a fancy way of saying he dug out the callus while I gasped in pain.  For a few weeks afterward, I would be fine — wearing cute shoes, walking, dancing, and, generally, carrying on as I am wont to do, but then the callus would develop, constrict my toe, and cause pain significant enough to affect my walking ability.  When my mom and I went to see the Vietnam Memorial in D.C., I spent a lot of time sitting on a park bench and Uber-ing rather than walking and sightseeing.  It was about that time that I said, “Enough.”

I went to see the Cutie Pie Doc again where I repeated my “Enough” and he too said, “Enough.”  We agreed on surgical intervention.

So, yesterday at noon I made my way to the surgery center and had my 4th piggie, the one that had none, shortened, tendons moved, arthritis dug out, and a temporary pin inserted.  All of that took, according to Cutie Pie, ten minutes.  Now neverimg_4697mind, that I went hours and hours and yet even more hours without morning coffee, it was worth it.  Granted, I am on pain pills, but even with a heavily bandaged foot and a pin, mind you, a pin, I am experiencing less pain.  Plus I get to stay home from work for a few days.

The downside is the sexy surgical sandal I must wear for two weeks.  Oh.  And the pin sticking out of the top of my foot.  If you look at the photo of my foot at the beginning of this post closely enough you can see the pin.

But I can do this.  Yes, I can.  I can.  Like I said, already there is less pain.  And I get to wallow on my beloved sofa and eat junk food wee, wee, wee all the way home for a few days free of work responsibilities and housecleaning responsibilities.  It’s a mini-vacation!

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

momwristSo, my 75-year-old mother broke her wrist while roller skating.  She fell.  (I’ve been instructed to point out that she fell in the most graceful of ways.)

Go ahead and laugh.  I did and so did she.  She even laughed when she found it was broken in two places and required surgery.  She laughed during pre-op and laughed post-op.   She laughed when she viewed the x-ray showing her dandy new titanium plate and pins.

I ferried her about for a couple of days while we got the medical stuff taken care of, but she’s been pretty self-sufficient.  Luckily, it was her left wrist.

Orthopedics have come a long way.  She’s not in a cast; she wears a brace which allows her to move her hand.  In fact, she has exercises she must do requiring her to move her hand this way and that.  Initially, I was worried she wouldn’t do the exercises.

Oh pshaw.

She does them near constantly in between doing stuff she probably shouldn’t be doing:  like using her cordless drill to replace a large board in my fence.

Mom’s a character.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chef Boy ‘R Mine has been having trouble with his back.  It’s pretty serious and he has a referral to a surgeon.  I’m pretty wigged out about it all.  He’s only 30.

Step One is for him to have a steroidal lumbar injection to help manage the pain.  I’m leaving for Atlanta on Wednesday to be with him and act as his chauffeur the day of the procedure.

Me?  I’m more or less intact.  I just did a freelance project on self-care and I’m all hyped up to be good to myself.  I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it.  I had a lovely week at the beach with my best friend.  I’ve been getting out and about much more than I have in the past couple of years.  I’m active with a book club and a writing group; and starting to hang out in Charleston again.

Although I’m worried about the kid, it’s mostly good to be me these days.    While the rain has been unrelenting this summer, I’m having a good time.

Sucker Punched

tuckered emmylouA few weeks ago, I fell for no good reason and landed on my knees.  The impact was such that I’m quite sure I left an impression in the concrete sidewalk.  One knee was torn up and developed a horrendous scab; the other swelled to the size of a softball.  Both of them astonished me with their cries of pain.

The pain took my breath.  For a good four days, I couldn’t stand or sit or walk or lie down without pain so intense I was reminded of labor.  The pain wasn’t baby-producing intense, but it did provoke the same sort of awe.

This week, I got news that sucker-punched me.  No.  Nobody died.  My relationships are all intact except maybe for the relationship I have with myself.  For several days, my self-esteem has been crying out with the same level of pain as did my knees.

I have decided to get over it.

Today, I spent my time in the much neglected garden doing triage.  I didn’t get as far as I had hoped due to the electric lawnmower dying, but I accomplished much in getting my equilibrium (and self-esteem) back.  The puppies frolicked in the warm spring air and I tended to tender plants while guiltlessly executing weeds and banishing leaves.

Gardening season is upon me.  I much prefer the awe of an Appalachian spring over the awe of surprise pain.

Too Big for My Britches

Soon I'll be rocking the 501s again!

Soon I’ll be rocking the 501s again!

The Atkins Diet and I are having a fight today. So far, it’s winning.  I have what is called The Atkins Flu – headache and malaise being the chief of my symptoms.  It occurs at the beginning of the Induction Phase of the diet – the first two weeks – as carbohydrates are limited to 20 grams or less and the body switches from storing carbs to burning fat.

Yes, I’ve gotten too big for my britches.   The stress of the past few years, plus my love of carbohydrates, has flooded my system with cortisol.  Combine that with menopause and it all becomes an unsightly mess.  More importantly, carrying this extra weight hurts.

After the vacation, I felt serene enough to plunge myself back into low carb dieting. Years ago, things got a bit out of hand and the Atkins Diet straightened it all out in record time.  This, after I’d tried the low fat, counting calories route for some time.  Please.  No criticisms.  This strategy works for my body.  It’s only been a week and I’m already down 6 lbs plus I’ve lost a lot of the bloat that gluten provokes in me.  I know what works for me and this is it.  By the time I reach my goal, my cholesterol and triglycerides will be very good and I will be rocking my favorite pair of jeans.  Just you wait and see!

In the meantime, I have another day or so of feeling crummy. By Sunday or Monday, I should be energetic and ready to take over the world.

Oh for Pete’s sake. . .

brokenfootSo, of course I broke my foot four days before I leave for the Great Southwest Ash Dash. It’s almost appropriate given HMO’Keefe’s interest in bone.

Last night was rough. I was in a lot of pain and certain I would have to cancel. I was bereft beyond words and under the influence of hydrocodone. It was not a pretty sight.

So the breaking of the foot is not even an interesting story. I merely stepped on my right foot wrong, wobbled, caught myself and then gaped in astonishment as my foot exploded into fiery pain. I hobbled about a bit until it was clear something was really wrong. My mom dragged me into the nearest doc-in-a-box where they pronounced me broken, sent me home with pain pills, crutches and dire warnings about putting any weight on my foot.

Last night was just awful.

This morning I saw the cutie-pie doc that did the three foot surgeries following my car accident. He’s a bona fide sweetie, nice to look at it, and a really caring guy not to mention competent. You can’t ask for more in a doc other than looking older than 12. He’s nearly my age and looks like he’s skipping school and hanging out in an orthopedic practice.

He tells me that I was lucky. The fractured bone usually completely separates in these types of fractures and he has to pin it back on. I didn’t separate. Consequently, I’m in an ace bandage and walking boot with news that once the swelling goes down, I’ll feel a whole lot better. The really good news is that the swelling should abate before I get on the plane. Yes, I can still go although I won’t get to wear my spiffy new hiking boots and the suitcase needs to be re-packed to accommodate my needs-based itinerary of lots of sitting.

My co-travelers are being real troopers about my limited trooping ability. I’ve been blessed with some really wonderful people in my life. So the epic trip now has a heroine with an obstacle as all good epics must.

Berry Berry Bad

my dog is incredibleSo, the Berry Berry Sweet Dog is not getting better in spite of my efforts and that of the vet’s. So today” I took him back to Olson’s Animal Hospital fand we learned that he’d lost another 1.25 pounds. He now weighs 6.9 lbs. He was almost 9 lbs. when this adventure began and that was after a week of not eating much. Bless his sweet little heart. He’s been on antibiotics and decongestants, but whatever has a hold on him is not letting go.

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Berry, Dr. Olson and Sasha

Dr. Olson wants to keep him which is good because I told him that after losing Doug to a long illness and then Babette, my nerves are shot. This sweet little dog is never going to bond with me as long as I keep torturing him with pills and force-feeding. I’m sure Plan B which involves injectable antibiotics, IV for his poor little dehydrated body, and Sasha (the tech) doing the force-feeding is going to be good.

I love my vet. I got hooked up with him quite by accident. When my mom was running Doggie Daycare, Babette came down with a life threatening, indeed we nearly lost her, uterine infection. I told Mom to take her to the vet and I’d meet her there. I gave her directions. She went to the wrong vet. What a serendipitous event! Dr. Olsen and his staff are everything you want in a pet care team. He saved Babette and I’m comfortable about Berry’s future.

plan bAll of this has been nerve-wracking. Babette died while I was already grieving. Berry showed up in a rather spectacular way and now he’s in very bad shape. I really am a mess. I need this little dog and he needs me. All this chaos!

But I glanced at my magnet laden refrigerator this morning and found a Nietzsche quote I love:

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

I think Berry’s name is now going to be short for Baryshnikov. I promised him I would be back for him. My little Mishka!