Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Maintaining the physical me

Yesterday was Kadi's day at the doctor; today was mine. It was time to get a checkup so I could get my regular "old person" prescriptions renewed. I know I could probably eliminate a couple of meds if I'd make up my mind to eat only from the foods-that-taste-like-cardboard group (that gives a whole new meaning to the term "box lunch," doesn't it?), but I'll just take the pills for now. I'll live and die as a flavor junkie.

In addition to the routine stuff at the doctor's office, I mentioned to her that I'm having trouble with my feet and lower legs again. That was a major complaint about five years ago on my first visit to this doctor. At that time, and again today, the discussion went something like this:

Dr.: Do your heels hurt?

Me: Ohhhh, yes.

Dr.: And when you first get out of bed, do you kind of hobble around, but then it gets better after you've been up for a while?

Me: That's it exactly.

Dr.: You have tendonitis.

So, I'll be going back to doing exactly what she told me to do five years ago -- the thing that helped me feel so much better that I eventually defied logic and stopped doing it. Once again, I will be wearing sturdy, ugly athletic shoes, the expensive kind with really good arch supports, all the time that my feet are on the floor. No more little slip-on shoes or going barefoot around the house. And the kicker? This time, the doctor suggested that I consider wearing support stockings.

Sob. In case there might be one person out there who doesn't recognize me immediately as an old person, my clodhopper-supported feet will out me in a flash. I guess it's just wishful thinking that someone might think I'm wearing these shoes so I can go for a run.

I also mentioned to the doctor that by the end of each day my legs seem to have rolled themselves down to my ankles. She explained about valves vs. arteries and said that women's veins are normally weaker than men's (that's "veins" -- not "brains" -- just clarifying for my male readers). The weaker veins, along with age and gravity, she said, are responsible for most older women having some problems with swelling ankles. In the absence of other medical conditions, i.e. diabetes, congestive heart failure, etc., the swelling itself is apparently not a big deal.

The serious ankle-swelling ailments the doctor named are the very same ones I'd found on Google (search criteria: feet + ankles + "swelling like hell"). I'm glad she ruled them out.

From now on I'll try to keep my feet propped up for part of each day to better distribute the fluid that's moseying from one end of me to the other. I'm thinking I'd better be careful not to go too far with that. The people who already like me probably won't change their minds just because my feet are swollen, but I doubt they'd be so tolerant of a swelled head.


  1. So glad you and Kadi are both in the pink! Or pretty darn close. I can SO relate to not doing what's good for us. Have to give myself a weekly shot for the RA. Keep putting it off, a day here, a day there, even though the alternative is pain. How stupid is that??? Wear the shoes and I'll do the shot. Deal?

  2. That ruins any image I had of you wearing mules with kitten heels. I sometimes have problems with plantar fasciitis (sounds like a tropical Fascist, doesn't it?) where my heel hurts like hell and I nearly fall flat on my face when I get out of bed in the morning.

    Hope you find a way to redistribute the fluids to find a happy medium!

  3. ever since i turned 31, i get this pain in my toe as soon as i get outta bed. its just one toe, but it seems every bit of pressure i put on my feet somehow goes right through that toe. strange.

  4. Look into Crocs. Go to their site. They have some support shoes that are pretty cool looking. And you can boldly go about your day in colors. Or maybe go about your day boldly in colors. Bold colors? You get the idea.

    Oh - I'm glad Ghost has found you. He's one of my friends in this world wide internet.

  5. You send me a link to the kind of shoes you have to wear and we'll find you some cute ones. I'm not going to stand for you going around looking like you're ready for the senior citizen discount! You're too dang cool for that!

  6. Sunflower, that sounds like a fair deal to me, but I must confess I could only tolerate the big clunky shoes for half a day today. I was about to suggest that you give yourself just half a shot, so we could call it square, but I guess that wouldn't work, would it?

    Janet, sorry to shatter your image, but my mules ran down the road without me a few years back. BTW, I just Googled "plantar fasciitis." Sounds like your feet should hurt as much as mine do; congratulations on not being as much of a sissy as I am.

    Ghost, you're in luck. If we ever start a Troublesome Tootsies Club, that one painful toe would qualify you for membership. After all, it only takes one aching tooth to make a whole mouth feel terrible.
    Thanks for stopping by; I hope you'll come again.

    Alison, I'll check out the Crocs to see if they offer enough support. My granddaughter learned to love hers during her stint as a bartender and recommended them to me. I really like shoes that I can slip in and out of easily. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Rebekah, the doctor didn't recommend any particular brand of shoe, just "thick-soled athletic shoes with good arch supports and not too much flexibility in the heel area." I'd be grateful for your help in the cute and cool department.

  7. Glad to hear you got through your MOT
    Velvet, solid shoes aren't too bad after a while and I'm sure your image will be of a healthy 'walker' :p Maybe I see solid shoes a little different as I wear good walking shoes most days and anyone who says its coz I'm old!!! Might just get stomped on! hahaha So wear the shoes, do your exercises, ease the pain. :-)

  8. Ok, I've sat out every topic up to now, but now you're talking feet problems, so I have to get in here. I describe myself as having a Phoot Paraphernalia Phetish. If Dr. Scholl's makes it, I've bought it. But my best tip is one I got from my daughter: Dansko shoes. Yes, they're expensive, but she says you can sometimes buy them used on e-Bay, and she recently led me to some new ones at 40% off. I've worn the same pair everyday for two and one-half summers, and they are my life-savers. (I do have prescription orthotics in them.)My particular problems are flat feet (since you and I, Velvet, were WW11 babies) and Grandma's bunions (not the Grandma we have in common).

    And my husband's plantar fasciitis was cured after 6 months of pain by doing calf stretches several times a day. (Upper body and lower front leg perpendicular to the floor.)

    Dansko's don't have what I call an athletic sole, but maybe your doctor would approve.

  9. Well, Velvet, since my shot got shot a day late, and you wore clunkies half a day, I'd say we're even-steven for the week. Thanks to your blog, will have to look up those Crocs and Danskos. My poor feet run from tender to swollen, depending on how the RA is treating me (and that's about all they run!)

  10. sorry your ankles are swollen. the dogs photos are great. the feather just left me wondering. i thought i was going to see a peacock feather.

  11. Sandy, can you share what kind of walking shoes you like? I'm in the information-gathering stage of shopping right now.

    Karen, I'm SO EXCITED to see you here! You finally took the plunge into blogdom. Who knew you would finally be propelled through this door on sore feet? Welcome, and thanks for the info.

    Sunflower, LOL, even-steven it is.

    Thanks, Patsy. A peacock feather would certainly have been nicer than the simple one I posted, but all the peacock feathers I've photographed were still attached to the bird.

  12. Well Velvet, if it makes you feel better I'm only 35 and I have to wear a back brace, wrist braces and leg braces while I sleep. I have yet to get into the support thingies but I'm sure by 36 they'll be added to my collection of wraps. I'm one of those people that moans before they get in bed. I'm all oooohhhh just as I lay my tired broken body down. Even being a big-boned (lol) girl I do not have high blood pressure and my cholesterol is good but the rest of me is just kind of going back and forth between "yeah I can do this" and "shoot me now." Today I'm on "yeah, I can do this."

    I have to throw in a mental health twist to this because I want non-mental health patients to understand our world. You stopped doing this thing your doc wanted you to do that would clearly be helpful in your quality of life right? This is also what psych patients do when they start to feel better. They stop taking the medication because they feel better then when they try to think clearly (or walk without pain) they stumble. They have the same conversation w/ their doctor and then go right back to the docs advice until they feel better again. Physical and mental pain are held by humans and humans are easily fooled by a moment of comfort.

    until again

  13. Austin, you made an excellent point. I never would have thought of relating my wearing the wrong shoes (against the doctor's advice) to psych patients going off their meds because they feel better. You're absolutely right and I appreciate your pointing it out. You've given me a new perspective on that subject.


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