Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Essay on Aging

Turning 40 was great! Turning 41, even better!  I had been running all through the winter and I joined a gym in January and things were looking good!  I was running at a park near my house early in the morning (read: in the dark) and decided for many reasons that that was a bad idea.  So I moved indoors and started cross training.  I was in a lifting class and a boxing class and pretty much every class they offered at 5:30 a.m.  I was fit as a fiddle.

Then I started getting a twinge in my left arch while running.  Then heel cord tightness started and I saw the early warning signs of a case we have at work entitled "Plantar Fasciitis".  So I did what any runner would do.  I pushed through the warning signs and pain and kept on running.  But finally it was obvious that I was not going to get better unless I stopped. So I did.  But I was still hurting.  It hurt to walk now.  It hurt to stand. 

So I dug around until I found the very expensive orthotics I had custom-made for my shoes about a year ago.  I dusted them off and stuck them in my running shoes.  I started wearing tennis shoes everywhere I went.  I had a closet full of stilettos and sandals that would go unworn in the summer of 2012.  But I was making improvement.  I started wearing a foot brace to bed to keep my foot flexed and the fascia nice and stretched out during the nocturnal hours.  It keeps your foot at a 90 degree angle and is big and bulky and black and covered with velcro, but it helps.

In August I had to go to Lubbock for work.  I was moaning about my sad state of affairs when my father in law suggested I go to a shoe store in town and have them measure my feet and look at my arches.  I walked in and was immediately greeted by a guy about 35 years old.  He seemed to know a lot about his field.  I explained that I was interested in seeing if there was anything they could do for me in the way of inserts and that I had some already but wanted a second opinion.  When I took off my running shoes and removed the inserts he let out a low whistle.  It was a whistle of admiration. Not for my finely pedicured toes.  Not for my soft callous free feet.  There was a sharp intake of breath before he said in a low voice, "ma'am, those are the finest orthopedic inserts money can buy.  You could not do any better than those fine specimens."

So since I could not run anymore I decided to compensate in other areas (read: overcompensate).  I began to lift more and increase my push up sets.  And strangely I started to feel a pain in my right forearm near the elbow.  But I pushed through it.  And through it.  And through it.  I continued to work with the mouse and keyboard at work, even though it hurt.  Until one day the pain was obviously bad enough that I should actually see a doctor.

I went to see an orthopedic surgeon about 2 weeks ago.  I explained what was going on with my arm and he diagnosed me with lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow.  I told him that I was also having issues with my foot.  I asked him if the problems with my Achilles tendon and my tendon in my arm and my fascia in my foot were all related to some systemic problem.  He said yes.  "A-G-E"

He actually spelled it, too.  He spelled the word age, followed by a chuckle.  I had never had a doctor spell in my presence.  I vowed to tell my medical students to please, please, please not spell words for their patients...EVER.  E-V-E-R.

Anyway, I left with a prescription for physical therapy and sexy new wrist brace that is big and bulky and black and covered with velcro.  Today I went to PT and met with my therapist.  He was nice enough and seemed empathetic.  His orders are going to be tough to follow.  Start using my left hand for daily living.  Mousing, computing, typing, opening doors, eating, brushing teeth, pouring milk, lifting a glass...all with my non-dominant hand.  That is a tall order.

He also cut off a piece of foam tubing and instructed me to carry it with me and put it on anything that is going to require a small grip.  He wants me to put this red foam tube on my fork, spoon, pen, toothbrush...everything with a small diameter.  He actually modeled how he wants me to hold a fork which looked like a toddler feeding herself for the first time.  And he wants me to use my non-dominant hand for this, because my right hand is in a wrist splint and should not be able to grip anything anyway.

Add to all this that I am an insomniac and you will see how I came to be sitting in the kitchen at midnight typing this blog post in my ankle brace and wrist brace eating with my "big girl" fork hunched over the computer with red sauce up to my right ear because I am trying to feed myself left handed.  And Mike walks in...

Cue LMFAO's song "I'm sexy and I know it"...


  1. i am sorry to hear that...please take care yourself!

  2. Hahaha!! I just love you and miss you! AND...if the plantar fasciitis is still bothering you, I have a suggestion. I have had it off and on for as long as I can remember, but it hit REALLY hard right before my first 3 Day walk. Dr. Tim Cole, my chiropractor, performed Active Release Therapy on my feet and HEALED it. It was amazing. I have had little or no problems since. I highly recommend giving it a shot! Love you friend!

  3. I will try it! and I miss you too!