What’s wrong with my right?
August 29, 2012 | My Jottings
You know how no one likes to listen to an old woman recite her long list of maladies? Well, now would be your opportunity to click over to the next blog you plan to visit today, because this is going to be one of those posts.
It just hit me the other day that there is something wrong with the right side of my body. The first inkling was when I was born, and it took a day or two for doctors to reassure my mother that the eighteen red and multi-shaped spots on my right hand and arm were just birthmarks, and nothing life-threatening. Even today I get asked if there are burns on my right arm.
Then when I was seven years old it was discovered that I had very poor vision in my right eye. Adorable glasses with those delightful glittery cat-eye frames were prescribed, and my parents never had a whit of trouble getting me to wear them because I thought they were so pretty and made me look just great. Ha. My vision has deteriorated over the years and I’m now considered legally blind in my right eye.
The next occurrence of something amiss on the right side of my body was when I was in my late forties, when I stepped normally down a couple of steps from the garage into the back yard, heard and felt a lightning-fast zink in my right knee, and then had to crawl into the back door of the house because my knee would not tolerate more than eleven ounces of weight-bearing pressure on it.
It turns out my meniscus was impinged and torn, and we had to wait to see if it would heal. Sometimes there’s enough blood supply in the cushiony meniscus and sometimes there isn’t. If not, apparently it doesn’t matter how long you wait for healing. Of course my blood supply was lacking, so surgery was scheduled, to trim that little bit of impinged meniscus, so I could walk. It was that bad. The orthopedic surgeon showed me the tear in the CT scan results and said, “I’ll trim as little as possible, but this of course predisposes you to early arthritis in your right knee.” I wasn’t happy about this news, but my choices were: 1) impinged, torn meniscus, no walking; and 2) surgery to trim meniscus and have knee pain in the future. What would you have chosen? I chose the surgery because I like to be able to walk. After the surgery that horrible pain was gone and I was so relieved. Recovery time was only a few days.
A couple of years later, I was coming down the stairs and missed a step. In 24 years at that house, I had never done that. As I fell headlong the rest of the way down, I landed with my left foot bent under me, and I howled from the pain. I was certain my ankle was broken because the pain was a 17 on a scale of 0-10, and in less than three minutes the swelling on the outside of my ankle and foot was the size of half a grapefruit. Off to the Emergency Room we went, with me wondering how I was going to tend to all my duties with a cast on my foot. Well, my ankle was not broken, but my foot was. It was called a Jones Fracture, which is ortho-speak for a break in the fifth metatarsal bone.
Here’s an x-ray of another person’s Jones Fracture. See the little arrow pointing at the break? My break was higher on the bone than this person’s. Thankfully I didn’t need surgery or a cast. They said if I promised to stay off my foot for four weeks I could get by with one of those spaceman boots with several inflatable portions that stabilize the foot and keep swelling down. And in order to get up to bathe and use the bathroom, I had to use crutches. At the end of four weeks I was to have another x-ray to see if the bone was knitting, because they said Jones fractures are notorious for not healing, often due to a lack of blood supply to this part of the foot. I met one woman who told me her Jones fracture took nine months to heal and I almost fell to the floor crying when she told me that.
I was a good patient and Michael was a good caregiver, and friends and family so generous with their help. My bone healed in six weeks. Even though the break was in my left foot, I think it was the right knee with the partial meniscus that helped me fall down the stairs.
Next, I have some hearing loss in my right ear. No problems with my left ear at all.
Are you still awake? Hello?
A few years ago I noticed a bunion forming in my right foot. It’s a slight bunion and doesn’t give me much discomfort, but again, this is all happening on the right side of my body. And once this bunion started to form, I began to get calluses on my right toe that I’d never had before and actually had to start seeing a podiatrist a few times a year. A podiatrist! A place where old people go. My mother went to a podiatrist to have her calluses trimmed and I used to think it was such an elderly thing to do.
Then, over the years after having one side of my meniscus trimmed, I started experiencing knee pain, just as the nice orthopedic surgeon predicted. It was minor at first, but has gradually become fairly significant knee pain and stiffness that hisses one phrase with every single step, “You have no meniscus, you have no meniscus, hahahahaha.” The knee pain I’ve had these past few months has made me actually think ahead to the possibility of having my knee replaced, and at age 54 I can hardly believe I’m typing those words. I just know that if I’m to walk for another 20 years, something is going to have to change.
When we moved into this house three months ago, I noticed something else that made me cringe. I was developing a plantar wart on the bottom of my right foot. Gah. I hate plantar warts. My daughters had them when they were little and we did things for years to get rid of them. In the end the only thing that worked was that we prayed and prayed and prayed that Jesus would heal them. Carolyn had about ten of them on the bottoms of her feet and one day we noticed they were finally all gone, thank God.
I know what the appearance of this wart means. Plantar warts are caused by a virus, and it means I was exposed to the virus (possibly years ago from my daughters who got their warts after swimming lessons), but that my immune system has let its guard down and let the virus come forth. I guess it’s no surprise that after the events of these past few years my immune system would be compromised, but I am not happy about this wart. It’s on the arch part of the sole of my right foot, near the heel, and it has grown in these three months. And. It. Hurts. With every step it hurts. I might sound like I’m a baby when it comes to pain, but I don’t think so. I gave birth to my three daughters without any analgesics at all, and have always had a fairly high pain tolerance.
I have done many things to get rid of this wart. And even though I know it’s a virus, sometimes when warts are dealt with topically they do go away — it’s like the body kicks in and helps do the job. I tried some of remedies I found online that made sense to me, like soaking my foot in apple cider vinegar and putting a vinegar-soaked cotton ball on the wart under a bandage each night before going to bed. Vinegar works wonders for many things, and if you google wart and vinegar you will see how many people had amazing results. That did nothing. I tried the duct tape method. No success. Then I did a very elderly thing. I went to the podiatrist. She suggested salicylic acid and said she thought if I was diligent it would take care of it. Well I did, and I was, and it didn’t. Twice a day for months, and I could tell the acid was doing the job, getting right down to the ugly roots of the wart, but it was so painful I couldn’t dig it out, which is what all the brave people who posted on online message boards evidently did. To gently touch it hurts. To dig it out is out of the question, at least while I’m conscious.
So now we bring in the subject of Walt Disney World, in Florida. Our Fosters have been wanting to visit Walt Disney World for years, and have been saving toward that end. Since it takes a lot of money for flights, WDW tickets, hotels and food, we were able to put the trip on the back burners of our minds because it seemed so far into the future, and other things like moving house and Michael’s health were on the front burners. Well, our two Fosters have now saved enough money for this big trip. And we had to make a decision about it recently. We couldn’t keep telling them, “Yes, someday we’ll go when we’ve all saved enough money,” because they knew that day had finally come. Michael and I decided that with his Parkinson’s as part of the picture, if we’re going to take our gals on this vacation, sooner is better than later. Undertaking such a daunting working vacation is not going to be easier next year, or the year after that. So we booked the trip. When the snow flies in northeastern Minnesota this winter, we will fly to Orlando and spend five days wandering The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and The Animal Kingdom.
I think I need to go take a nap after merely typing those words.
Needless to say our gals are so thrilled, and our dinner conversations have gone up a notch on the excitement scale. The Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest and Country Bear Jamboree are ever on their minds.
But guess what I keep thinking about? My knee. My wart. Warts and Walt don’t mix, I know that already.
So I’ve made an appointment to have foot surgery. I need to be as wartless as possible when we wing our way off to Walt’s. Unfortunately, they don’t do general anesthesia when surgically excising warts (is this called a wartectomy?). Instead they inject the anesthetic into the area around the wart, and then into the wart itself. With needles. Can any of you imagine what it might feel like to have injections on the sole of your foot, near the arch? I am trying not to worry about this. I don’t want to be a worry wart over a wart. But I need to have healed from the surgery when we go on our trip, so I can walk the several miles it takes to see each park.
One week from today I’ll be going under the knife, and I would so appreciate your prayers. I truly do ask the Lord that not only would I be able to bear the injections calmly, but that the removal of this wart would be the end of it, and that there would be no further outbreaks.
If I were into Chinese medicine I would say that something is wrong with the chi energy on the right side of my body, and that it has been this way for a long, long time. Perhaps a chi blockage of some sort.
Maybe that’s what’s wrong with my right. 🙂
Okay. I got that out of my system. I promise to try not to do any more old lady posts documenting all my maladies.
But I do need your prayers.
Thank you so much for always stopping by. I wish you a peaceful and wartless Wednesday….