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….


  1. Ember says:

    How very interesting! May the Lord God watch over your surgery so that is successful, not too painful for you, and healed in time for your trip.
    On the day of the surgery, maybe you could tank up with regular painkillers as an extra? Paracetamol (for goodness sake don’t take too many!) has the added bonus of being calming.
    Wait – one week today – isn’t that – or is it the day after?

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Ember. I was actually thinking I might take something a little stronger than Tylenol (I think that’s what your Paracetamol is?). 🙂 A bolus dose. And one week from today is the day after my birthday, if that’s what you meant? 😉

  3. Helen in Switzerland says:

    Oh no…..but you’re right to have the surgery….I had a wart cut out years ago because it was causing me a lot of pain and hey presto it was gone, healed up a treat and no more problems. I don’t remember even really feeling the injections and certainly didn’t have pain! Of course the other thing you could do is work on strengthening the immune system and then your body will deal with that pesky wart all on its own!

  4. Just Julie says:

    That is very encouraging Helen – thank you for telling me about your experience. Yes, building up the immune system. Do you think if I started today my wart will be gone by winter? xxoo

  5. Patty says:

    I totally agree with something prior to the procedure to help you just zone out and nap through the whole thing!

  6. Just Julie says:

    Napping during the procedure would be wonderful Patty. How I wish….

  7. Roberta says:

    Hi Julie,
    Both of my legs and feet have been given and taken several opportunities to take sabbaticals from activity, over the years. Thanks to heredity, I too have watched them, both, develop bunions. Although my right leg took the initiative, when I was nine years old, with a tibia fracture (ice skating), my left foot waited patiently for me to attempt to walk down my front steps, turning backwards while walking forwards, to achieve a torn ligament. A high-flying fall on a raised portion of NY sidewalk provided a hair-line fracture to my sacrum and the fracture of my right ramus pubic bone. And, I, too, am convinced my subsequent left knee meniscus tear was the result of that fall.
    This is all in the service to let you know that yours was not an old lady post. It was merely a catalog of how some of us seem to be gifted with legs and feet whose demands for attention know no bounds! It couldn’t have anything to do with us or how we take care of ourselves!
    Seriously though, I will indeed be praying that your surgery goes smoothly and much less painfully than you imagine.
    And, I do believe we have to strengthen our immune systems, i.e., try to reduce the stress that we allow to drain us!

  8. Just Julie says:

    Oh Roberta, you’ve had your share too. A sacral fracture – that sounds so painful. When you wrote “some of us seem to be gifted with legs and feet whose demands for attention know no bounds!” I laughed out loud. I LOVE that. That’s exactly what I’m going to say from now on. I’m not an oldish woman listing her issues, I just have legs and feet whose demands for attention know no bounds. 😀

    Do you think strengthening my immune system means I have to eat right and exercise? 🙁



  9. Christy says:

    Dearest Julie,
    Instead of being moved with compassion and falling on my knees to pray for you……I am rolling on the floor laughing because you are absolutely the best storyteller (author) I have ever read. There are good nurses and bad nurses and unfortunataly I am a bad one….my daughter will attest to this so don’t interpret my laughing as personally not caring about you. The minute I started reading about a wart, I was transported back to my senior year of high school and the memory of wearing a hollowed out aspirin under a bandaid on my left pointer finger every single day of that school year. I had an ugly cauliflower type wart that would catch on my blanket at night and I knew that everyone in my school was talking about my disgusting wart. So I know for a fact that salicylic acid does not get rid of every wart and have not personally heard a success story yet. I know that plantar warts are nothing to laugh at and I am hoping your procedure goes quickly and painlessly and that you will give us a good report. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure Savannah received the Sooter trait of foot and leg problems…..I have never seen a person her age (that is not an athelete) with more toe, foot, ankle, and knee problems. But I’ll let her tell you about that.

  10. Just Julie says:

    I’m so glad you found this post funny Christy — here I was thinking I’d be putting people to sleep. I think you need to move to Minnesota so I can have someone to talk to. 🙂 xxoo

  11. Ember says:

    Yep – that’s what I meant x

  12. Just Julie says:


  13. Kay says:

    Alan and I will be praying every day from now on for you.
    We will pray for God’s peace to enter into your very soul and that the procedure will be pain-free and complete and quick to heal.
    We will pray for God’s blessing to rest on you.

  14. Just Julie says:

    Thank you so much Kay and Alan. It’s very comforting to know friends will be praying. xxoo

  15. Pat says:

    I, too, laughed when reading this post (I certainly didn’t find it boring). I agree 100% with Christy about your writing. But I sure don’t think it’s funny that you are in pain over your wart. I HATE going to the doctor for anything, so I certainly understand your not looking forward to the wart surgery. I will pray that you will feel little pain and that it will be very effective! You definitely want to be able to enjoy that Disney vacation!

  16. Just Julie says:

    Hi Pat! At least I got all the weird stuff out so I don’t have to bore everyone at SAGs. “What did you and the SAGs talk about last night?” “Julie’s wart. Julie’s knee. Julie’s poor vision.” Yawn…. 🙂 Thank you for your prayers and I’ll see you soon friend….

  17. Tauni says:

    Ok, so I really can speak on this subject. I had a plantar wart in HS when I was a junior and had to have it removed twice, only because the first time did not work. The first one was treated by freezing it. It grew back within a couple of weeks and because I had scar tissue where the original one was the next one popped up right next to the scar tissue. The second time my doctor burned it off and it was so deep that it actually burned part of my bone ~ eeeewwwww. All this just prior to our National City Maytime Band Review. Remember those? Well it was a good thing I was a good band student and marcher because Mr. Green actually let me off of marching practice (unheard of) for four weeks up until the final week before the competition. My doctor was very strict about me not walking on it. The second treatment was worse because it actually left a hole in my heal (left foot). I am proud to say, I survived it all and still have a scar that reminds me of my plantar wart days! And further ~ I have had major bone reconstruction done on both my feet, and a break in my right one right next to the reconstruction (less than a year later) thanks to a drunk driver bashing into me while driving home one evening ~ so I can tell you what feet pain is all about!!! Be brave my friend & I will pray for God’s healing hand, peace and a speedy recovery!! XXOO

  18. Just Julie says:

    Tauni, I have a vague memory of this now that you’re reminding me of the details! Wow – you know what foot pain is all about too. I am grateful for your prayers and will keep you posted….LY. xxoo

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