Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Life As a Dinosaur: The Awakening

On May 29, 2008 the alarm clock went off as usual and I started to get out of bed. When I put my put feet on the floor I thought "hmm, that's funny, my foot really hurts". Then I took a step and the pain that shot up my leg made me gasp.

"What the heck? How could I break my toe in my sleep?" were the thoughts running through my mind. I vaguely remembered waking a couple of times through the night and feeling mild pain in my foot, but I had brushed it off as a flair up of the plantar fasciitis I had been dealing with and it was nothing like the pain I was feeling at that moment. I hobbled to the bathroom and looked down at my foot. The fourth toe on my right foot was nearly double in size!   I had no idea what was going on, but the toe wasn't red or warm to the touch so I wasn't too worried. Besides, it was a big day at work, the biggest catering event of the year, and the only reason for missing it would be if I called in dead.

I took some aleve to help with the pain, finished getting ready for work, and was on my way. Pressing the gas pedal was extremely painful so I figured out how to position my foot so I was basically only using the inside half of the foot for accelerating and breaking. Not the smartest or safest thing to do, but I'm stubborn and it was 6:30 in the morning.

When I got to work, I parked as close as I could to the front door instead of as far away, as was my usual practice. When I was at my desk I would slip my shoe off for some relief, and when I needed to talk to someone else I would call their desk instead of just walking over to see them. If I couldn't avoid walking (making trips to the copy machine, going to the restroom, delivering reports, etc), I would save up as many of those tasks as I could and do them all at once.

By 9:00 AM I was hobbling even worse. The aleve was only helping a little and I was noticing that I wasn't able to grip things with my right hand the same as the day before. I spoke with the HR director (mainly because she stopped me to ask why I was limping) and then called my doctor to see if I could get in to see her. Surprisingly, I could.

After examining me, she decided that something more serious (but not TOO serious) than additional plantar fasciitis issues were going on.  She ordered a bunch of blood tests and told me I could go back to work and take some extra aleve, but to stay off my foot as much as possible. I also had to avoid lifting heavy objects or attempting to grip things too tightly.

SCORE! Since my usual assignment for the big catering event was working one of the beverage tables this meant I would either have to not work the event or get a different assignment. Needless to say, I got a different assignment but sitting at a table checking in the other workers was a heck of a lot better than refilling pitchers of coffee, ice water, and lemonade. Not to mention not having to run around to get the station set up in the first place. Maybe this swollen toe thing wasn't going to be so bad after all.

Author's note: This is the first post in a series of posts regarding my experience(s) with an autoimmune disease. My experience is unique to me and does not speak for all patients with autoimmune diseases. 

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