Friday, February 14, 2020

foot pain: the update

So I limped over to the doc today. This was also supposed to be my regular checkup day, but I told the doc my blood pressure would be up because I was in pain. The doc nodded and took that into consideration. BP was definitely high, but not high enough for the doc to think I needed to change my meds. As for my foot... I'm not sure the doc was paying attention to my explanation: he first asked me about my knee pain after I had clearly said the Korean word for "foot." He then asked me about ankle pain, and I finally held up my foot and patted the areas that were hurting (mostly the front half of the right foot). Now on track and paying attention, the doc asked about swelling, doing everything he could to avoid asking me to strip off my shoe and sock so he could palpate my foot.

This guy is very much an armchair physician; the only touchy-feely thing he ever does is take my blood pressure. Anything else, like getting blood samples or receiving injections, is taken care of by the in-house nurses. See why I'm not all that impressed by Korean health care? There was no suggestion to get X-rayed at the local hospital (actually, the clinic I was at today has its own X-ray machine, but I don't know whether it can be reconfigured to take images of one's feet). The doc's advice was simply to rest and to stay off my feet for a while. I guess there wasn't enough swelling to justify exploring the issue any more deeply.

Despite my resentment about the doc's lack of curiosity (lack of curiosity is something of a cultural trait here: Koreans, being an impatient lot, quickly arrive at answers that satisfy their internal questions, and they stop searching for further enlightenment at that point), I think he may be right. I'm still able to limp from here to there, so I'm convinced nothing is broken or torn. This may simply be a case of turning 50, having all my warranties expire, and suddenly becoming fragile now that I've outlasted my warranties. Aging is often a matter of dealing with an increasing number of physical problems as the body, which is basically a machine, starts to wear down and fall apart. I know that sounds maudlin and morbid, and in reality, my foot will probably be back in action after a week or so of rest, but the body is a machine. Mine is probably telling me that it wants to rest; I've been doing long walks almost daily for the past month-and-a-half. In fact, I'm walking at about 0.92 McCrareys these days:

Yes, I've made up my own unit for measuring daily distance-walk averages: the McCrarey. A single McCrarey—which is obviously based on friend John McCrarey's daily step average—is 23,000 steps since this is the figure John quoted in a blog post from a while back. As you see, my personal step and walk-duration averages are four times that of the "average" male user of the Samsung Health app. It's amazing to realize how little most people move around during the day. 5,000 steps is barely 50 minutes to an hour of walking, depending on one's speed. So... what do such people do for the rest of the day? Maybe sit in the office, sit at home playing video games, or whack off in bed, I guess. At the same time, it's discouraging to know that I'm not up to even a single McCrarey yet.

So that's the news for now. My boss thinks I ought to visit an orthopedic clinic and get a real X-ray. My intuition tells me that this problem will go away with rest, but if the pain is still at this current level after a week, I'll see the orthopede. If my foot suddenly breaks in half and looks as if it's acquired a hinge, I'll be sure to document the event with photos. Otherwise, I'll be spending the coming week off my feet as much as possible, but the moment things are starting to feel more or less normal, I'll be back to distance walking again.


John Mac said...

Okay, now THAT cracked me up! Let's hope I can maintain a McCrarey pace as well. Fitbit provides a weekly summary, sometimes I'm over 23,000 and others under. My actual goal is 20,000 daily steps, basically 3 hours of walking over the course of a day (30 minutes with the dogs, an hour after breakfast, an hour following my afternoon nap, and 30 minutes of residual steps walking to and from the bars at night). Easy peasy!

I'm sure you'll consider a second opinion if the foot isn't better after a couple days resting. Yeah, the body is a machine and machines break down. But you also can repair a machine provided you have the right mechanic. I'm always inspired when I see a pristine automobile from the 1950s. There is hope for us oldsters. Although 50 really ain't old.

Hope you regain your McCrarey status soon!

Charles said...

But this is something that has happened before, right? The popping followed by the pain, I mean. It would be nice to know what is going on with that.