09 June 2011

What happens when you don't see a doctor

So apparently (per 500 Days of Summer, one of the greatest movies ever made) Henry Miller once said that the best way to get over a woman is to turn her into literature. I am not trying to get over a woman (cue sigh of relief there), but I am particularly irritated with some of my limbs today. Perhaps the suggestion applies to difficulties other than unrequited love.

This is a story of acute physical pain. Now, I haven’t broken a femur or been in labor, but apparently my experience was pretty close.

Four and a half years ago as a dorm-living freshman at BYU, I ran down my dorm stairs to go to watch the Tuesday devotional with Kait, and I tripped. Luckily, it was the lower end of the stairs and not the upper end, but I still fell and subsequently rolled my ankle and broke the fourth metatarsal in my right foot. (That’s right, I know anatomy terms.) Although it hurt, I was not aware that it was broken, and because of this (and my previous negative experiences with doctors) I did not get it checked for six months. And then not again for another six.

A year after the initial break I began seeing a podiatrist in Provo who tried a variety of methods to fix said broken bone: A brace, medication, three weeks in a boot (in Provo in February). After none of that worked, he suggested giving me a shot of celestone, a steroid that would help soothe the inflammation around the joint that was broken so it could heal itself properly. So, on the allotted day my dear roommate Jamie walked with me to the podiatrist’s office to get this shot.

Jamie (on left) at her bridal shower, a month after her heroic accompaniment.

Going to the office I think Jamie was more worried than I was. She stayed in the waiting room while I went back with the doctor, but by the time I was in the chair and he was preparing the celestone, I was nervous. I asked him how much it would hurt.

“Well, more than a normal shot, but less than childbirth.”


Could you possibly have given me a wider range of pain? (NO.)

As I mentioned before, I’ve never been in labor, but I am absolutely certain that this injection was much closer to childbirth than a normal shot. Apparently Jamie heard me whimpering from the waiting room (the walls are pretty thin there, don't think I was being really loud) and panicked. It definitely hurt worse than the broken bone, and I stayed off my foot (and on my couch) for two days.

This is what I looked like while in the boot. Actually, this is what I looked like most of the year regardless of the broken foot. That was my couch, and so help me, if I was home no one else could sit on it.

Two years later the same podiatrist gave me the same injection for a last-ditch attempt to solve this problem. I reminded the doctor of his description two years prior, and he said, "Oh. Well, we'll talk you through it." He then tried to carry on conversation as he was inflicting my foot with fiery pain: How's the summer? When do you move to Boston? Are you excited about Emerson? But I really only remember managing this response: "It's really hard for me to form coherent sentences right now."

This time it was my lovely roommate Kim who took me to the doctor, and knowing how badly it hurt the first time, I had her drive me straight home rather than going back to work. 

Me and Kim (and Melis) the day after, at Annie's wedding.

We were on our feet the next day for Annie’s wedding. Holy goodness, did that hurt. But these guys took care of me, and didn't even complain (much) when I asked them to get things for me so I wouldn't have to walk. Thanks, dears.

Dunkball in tuxes. Heck yes we did. (Photos stolen from Melis.)


  1. "More than a normal shot but less than childbirth"??? What the what?? That's probably one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

    This reminds me of the time when I went to the doctor for excruciating abdominal pain and he told me to come back if it happens again. Awesome.

  2. That is the craziest range I have ever heard. A normal shot is something you forget about 10 seconds later...and childbirth is definitely not.

  3. Um, childbirth is a killer, so I'm really sorry you are in so much pain. Are you doing anything in Boston for it? Yes, that was your stinkin' couch. You fit it perfectly. You always sat like that.