Entries in Paradise was here (16)
my left foot hurts.
It's been hurting on and off(mostly off but primarily when on it) for two years.
In black and white and online that looks bad.
I suppose it is bad, this bloke-like aversion to getting ailing parts seen to. It's nearing its second anniversary now, this pain. When it first found me I had the excuse of being in Cambodia- no need to bother finding a good doctor, sifting through reams of travel insurance paperwork(all online if I'm being honest) when wishing it away and believing that wishes(this one in particular) do come true would be sufficient. I walked on the tip of my fake Birkenstocks, stopping now and then, pretending to look at street food when the pain got too much to bear.
Soon it became difficult to hide my elephantine left foot and ungainly gait and people would gasp and ask what I'd done to it. One lady offered me something deep black and fluid in a plastic bottle and recommended I rub it in well at night before sleeping. That same night, I opened the bottle and sniffed: cough syrup. I pulled it away from myself but my suspicion was quickly chased away by desperation. The pain had a mouth now and it screamed, 'aaaaaaah' in my ear. I rubbed it in and lay on the mattress, feet up on the wall, reading and waiting for the swelling to reduce before I could sleep. It is a wonder that I slept- eventually. My mind couldn't get past deep vein thrombosis, it pulsated in my head- DVT, DVT, DVT...
Days later, sufficiently worried(for me) I dug out my travel insurance papers(paper really, the full details were in a pdf in my web mail account) and searched frantically for the end date. It serves me right I thought pouting, that it ended a mere two days earlier. Serves me right.
I Googled DVT, foot pain, blod clots and all m anner of cheery medical terminology. I read myself into near hysteria. I must be one of the lucky ones, I should be dead, dead.... Finally I decided to leave the Internet cafe before I died not of something frightening-sounding(DVT, DVT...shut it!) but common yellow-tinged fear.
So I bought aspirin. To thin the blood and all that. And hoped that it was real aspirin and not something else. By day I popped and hopped and dragged the heel of my Birkenstock, by night I popped and propped my feet up on a pillow and prayed I would live to limp again.
It has never been as bad again though it does swell up now and then. Within a month of the pain first appearing, the foot was almost back to normal so much so that when overcome with some mysterious illness(another one) that introduced me to delicious delirium and longings of bright white lights, my Cambodian friends, bless them, massaged my feet(their recommendation whatever the illness, and why not) and remarked that I had beautiful feet. Taken aback by this new news(I have thing about feet- an 'eew' thing), I raised my head from its soaking pillow, peered at my held feet through feverish lashes and saw for the first time that they were similar to my fathers. My head dropped back with a thud and in the moment before fever pulled me back into her dominion, a single thought took hold: I must tell father he has lovely feet.
Before I die of illness-unknown.