21 February 2010

Ouch

I can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but I suspect I have plantar fasciitis which is pain in the bottom of the foot from the front of the heel to the arch. The causes include standing on a cement floor for extended periods of time (the floor at work is cement) and weight bearing exercise (I lift and carry up to 2000 kg a day). It can be frustrating getting an appointment to see my doctor, so I researched it online and have been treating it with Advil or Tylenol. Then I found Aleve.

Aleve is miraculous stuff. For a long time it wasn't available here in Canada for reasons which don't really make any sense to me. One guy at work was able to get a prescription for it for his shoulder and would talk about how one pill a day would get rid of all his pain. So when I saw it on the shelf at Safeway last summer I scooped it up for the plantar thing. I started taking one occasionally when the foot pain was bad, and although it took forever to take effect, it would generally last for 12 hours. After a while it would take effect faster, especially if I took one every day. Then I found out that if I stopped taking it for a day or two, it would take longer to work once I took it again, so I simply took one every morning as a preventative thing instead of taking it after the pain started.

In the back of my mind I knew I'd have to see the doctor at some point about my feet and get a prescription for special insoles or something. Well, and to get an actual diagnosis instead of a Dr Google diagnosis :) That day is rapidly approaching.

You see, I thought I'd strained my back at work last Tuesday. Owner had changed the entire schedule for the day at the last possible minute and one of the things she'd changed was adding a recipe for a crust that used cake crumbs. The cake was baked that morning to make into crumbs and I needed to grind the cake that very minute so the Prep Girls could press the dough that day. Instead of grinding only the 13 kilos of cake that I needed, I ground the whole batch of approximately 125 kilos. It's a hassle to set up the hopper to grind it so if I have to grind some I might as well do it all. In order to reach the hopper to grind it I have to stand on a milk crate. In order to get the leverage to push the door of the hopper closed and grind the cake, I put my left hand on the hopper opening and pull while pushing the door with my right hand. So when my left side hurt the next day I'd assumed that it was from grinding massive amounts of cake as fast as possible.

I think I was wrong. My side kept hurting and in fact was getting worse so that by the end of my work day on Thursday I was having trouble lifting stuff and standing straight. I (still) have Fridays off so I decided to take it easy and rest all day. Which I did. And I noticed the pain was very localized. That's when I connected the dots in my head that I hadn't noticed before. Like I was having problems standing straight and instead would curl to the left. The pain was constant and sharp regardless of what I was doing (or not doing). The very idea of a large meal made me nauseous and I found I was eating less. My poop was more greasy and more frequent (probably TMI, sorry). I couldn't lie on my left side at all without writhing in agony. I couldn't lie on my stomach or back while having my left leg extended. The pain was also under my rib cage, far up on the left and would radiate to my back. I felt a little silly not noticing this stuff before, but I can be very good at ignoring things when I want to.

Anyway, once I saw that this pain was most likely not a muscle strain I got on the Internet and started Googling away. It turns out your pancreas and spleen are tucked up in your rib cage right where I was getting all this pain. After my initial panic of OMG I must have pancreatic cancer I did a bit more digging and found that my symptoms didn't match cancer. Thank god. They did, however, match pancreatitis which is an inflammation of the pancreas. This is usually caused by gallstones (that would be miraculous for me, my gallbladder was removed in '97) and alcohol consumption (last drink I had was sips of S's beer last summer). That left the possibility of...Aleve. Yes, Aleve and some other pain medications can cause pancreatitis. And, well, that just sucks.

So now I suspect I'll have to actually go to the doctor and get checked out. Of course by the time I get there the pain will be gone as it's now intermittent. That will probably render any bloodwork useless as it'll come out normal. I could go to the emergency room, but I feel silly doing that when I'm actually starting to feel better. And in order to get an appointment with my doctor I need to start calling around 830am until I get through, then ask if the doctor can see me that day. She doesn't make appointments ahead of time unless it's an annual physical or pregnancy related. While dialing the doctor's office repeatedly is a hassle in and of itself, I'm at work at 830 am and in a location that's not conducive to repeated dialing.

So I could wait until next Friday and call but by then I'm sure I'll be feeling completely fine. I could also go to the emergency room and spend about 10 hours there while they check my blood and most likely do an ultrasound. But I figure emergency rooms are for...emergencies. This is more of an inconvenience at this point. Hey, are there Inconvenience Rooms for stuff like this? That would be cool. Or, and this just occurred to me, I could go to the Medicenter. This is a doctor's office with multiple doctors where you arrive, sign in, and wait your turn. Hm. I guess I'd better get dressed and go.

3 comments:

The Hyperlexian Aspie said...

gee, i hope it's nothing serious! hope it is just something small and that you are feeling better soon.

medicentres rock my world.

p.s. i have had plantar fascitis, and it was 'cured' by wearing shoes with a strong high arch (shoes which also hug my feet - no sliding) and doing foot exercises. i can never wear fancy or cheap shoes again, if i want to avoid a recurrence, basically.

a caution about using aleve or other NSAIDs on a daily basis - long term use of NSAIDs can cause tendons to weaken, and thereby make the condition worse over time. it is better to fix the problem instead of treating the pain when it comes to tendons.

love,
vicki

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have a work related injury (foot) and your self treatment has caused another injury (pancreatitis).

You really do need to see your family doctor because this is all WCB stuff and you want to have a single doctor following you through recovery.

And DO mention that it might be work related when you make your appointment because WCB stuff is outside of medicare. That means you will get care much faster, including seeing specialists.

Don't feel that you shouldn't use the WCB system because it's there for exactly what you are experiencing.

Love, Mom

Chantelle said...

Checking with Dr. Google can be super-scary - for some reason, the worst-case, least likely scenarios are the ones that come up most often.

I hope that the pancreatitis goes away by going off the painkillers and that any residual symptoms can be treated. I also hope that the plantar fascitis is easily treated: as Vicki suggested, good-quality shoes (or possible an orthopedic insert) might help. In the interim, a different painkiller might take care of the pain without giving you pancreatitis.

Pain is complicated.

If you did do a WSB claim, you might possibly be able to get the cost of an orthopedic insert or good shoes covered - I don't really know the rules, but that makes sense to me. If work causes the pain, then work should pay for things to take the pain away. sometimes the hassle of doing all that outweighs the benefits of doing it, of course.

I hope you're feeling better soon... please let us know how the trip to the medicenter went.

love you,
Chantelle