My feet always burn. The last 48 hours I’ve had more difficult moments with them. This isn’t new, to have moments not so bad and then some moments quite bad. I’ve at least come to know that when I’m in the midst of a “quite bad” moment, that the “not so bad” moment is around the corner. At least that’s how it’s been so far.
I made it to PT today by myself, nobody driving Miss Daisy (me). I was walking more stiffly and unbalanced. Woody noticed. I asked him about my feet. I’ve realized that not only do my ankles swell, but my feet swell and my calves are a bit puffy. It seems the lower it gets, the more the puffiness. But, my toes don’t seem to be puffy, else I imagine they’d look like little piglets.
So I asked Woody, my physical therapist, what the swelling consists of and where is it pooling exactly. His answer made sense, but I know I can’t relay it clearly or totally accurately. I’m going to make an attempt, however.
And let me clear something else up before I attempt to repeat what Woody said. I always describe my toes and feet as numb. It is confusing though, because I FEEL everything. As a matter of fact they are very sensitive. If I step on one tiny granule of kitty litter, it hurts very much. Before whatever is going on with my feet occurred, I’d probably barely have felt a granule…NOW it is quite uncomfortable. So, I’ve realized my feet aren’t so much numb as they are maybe having different sensations. I’ve realized that I’m retaining FLUID in my skin or something, and this fluid is irritating my nerves or nerve endings…and THAT is the pain and funky feeling I’m experiencing. I describe it as feeling like my feet are immersed in dry ice.
Woody explained that our bodies have two kinds of *I don’t recall what word he used, but maybe* “muscles” or “controls.” One is voluntary and one is autonic (?). I’m not sure of the word for the involuntary one, I just know it starts with “auto” and ends with “ic”. [I’m going to have to have this explained again.] Anyway, voluntary functions would be like lifting your arm, spitting, things you have CONTROL over. Then the other one, I’ll just call it “autonic” for now, but that is NOT the term, it would be your heart beating, food going through your digestive system, blood pumping throughout your body, and so on: you don’t control it, your body just does it automatically. That is, if everything is functioning normally.
My spinal cord damage, where it’s atrophying from the T8 down is causing some of my autonic functions to not worky properly. That’s probably why I have difficulty having bowel movements. Same with why I have to self-catheter.
I was wondering why I have this fluid and where was it coming from. Woody explained that our blood is pumped, via pressure, from our heart, it goes through capilaries which expell nutrients to our body cells, then it moves on through our veins and back to the heart – just to start all over again. I think I have that in concept correctly. Perhaps MINE, when the blood comes after the capilaries, doesn’t have enough pressure and does not function properly, so there’s pooling of fluid. This is where I’m a little foggy; I don’t know where or what the fluid is exactly. I just understood it to be that the return trip perhaps is where the dilemma is. This pooling of fluid, therefore, is causing swelling and irritating my nerves.
I know I’m not understanding it completely; I’m not using the correct terminology. But I think I have the concept down at least a little bit.
Woody suggested I try to elevate my legs at least a couple of times a day to help relieve the pressure from the swelling. I usually am sitting down, so my legs and feet are lowered and they swell. They’re betting in the morning, but there’s still a little swelling evident. I’ve even put pillows under my feet and a little swelling still remains.
The only time I saw the swelling leave nearly completely was when I was sick with a migraine in bed for nearly 3 days straight. The laying in bed helped but what really helped is that I was not drinking any liquids. I sipped on 12 ounces of 7-up over 2-1/2 days. So I was dehydrated and the swelling went down. I guess I can’t go that far to relieve the swelling!
Anyway, it makes more sense to me now, but it doesn’t help relieve the pain or the swelling. Woody gave me some spare TED socks. He said they may put enough pressure on my ankles and legs to move the fluid on through my system. I washed them and they’re hang drying. I’ll give them a try as soon as I can. They’re long socks, hose like really. They’ve got elastic on the end. They look like they should come way up my thighs. They’re white and ugly, but no one will see them. We’ll see. It may be an adventure. You can be sure I will blog about it! I tell everything! 😉
All-in-all, I did pretty well at PT today, considering I was unbalanced and stiff. Once I get my Pump refilled, I’ll have the doseage increased.
Before I close, I must comment off-topic somewhat. As I’m typing I have the Olympics on TV. They’re featuring this female US skier. Earlier I watched the lugers, which I don’t understand. These sports are so dangerous. With my spinal cord damage, I’m very alert and sensitive to anything that could cause paralysis or damage such as I have. Oh my, for me, it just would not be worth the risk to do such extreme sports. I know you can’t live in a bubble, but I don’t know about this extreme stuff. Still, it’s fun to watch others do it, especially when they are successful!!