My Fascist Foot
On St Georges day me and some friends went to a Ceilidh in an Irish Club. The music was supplied by the excellent Cutback Ceilidh Band. We all had an excellent time and I danced with great energy and enthusiasm. Next morning I woke up to find my left heel was hurting. Never mind I thought, it will soon go away.
Weeks later I was still suffering from a very sore heel, and just to add to my joy, the arthritis in my right big toe started up again. During some of the trip to Liverpool I was hobbling painfully as we worked through locks. I'm used to running about, bowhauling butties and generally putting in a lot of effort as we work a flight of locks, but instead I had to try to minimise the amount of walking that I did.
I rarely visit a doctor. I generally find that, however carefully I describe my symptoms, they just don't seem to get it. My resistance was eventually broken down by the fact that I was beginning to feel disabled by this ailment, and was beginning to doubt that there would be an end to it.
I had to wait nearly a week for an appointment. The receptionist explained that if I rang back the following day I could have a 48 hour appointment, but I knew that I would forget. The doctor that I eventually saw was a pleasant young woman in Muslim dress. She looked at my foot and pressed it until she found the sore spot. She offered me painkillers. I explained that I could cope with the pain, but I really needed to know what was wrong with it. I really don't like to take drugs unless I really have to. She said that painkillers would take down the inflammation, but offered no diagnosis. I mentioned that I took glucosamine with chondroitin to control the arthritis in the other foot. Who has prescribed these things she demanded. I explained that they were available in health food shops. She didn't seem happy about this, but said that it may be gout.
I had considered the possibility of gout, but thought it unlikely as I hardly drink and eat little red meat. However, I agreed to a test for gout, and the doctor seemed happy. I left with a prescription for painkillers, that I had no intention of collecting.
The tests showed that I do not have gout, but the pain did not go away and I was no further forward. Luckily my wonderful partner, Emuna, is very good at researching things online. She found some information on a condition called Plantar Fasciitis which exacly matched the symptoms that I was experiencing. It was all to do with a tendon in the bottom of your foot getting overstretched. There was some useful information on how you could manage the condition without recourse to the products of multinational drug companies. I have been following the online advice and it seems to be slowly getting better. I rather wish it had a different name though. I don't like having a fascist foot. In my experience fascists are normally a pain in another part of the anatomy.