Pain? What pain?

Kristine Gill

My right foot has been killing me. I can’t be sure, but it may have started hurting during the weekend when I shuffled around campus for an hour in clogs to give my less-than-enthusiastic family a tour. They eagerly asked about off-campus dining locations, how to get to the nearest bathroom, why I even liked this place and when and where we’d be eating next.

This foot pain is a familiar pain — one I used to get in the same foot at least once every track and cross country season in high school. It’s the top of my foot that hurts. I didn’t roll an ankle or step on something; nothing fell on it. It’s a strained, twisted sort of feeling in the tendons running from my big toe to the outside of my ankle, and it’s killing me.

Yes, killing me. If I don’t eventually die between now and the end of the semester from severe sleep deprivation, an excess of caffeine and self pity or withdrawal in the final days leading up to the return of “The Office,” I will most definitely die from this pain.

I’ve tried massaging it, rotating my foot and using heat and cold. I’ve tried complaining about it, ignoring it and complaining about it more loudly, but it still hurts to walk or even wiggle my toes. It hurts just thinking about the 20-minute trek to Franklin Hall.

“Take a load off,” you say. “Suck it up soldier, strap on some ice and quit your whining,” you chide. I can’t do that; I can’t sit down and relax. I have places to go and things to do and improper footwear to rush to class in.

During track or cross country I made it a point not to bother my coaches with these sorts of complaints. I knew too well what jockeys and farmers did to suffering racehorses and other livestock. More importantly, I knew I was an expendable part of our team. Sure I’d lettered, and I was part of a few relays, but if it really came down to it, they’d give me the bullet and take the record-setting quarter horses to the vet.

So I mastered the art of silent suffering and eventually my shins would stop splinting and my quads would stop pulling. After a few miles, a few laps, a few days of pain, the top of my left foot would stretch, loosen and heal.

I could go see a doctor now, a professional in the area of feet and foot injury and pain, but I’d rather visit WebMD. WebMD is the medical equivalent of Wikipedia, and given Wikipedia’s popularity and accuracy, I feel more than comfortable about relying on the medical advice and information I find on WebMD.

WebMD is like a real doctor. It’s better than a real doctor actually, because you don’t have to go to its office and wear a thin paper gown and sit on a thin paper lining. You don’t even have to leave your home; you just visit the Web site and check boxes until it gives you a list of what could be wrong. WebMD is like a doctor that makes house calls 24/7, but that doesn’t make small talk or tell you not to drink at parties and to always use a condom and to stop biting your nails.

According to WebMD, this pain I’m experiencing could be caused by any of 12 different things including, and I quote, “poorly fitting shoes,” “peripheral neuropathy,” “multiple sclerosis” or “thoracic spinal stenosis.” Now that we’ve narrowed it down, I can begin at-home treatment. Unfortunately I don’t have corticosteroid on tap for the round of injections I should be taking, and my roommate used the last of the natalizumab, so I won’t be able to cover all my bases during this at-home treatment.

What I do have is a box of overpriced Girl Scout cookies, Thin Mints to be exact, that have been chillin’ in my freezer for a week and should work just like an ice pack. I also have a few hours worth of homework, not to mention the stress of scheduling classes for fall, and the unwelcome signs of an oncoming cold that should take my mind off the pain. I also have 37 things to do before the end of the week, 20 hours of TV to watch and a fa‡ade of painlessness to maintain if I have any hope of escaping death by injured horse/high school athlete firing squad.

Wowie, my foot feels better already.

Kristine Gill is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].