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Not going to ALA Annual (and bummed about it)

It’s funny. Earlier this week I compared conferences to summer camp. You have your conference/camp friends that you only get to see once or twice a year—though today’s world beats the world in which I went to summer camps, where our options for staying in touch were “hand write and mail letters” or “nothing”—and you really look forward to seeing those friends and hearing about what they’ve been up to. I’m going to miss campALA this year, and that makes me really sad. It’s taken me a week to 1) realize, 2) accept, and now 3) act on this reality, but there it is.

Boring medical stuff:

I’ve had something wrong with my left foot since at least December. (I am bad with time, but I remember limping around during a Web Team meeting, and based on who was there, I know it happened in December. I don’t know how long before that the pain actually started, except it was definitely after October, when I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my other foot. They never hurt at the same time.) It got enough worse that I finally went to my GP, who called for x-rays and an MRI and finally referred me to a podiatrist, who was awful. He diagnosed it as a Morton’s neuroma (quite possibly correctly) and gave me a cortisone shot (eyeballed, not guided by sonogram—and I think he missed the neuroma). Around the time I got the first x-ray, my hips started hurting, presumably from hobbling around on sore feet for months on end; over a few weeks’ time, that pain spread up into my back, my right arm, and my neck. Another medical professional, who was supposed to be helping with the chronic pain (everywhere except the foot), added to the injury, totally unintentionally, by pulling the injured toe, not even a week after the cortisone shot; within days, the toe swelled frighteningly. The podiatrist found out, got mad at me(!?), and acted like a jerk, basically throwing medicine at me and saying “Don’t come back until the swelling is gone.” I was afraid to go back, even post-swelling, and I put it off for almost a month. I would freely admit this was stupid and irresponsible, but I’m not sure I can express how much diagnostic poking of a sore foot hurts. So let’s go with “cowardly,” instead of “irresponsible,” shall we? Finally, I asked my GP for a referral to a different podiatrist. And now the new, better podiatrist has put me in a boot for a month, because there’s fluid around at least one joint and “something weird with the metatarsal.” (A shadow that he’s not willing to diagnose as a fracture, or even as recent damage, at this point.)

So, early June will come, and I might get out of the boot. The fluid might have dissipated. The shadow on the toe bone (I’m no doctor; I don’t have to say “metatarsal” if I don’t want to) might have faded. But if the first podiatrist was right, I’ll still need either 5 weeks’ worth of shots or surgery. Even if he’s wrong, and all’s well at the beginning of June (unlikely, but I can hope), the boot is making the chronic pain everywhere else in my body much worse, and that’s going to take time to work itself out.


Best case scenario: it’s July before I’m back to normal. More realistic scenario: late August or early September.

I was in pain during Midwinter, and that was hard. I’m in much more severe pain now, and I just can’t fathom dealing with an 11 hour flight to Chicago, all the necessary conference shuttling and walking and sitting, sleeping in a hotel bed, and Chicago’s heat (which was oppressive even when I felt well).

I’ll be missing out on the Python preconference, which makes me feel sad and irresponsible. I was really, really, really looking forward to that. I won’t be able to celebrate/commiserate with my running mates for ALA Council, which makes me feel left out and not collegial. (Results are announced sometime this afternoon, which makes this post kind of poorly timed, maybe. Sorry.) I’ll miss my last meeting as NMRT Member Services Director. It’s just a bad scene, all around.

But I’ll use the time to heal, so I can hopefully be myself at the LITA Forum. And I’ll follow the Twitter conversation with interest. And, if I’m really lucky, someone will take pity and mail me some of the awesome and/or hilarious ribbons I hear are being created. :)

And I’ll see everyone in Philly, for sure.

Published inalalibrarianshipon a personal note

One Comment

  1. Momzo

    Take the time it takes to heal. Your friends and other responsibilities will be there when the pain eases. Can you find a pool? or sauna? Water soothes and heat increases circulation and healing.

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