Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I haven't done enough bad things in my life (please don't throw at me any of my old posts to try to refute this) to have earned such punishing pain. Ow. It must be shin splints, or tendonitis, or bone cancer, or something. Ow. Two weeks now,

There is some redness and some swelling - you can't see the veins anymore, and it hurts if I pull it back, pull it up like this, so the big toe points up. Yeah, it IS red. You can't see it now of course becasue I got sunburnt lying at the pool yesterday morning - I was doing laps, I can't walk too far, can't do my proper low impact exercise - but you can see the redness if you look from the right angle.

It's up on the lower part of the shin, roundabout here, Doc. More an ache, a deep ache, just under the surface. What do you mean that doesn't make sense? Where exactly? Hard to put a finger on. Well, it's easy to put a finger on my leg, but to say that this, this is
exactly where it hurts is tough - it diffuses, reaches across from the front, right on the bone edge, to this side, and sometimes to that side. Or both. If I don't concentrate too hard on it I have a better, you know, idea of where it is, like looking at faint stars, best to look away. It's there, I can feel it alright, and I have the awareness that it is just there, roundabouts, but to say, you know, to place a finger-tip that's just... right... there... Well that's like I said, tough. And it's nearly two weeks, I've taking anti-inflamms and trying not to walk too far and, like I said, that means not getting all the calories that need to burned off burned off. Yes, so I swim.

So, yeah, Doc. Ow.


Colleague, Scottish girl, texted me this morning. "Will be late. Foot very swollen and sore. No sleep. Will be there at 11."

What! A sore foot! The shirker! The very nerve of her to find excuses...

Later, on the booth - and I am even later than her; locked myself out of my room, had to get let in by a cleaner, sigh, and she beats me to the small exhibition hall - I see her foot. Mother-fucking OW! It's shiny puffy and the toe is red and the whole thing looks like death. She can't get it into her shoe at all but doesn't want to wear sandals (Birkinstocks, which don't look professional) and sits instead with the shoe on the floor and her foot out in front. Like this is no much better than sandals...

She couldn't sleep all night, she says, the pain was intense, she couldn't get comfortable. Ended up on her tummy with her toes over the end of the mattress. After the conference BBQ last night, she was fine, she went back to her unit, sober, unlike me, and woke up at 1am in agony. The puffiness covers the top of her foot, down in her toes. Her big toe seems to be the focus though. She can't put it on the floor..

I get ice from the drinks bin outside where lunch on the lawn is due to start soon, and ask the helpers there if I can wrap it up in some of the gladwrap from the salad as there are no plastic bags. Improvise, sure, tie it up with baling wire, that's the Aussie way.

The conference reception people are lovely, they book a medical clinic appointment for her - earliest appointment is in the afternoon at 4.

Is it a spider bite I am wondering, some insect? Snake? Crocodile? (The crocodile-tail salad in the restaurant is very nice, I had it on my first night there.) Was it something she stood on at the beach on her walk before te BBQ? She trod on some of the hundreds of jelly-fish that had beached on the sand, she said. But aren't their stingers neutralised once they die? I dunno, maybe.

I ask: There were no... no... those things with the, you know. They really hurt. Sea...

She says: Anemones?

No no, what the Japanese eat, sea...


No, they are hard-shelled and have those pointy things, god... Sea, sea...


Oh God you know, with the spikes. What do they called it? Unagi. Or is that eel?

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Sea, sea... urchins!

No, I didn't stand on one.

OK, good, not that then.


We are in her car, I am driving her to the medical clinic. She worries that it might be gout.

Gout? Since when do women have gout?

She had a glass of red wine two nights ago, she reminds me.

True, I say.

What causes it? she asks. She's a nurse. I'm a radiographer. I shrug. It was along time ago. Uric acid, crystals. Tophi/trophi? Not necessarily in the big toe, anywhere really. Inflammation.

I try to get the car radio to play the music from my Android phone. It worked with my iPhone when I drove up from Brisbane, she says.

There is a different type of Bluetooth that Apple use, I say.

Different type of Bluetooth? What rot, she says.

I can only get the radio, harsh, no station defaulted here in this NSW rental (we ar ein Queensland.) The bloody thing just refuses to pair with the Samsung. Sigh.


She goes into the clinic, I wait on the reception chairs with her a while. I wonder if I should be ask to see the Doc myself. I look at her foot. It is frightening, even after half a day of ice to make the swelling go down.

It doesn't hurt anywhere near as much now, she says. But she is wincing, even when she moves it slightly.

I rub my shin, at the front. It sort of aches... I imagine my conversation with the Doc, compared to hers, and then I say see ya later. I wander out to the bottle shop around the back of the tiny shopping park. Absolutely shit wine. Nothing worth dying of gout for. When I come back she is not in the waiting room and must be in with the doctor.

I shrug and wait in the car and manage to get the car-audio to pair with my phone. It was a struggle - Bluetooth can find, can't find, is rejected, finds, confirms, pairs. I put on Carbon Based Lifeforms, ambient. Cool. Long bass theme. dududududuudaaaddadadadudududud, etc… a long low thudding, hypnotic, repetitive...

Half dozing, coddled in the warm sun, I wake to see she is out of the Doc's room now, standing by the desk. I go in to check up on the results so far.

Ambiguous, she says, uncertain.

What in this life isn't? I say.

There's a small blister, maybe two, underneath between her big toe and the second. The doc said it might be a bite.

What did I say? I said.

But it might be gout. Or inflammation of unknown origin.

Well, I say, we know that already, that it is of unknown origin.

She gets her prescription filled (to her satisfaction) at the pharmacy next door: some antibiotics and some Indicid but she must return for a blood test - gout? - in the morning.

We get back in the car but the music player won't find my phone again... Harsh noise, untuned radio. "Cannot Pair With Device"

You should get an iPhone, she says.

We drive back to the resort and I drop her at reception where a golf-cart can take her to her unit. As soon as she shuts the door, my phone clicks in, Carbon Based Lifeforms starts again. Sigh. I drive to the car park and place her car in the exactly the same slot it was in before. I un-pair the phone, close the car door, lock it and start to make the walk back to my unit, up past the golf practice range where a few men in chequered shorts are chipping and/or putting on perfect lawn.

I want to play golf. Ow. My leg hurts. It's a long way to my unit. I limp.


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