A Gentleman of Forced Leisure

I recently laid up for a bit, trying to heal a mysterious injury.

Unidentified ailments are an unfortunate byproduct of our constantly-on-the-go lifestyle. It’s not unusual for one or the other of us to have some unexplained ache or pain that slows us down. Currently, mine seems to be a sprained ankle.

I can’t tell you when my foot started hurting. I noticed that the top of my right foot hurt as if I’d dropped a round of firewood on it. This is a fairly common occurrence, but I know I haven’t done that recently, nor could I forget if I had. For a while I suspected I’d strained my foot jamming it under heavy bed clothes, too tightly tucked into the foot of the bed.

I’ve spoken before of our preferred help reference for pain (see The Homestead Reference Library: Pain Free). I may have taken one of Egoscue’s main tenants too much to heart. He teaches the importance of not favoring an ache or pain, which leads to moving unnaturally, exacerbating the muscles around the pain. I’ve interpreted this as ignoring pain completely, which sometimes leaves me hurting far longer than need be.

I finally decided to ice and elevate my foot. I got immediate results. The pain in the top of my foot eased, allowing me to notice the underlying and accompanying pain in my arch and up my ankle! The pain felt familiar to me. I finally recognized it as similar to a sprained ankle. It’s slightly swollen most of the time—not enough to see, but the tumescent feeling’s noticeable in a shoe, or even a sock.

So what happened? Did I develop a slow motion, low impact sprain by overloading my ankle? I’ve been hauling a lot of heavy firewood lately.

I’m beginning to suspect that I tore something in my foot. Hiking the trail, we often turn our ankles on the uneven surface. Almost every time it’s a momentary misstep, quickly recovered and forgotten. It’s possible I strained it enough to become a problem as I continued to walk on it. Or, I might have stressed it bracing myself on a slope while cutting a tree?

Because it hasn’t slowed me down, really. I don’t even walk with a limp most of the time. It’s just an aggravating pain that intensifies overnight.

Our lifestyle offers few opportunities to lay up, particularly at this time of year. Thankfully, we had a break in the sunny weather. I decided to take advantage of that, and get the heck off my feet for at least a day.

Did I make it? It wasn’t easy. After a cloudy morning, the sun came out once again. Writing this and a few other posts filled some of the time. But, there were dishes to be done while the water was hot. That chore almost led to others. I indulged myself to keep sedentary. I considered a second cup of coffee, maybe even a movie, a heretical activity when the weather’s mild. I mostly read a book, a true luxury at this time of year.

The day of forced leisure proved to be a good idea. My foot, while still painful, is much better. I’ve been careful about keeping off of it in the days since. I’m not getting the wood hauled more than a little at a time, and other jobs are lagging behind.

But I needed to do something about this foot. If it doesn’t heal soon I might even be driven to the final extreme: I may actually go see a doctor about it . . . .

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