May 4, 2012

Laying Low

Laying Low

I am not a patient person when it comes to myself. This might be more true than ever when it comes to my body. Doctors in general are not exactly known for being the best patients, so perhaps this is where some part of my personality come together badly and definitely not for my own good.

Recently, running along the waterfront in Sydney, Australia, I felt a pang in my right calf. I stopped, rubbed it out, slowed down. After an ibuprofen and a long flight back to the US, it seemed fine. I ran on it the following week with the occasional twinge, but nothing horrible. Did some extra stretching, wore my newly beloved compression socks, and tried to suppress the thought that this thing kind of hurt and maybe I should pay attention to it.

Then I flew to Spain. Didn’t run the first couple of days, but when I did…oh…ouch! This time it was a deep pain that would not subside. It was with me the rest of the trip and was only minimally better when I arrived home. Of course (and feel free to quietly laugh to yourself if you have done this too), I chose to ignore this and run again the next day…

Bad idea. But you see the thing was that my 10 year old asked to run with me and he was so sweet and how could I resist. He was equally sweet when he asked if I wanted to lean on him on the way home.

The following morning the pain was still just as bad. Now I am worried.

I text a friend who is an internist: Do I need to worry about DVT??

(This is an abbreviation for deep venous thrombosis – a potentially very dangerous blood clot that can form in the leg and – occasionally – they can break free, travel to your lungs, and kill you. Frequent long-distance air travelers are at known risk for DVT)

He called.

Does it hurt at rest?

Me: Yes, right now.

Him: (Silence) Well…it’s probably not a DVT, but it would definitely be in the differential diagnosis and you have been traveling a lot…

Me: Do I need to rule it out?

Him: It’s not a bad idea.

The next morning, I describe the whole thing to my personal physician.

Her: It’s most likely a strain…did you say it hurts at rest?

Me: It does now, but not as much as yesterday.

She looks a long time at my leg, squeezes it, pokes it…looks at her watch.

She: I am going to send you across the street for an ultrasound. Just to be safe.

So, kids in tow, I hobble over to the radiology center across the street. Now my kids are worried. They follow me into the room with the ultrasound tech. My 10 year old decides that doppler ultrasound of my leg is more interesting than the game he is playing on his iTouch.

30 minutes later, I get the all clear. No clot. Phew!

On the other hand…my leg still hurts.

If you are like me and live a busy life with a lot of responsibility, it can be hard to take time out to heal. I have a hard time simply giving myself permission and I find my head fills with crazy amounts of self-talk about losing ground and not being that injured and simply not having the time to be injured. But what does that really mean? How can you not have the time to be injured?

When I was in medical school I remember a teacher telling me that patients never read the text book before they come in. (Though now many have read something on the internet…) What they meant was that while you occasionally see a textbook case of this or that, the individual variations are pretty vast. Injures might heal in an average time of X, but your body might need X+1, or Y or something else. Me, I have read the book, but I still forget repeatedly that the reason we have the saying Time Heals All Wounds is that there is a lot of truth in it.

So I wait.

And I am trying to convince myself that by waiting I will heal faster which actually means waiting less than if I tried to run today and hurt myself more. Not sure that psychology is going to get me far, but it seems to take the edge off.

And maybe later, a glass of wine.

Happy Friday!





Leave a comment
  1. Dawn
    May 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    So did the doc determine what the cause was? Have you pulled something do you think? I know it is difficult, extremely frustrating but you MUST rest it if you are in pain, maybe do something else, (I know you struggle for time), use a bike or swim and see if that can be done pain free, if not then rest completely for a few days and see how you go…(of course, I am not a professional, that is just what I would do…hahaha…no, actually what I would do is exactly what you did, carry on…but I KNOW what one SHOULD do, just use your instinct, and listen to that inner voice!!) 😉

    Feel better soon. 🙂


    • Jacqueline Jacques
      May 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Dawn – I have been such a BAD blogger lately. Life is just a bit more crazy than the usual crazy. No determined cause. Actually I now have pain in both calves…I think the next step is to see a physical therapist, but to do that I have to have time…so I keep hoping it will just get better on its own 🙂

      And seriously, who would have thought that compression socks would be so exciting in my 40s! I am very intrigued by the ones with ice packs. Why is it that when I started running no one told me I would need a dedicated dresser for all the gear?


  2. Dawn
    May 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    (OMG…you would not believe how long it has just taken me to get a photo put onto this Avatar thingy…I am not very technically minded!!!!)