Last Friday night I had an MRI. It was my first one. It was for my ongoing foot injury (now 5 months ongoing). And while I lay there, with ear plugs and headphones playing “top 40 hits,” I thought about a lot of things. I thought about how it was weird to get older and realized that things don’t just heal quickly. I thought about how I never realized how difficult it is to lie still for that long. I mean, I tell patients it’s hard and have empathy, but I didn’t actually realize how hard it is not to move “whenever the MRI is making sound,” which is almost the whole time. I realized that it really hurts to lie there, and by the end my foot was pretty miserable.
I watched the ceiling lights in the MRI room change colors every few seconds to red, orange, yellow, green, and so on. I also vacillated between being glad I might finally know what’s wrong with my foot and the fear that nothing is actually wrong with my foot. I wonder if anyone else does this. How many times have you gone to the doctor worrying about something and you turned out to be fine? And so far my injury has been fine, just a bruised bone. That stills hurts 5 months later. Ugh.
This injury is so frustrating for me because I love to walk and to run. I love to go places on foot. Most of my young life included walking. Walking to school, the store, to friend’s house. Walking to work. Once when I was pregnant, I had to walk home from work because it was too late to catch a bus. I walked about 4.3 miles home. I did not enjoy that. Even though I had to walk a lot of places, my feet were my independence. But today I tried to jog walk to catch the shuttle at work and my foot was sore the rest of the day from that minute of activity.
Sometimes I find myself imagining that I will never be pain free again, that it will go on forever. Other times I tell myself it isn’t that big of a deal. It’s not like I have a serious illness. Just foot pain. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life not being able to hike, run or walk my dog without pain.
It feels like some kind of prolonged mental exercise of how much I can tolerate.