My shoes fell apart the other day, and by fall apart I mean completely fell apart, unfixable, unwearable. It’s not really surprising – I’ve been wearing them for (at a guess) 15 years now, and they’ve been threatening to fall apart for the last six months or so. Added to that, that’s pretty much the state of every shoe in my house, except for the ones I turned out to be allergic to but haven’t yet had the energy to do anything about getting rid of.
I haven’t gone shoe shopping, because it’s difficult to find shoes that are both comfortable on arthritic feet, and that I’m not allergic to, and I’ve taken on too many things at the moment, so just didn’t have the spoons to spare on anything else.
So at the weekend, after my shoes fell apart, I wore a pair that I’m mildly allergic to, and that are slightly too tight to be comfortable, to walk to work, and then to stand all day during my shift, and then to walk home again. My feet hurt all day, but my feet always hurt, so I didn’t think anything of it, until I got home and found my foot was so thoroughly covered in dried blood, I couldn’t get my sock off.
And while the wound on my foot was small, lupus makes me heal slowly, and what started out as a blister is now an ulcer. And then the immunocompromising part of my medications joined the party, and last night my toe became alarmingly hot, red and pus covered, to the point I started wondering if I would be able to balance if it got amputated.
And suddenly, what started out as a funny moment, when my shoe fell apart in my hand, had become a rather gross and painful problem. And I still haven’t bought new shoes, because now it’s too painful to walk, let alone try on footwear.
This will all be fine, I’m off to the doctor this afternoon, and I’m sure it will all be pretty simple to get under control, but it did make me think about the domino effect that often comes into play with chronic illnesses.
It’s often just slightly harder than normal to do a task, and you have slightly less energy to do it with, but the consequences of not doing it are slightly worse than they would be for a healthy person, and the consequences of those consequences are slightly more dramatic, and suddenly all those “slightlys” have built up into a much more serious problem than it ever would have been for someone able bodied.
When people think of chronic illness or disability, I think they mostly picture the big stuff – the not being able to get out of bed, or move around freely, but it’s often the everyday, little things that build up and make illness hard. The big stuff – the falls, the hospital admissions – you just go into survival mode and get through it. It’s the constant nature of the everyday difficulties that wear you down with their unrelenting nature, making everything just that tiny bit worse.
I don’t know what the solution to this is, but I do know that next time, I’ll find the goddamn spoons to buy some shoes.
Thanks for reading,
Little Miss Autoimmune