My legs and feet have been swollen, to differing extremes, every day for the past week. When I say swollen I don’t mean the type of swollen you get after walking all day. I mean swelling that’s making it difficult to walk. There is so much swelling it’s impossible to see whether I actually have ankles. My legs look like my feet are stuck to the ends of my calves without the forethought that I might need to move my feet independent of moving my entire leg. The swelling is also making my usual pain more difficult to bear.
I’ve been taking photos of the swelling to document it for my doctors. I started taking photos of changes to my legs and feet last summer when the swelling first started because it was a new symptom but it was intermittent; and I thought it would be valuable for my doctors to see what was happening. The photos I’ve taken this past week show a new pattern in the swelling. In the past, elevating my legs for the day would help reduce the swelling. I don’t know why, but staying off my feet and elevating my legs isn’t helping now.
I emailed the photos I took today to my family doctor so she could see how severe the swelling is. She responded to my message immediately and asked questions about whether I have other symptoms. She asked, “Do you have any shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing?” Luckily, I don’t have any of those symptoms. Because I don’t have any of the symptoms she listed, she said we would discuss the swelling when she sees me. I called the office and scheduled an appointment for the earliest time slot, which is this coming Monday.
The photos I took this morning reminded me of elephants’ legs. I looked up some photos on Google, and amazingly, those photos opened memories from a happier time in my life. The memory was about a day I went to our local zoo a few years ago. It was a special day because it was the first trip to the zoo for the toddler daughter of friends of mine. She was so excited to see all the animals, and it filled me with joy to be there for her first visit to the zoo. I felt a small piece of that joy today as I thought about it. This photo of an elephant is from that day.
The elephants we saw that day are no longer at our local zoo. They were moved to an animal sanctuary in a warmer climate where they can roam through fields with tall grasses. I hope they are happy in those fields and are being well cared for. I’m happy I have the memory of that day to look back on, even if the swelling of my legs was what made it surface.
Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – Joy & Pain