So my toe had been supersized for about three weeks to no avail. I iced it, I heated it, I wished it well, I cursed it. Nada. It persisted in looking like a joint about to have a baby, and it hurt like hell. So did the bottoms of both of my feet.
It was hard to walk around the city, particularly on the day after a huge rainstorm when all of the subways stopped working, and I had to walk to work. It was realllly hard to practice yoga, and flip flops were pretty much the daily shoe of choice.
In the mornings, I would wake up, and then hobble my way to the bathroom, feeling like some creaky 95 year old rather than a 28 year old in good shape. It was kind of comical, except that it was so painful. It started to dawn on me that all of this was weird, and maybe I should go to the doctor. But I really hate going to the doctor (all those germs, the endless waiting, I'm too busy, blah blah blah), so I still managed to ignore what was going on and push it out of my mind (I know, I know).
Then, one morning in early September, I woke up and could not move my left wrist. Like, not at all. There was this crazy ass sensation running all through my left forearm and wrist and into my fingers that made it feel like they were all on fire. I couldn't even fully extend my fingers without sharp pain jagging down through my wrist. Hmmmm.
I went to work and tried laughing about it, and I remember very clearly walking into the office of one of my best friends, whom I'll call Maggie, and saying 'Gee, do you think this wrist thing could be related to my toe?' (DUH-you think?). Obviously, typing that day was not so easy (getting dressed hadn't been, either) but since I was right handed, I made it work.
At this point in my story, a very sad thing happened. My grandmother died. I got the phone call from my mom after a performance that night at work, promptly began to cry, and made arrangements (mostly with my right hand) to fly to North Carolina, and Maggie took a cab uptown with me and listened to my weepy stories.
I was really close to my grandmother-I'm named after her, and I spent large parts of my youthful summers with her and my grandfather in North Carolina, enjoying a slower pace of life and being indulged with tons of homemade baked goods (for breakfast, no less), wild tales - some true and some not, and imaginative games that my grandmother would make up. Plus, being the only kid there most of the time (I have two older siblings), I got all the attention, and I loved that.
Amidst all the grieving and eating and sadness and sharing of stories that ensued during the days around my grandmother's funeral (let me tell you, Southern funerals are like no other kind-you seriously cannot IMAGINE the volume or types of food delivered about every 5 minutes by little old ladies who still set their hair in curlers, but I digress), my weird body stuff continued. One day I would wake up not being able to use or move my right wrist, then the next morning, I'd wake up and that wrist would be fine, but I wouldn't be able to move my right shoulder without jolting, scary pain. It was kind of like a 'where's Waldo' type of thing, and I never knew where it was going to turn up next. It is a strange experience to have a body part not work one day, and then feel totally fine the next, and then back again. It makes you think you might be crazy. For real.
I joked about it with my family, because frankly, it was just bizarre, so you may as well make jokes, and I started to write it off as some kind of extreme, psychosomatic grief reaction, to which my brother said, 'hey-quit breaking yourself.'
Now here is where I reveal how embarrassingly negligent I was to my own body and wellbeing. This kind of thing went on, along with my pregnant toe, for another THREE WEEKS before I finally admitted to myself that, hmmm, maybe there was something going on here that I should get checked out.
Would you believe me now if I told you I graduated college magna cum laude and a member of phi beta kappa? Yeah, I thought not.