After being on the road (and off road, too), I’m back at home… for the moment (at least).
I’ve been traveling, but I wouldn’t call it a vacation. In my mind, vacations are for doing nothing, and nothing is something I could do at home all by myself.
I’m visiting friends and doing things, though not doing things as well as I could be. My plans have been slightly affected by a slightly broken foot. Slightly.
It’s a familiar stress fracture that’s been annoying me every few years since college. I worked my way through school — I mean, I really fucking worked — at whatever jobs I could find. In addition to odd and temp jobs, I tended bar at a poorly conceived bar / club / restaurant and small performance venue for acts touring between bigger cities.
It wasn’t unusual for me to abandon my post behind the bottles to help bar back or rearrange the room when it was needed. One night while moving tables to accommodate a band that needed more space than we prepared for, a particularly flimsy cocktail waitress dropped her side of a four seat high top table off a riser, crashing the entire weight of the thing down onto my left instep.
Within a couple of hours, it was pretty clear my foot was broken, but I finished my shift. I didn’t have health insurance to get it checked anyway, nor did I have the money to take any time off work — not that night or any other night.
So, I bartended on a broken foot for months and popped ibuprofen like tic tacs. I took a big bag of ice back to my tiny apartment every morning after closing down the bar (sometimes I wasn’t done until 4 or 5 in the morning). I filled a five gallon paint bucket with the ice, added some water, and iced my foot until I couldn’t feel it anymore. After that, on good days, I got some sleep. On bad days, I took a shower and went to class exhausted and clutching a tankard of coffee in shaking hands.
I was lucky it wasn’t a terribly bad break — the pain wasn’t enough to keep me from working. But, as health insurance funded x-rays would show years later, it didn’t heal correctly — so, I get stress fractures every now and then. Some doctor told me that he could rebreak the bone and set it properly, but even that might not fix it for good. Having my bones broken doesn’t sound like an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon (particularly with no promise of improvement), so I live with it.
I’m lucky it doesn’t bother me more often, but every couple of years, I do something to aggravate it, and it reminds me of its existence for weeks (or months).
A few weeks ago, I reinjured it on a climbing wall while getting reacquainted with my gear in preparation for summer travel, seeing friends, and doing things… things like climbing and sailing.
Sailing was easy enough, but I’m not sure if I can climb.
So… I’m home, resting a bit, and trying to figure that out.