And here ends my Camino… for now

  My stupid foot has gotten the better of me. Even after three days of rest, I can only walk for about an hour without pain. And then it’s limp, limp, grumble, grumble. Not sure if the toe is actually broken but it sure feels like it. The nail is steadily turning black.

Certainly the Camino gives your feet a beating, but I think the source of this problem may have pre-existed. Back in January, I had the nail of the right big toe removed because it was infected and ingrown (extremely painful). Despite being only partly protected by still-growing replacement nail it has given me no problem. At the time I did not ask the podiatrist to examine the left big toe. While it had shown some of the same problems as the right it looked and felt normal in January. That may have been a mistake and now I’m paying the price. It has affected the whole toe, and so the whole foot which has become prone to swelling, throbbing pain, and occasional sharp jabs of pain (even while I’m sleeping). Granted – there may be more to the story than just a bad toenail. Who knows. Maybe the day I nearly turned the ankle (only our second day on the trail) is also playing a part. The rock that was tripping me up moved just enough in the right direction that my foot and ankle popped upright just in time. I thought.

Attempts to see a doctor in Burgos ran afoul of the requirement to sign a promissory note to guarantee I would cover all expenses…without being told what those were. (Spain has socialized medical care. No one knows how much anything actually costs.)  And my emails back and forth to my insurance company couldn’t get a concrete answer as to whether I would be reimbursed. A toe isn’t exactly a life-threatening emergency. 

So here I am back in Barcelona. Wish me luck trying to reschedule a flight home to the U.S.  

Here’s a tip for your Camino: if you think something might be wrong with your feet get them checked out before you go. And if you have a history of ingrown or infected toenails, have them removed at least three or four months in advance. 


blogphototrackMany days you find yourself right back where you started.

The short story which remains unfinished; the screenplay which remains unstarted; the photo organization photo stalled; the kitchen still dirty.

Excuses are everywhere: too many projects, too many ideas, tugging you in different directions; or yet another migraine dragging your brain down into mucky pits of stagnation and dullness.

But sometimes excuses are good ones. Like friendship. Instead of spending yet another day at the computer trying to think of effective marketing strategies, I spent Saturday walking. And walking. And walking. In a big circle around a dirt track at a local middle school. One of my friends is a breast cancer survivor and every year she participates in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Since I can’t afford to donate money, I do what I can. I walk the track with her, supporting her in her goal to raise the much needed funds for research.

Amidst the sun, the wind, and the allergens assaulting me, I remind myself that migraines, debilitating as they are, aren’t cancer. And I remind myself that writer’s block, although it can be deadly to my career, won’t kill me. So I walk, and let my brain float free with no thoughts other than those of putting one foot in front of the other. If a cancer survivor can do this, so can I.

So, days later, I continue to put one foot in front of the other. And I continue to hit one key on the keyboard after the other.

Progress in defeating my migraines is slow, but steady. With the help of acupuncture, every week shows improvement. I can look at that bottle of pain killers and say, I don’t need one of those.

And I will (WILL) finish that zombie story which popped into my head during my Baja vacation (way back in March). I will finish a first draft by Sunday. If I don’t, you can scold me. The first draft may not be pretty, but it will be done. One stumbling zombie step at a time.