Today I looked up rattlesnake information to figure out what we should have done; it's pretty vague about what to do when actually encountering an unhappily rattling snake. They can only strike a little farther than their body length, so it seems reasonable to retreat rather than stand there and try to look non-threatening. The sites I found were quite reassuring about actually being bitten; they say it's rarely fatal and in the first bite a snake makes in self-defense probably won't even have any venom. And you don't even need to be able to identify the snake, because rattlesnake antivenin is rattlesnake antivenin and there aren't any other poisonous snakes around San Diego. Nor do you need to (and you aren't supposed to) cut or suck or ice or do anything but wash the wound and get to a doctor. They claim that if you don't actually step on a snake or try to pick it up you're very unlikely to get bitten at all. I think we'll be a little more careful when picking our way through brush from now on, though.
After that, Ken got sick or lunch disagreed with him, and we ended up hanging around an elementary school for quite some time (they had bathrooms). Making our way back to the car sounded like it was going to be a challenge, but luckily it turned out okay. All in all, not our most fun outing; I did find and log the cache, but it was a bit anticlimactic. We did see more wildlife than usual -- a bunch of crows chasing a hawk, a rabbit, a lizard, the rattlesnake, an outdoor cat (that rolled around on the street near us, but wouldn't quite come close enough for petting). We heard coyotes in the canyon from a distance while sitting in the elementary school's parking lot.
I like my walking stick, but I still don't trust it the way I did my old wooden branch. It has a slight give under pressure, and that makes it seem fragile to me. I don't want to lean heavily on it. It's got a comfortable handle and it's nice and light, but we are more acquaintances than friends.
My ankle still hurts. I'm afraid it's not going to stop hurting. It feels better when it's warmed up, but that's about all. The pain started migrating down to the bottom of my heel and that worries me because it's not a typical tendinitis thing. The idea of losing the ability to easily and quickly walk is scary. Even being passed on my way to lunch by college students is getting scary. I'm walking more slowly than I used to. We've been taking the stairs down from the apartment in the morning lately because the elevator is always broken; since this is non-ankle-friendly walking first thing in the morning, I often find myself trailing behind Ken and being slightly miffed that he's going too fast. Then one morning last week, I experienced a random episode of non-stiff-morning-ankle, and trotted down the stairs ahead of him. Shit, I thought, that's how I'm supposed to be walking, that's how I walked for the first twenty-eight years of my life, and I've somehow gotten used to being partially disabled, I've somehow come to expect it. What if it doesn't get better?
At the very least, I want someone to tell me what exercises to do and make sure I'm doing them correctly to strengthen my calf (which is supposed to take major stress off the tendon). So.. is it a podiatrist or another kind of doctor who would deal with heel/probable Achilles tendon problems? My pain is near the heel, but is the tendon considered part of the foot? Oh, and of course I'm being forced to leave my doctor in a month, so I won't know where to go or what my insurance will pay for anymore. Back when I first hurt my leg, I assumed everything would be fine by the Wisconsin trip. That's three weeks away. Things are looking not so great for ceaseless walking around.
Pain is one of those things that puts me in a really bad mood. It is hard not to dwell on potentially-scary pain. There are no zap-and-it's-fixed solutions to Achilles tendon problems. Steroids? You'll probably rupture the tendon if you use them. Surgery? Not very successful. Nothing but exercises between you and limping around for the rest of your life. I have definitely been screwing around with this for far too long. (But what do you expect when I have to prioritize things so my doctor won't walk out of the room before taking care of my SCABIES?) (Which is much better now, thanks. Except I have a lone mosquito bite on my thigh, brand new, and if it's not a mosquito bite....