We’re Traveling to Asia on Tuesday and I Can’t Walk Right Now

Will Joe make it to Asia? Or will a bum foot ruin his dream vacation? Stay tuned.


Friday, January 16, 2015
I went to bed last Sunday night a perfectly healthy human being. (Well, healthy for someone who willingly watched the Golden Globes one-and-a-half-times.) I awoke on Monday with a sore toe. Not the toe exactly, but the area that attaches the toe to the foot. The toe-al, joint-al region, as it were. By Tuesday the area was swollen. By Wednesday morning I could not walk on it. When I touched it, it was like all of the pain of being a Cleveland sports fan was concentrated in a two-inch area of my foot. I worked from home and went to the doctor.

My doctor looked at my foot, asked a few questions and said it might be gout, which made me simultaneously feel like a pirate and also Wilford Brimley—the Dread Brimley. She took a blood test and prescribed one med for the pain and one med to reduce the amount of uric acid in my body. It’s the uric acid that causes the gout. I worked from home the rest of the day and went to bed at about 8 PM because unconsciousness was the preferable option.

Got up Thursday, tried to put on a shoe and was unable to. The swelling and the pain made it unbearable to walk. On a scale of 1-10, in regards to pain, it’s about an eight or a nine when I put pressure on my left foot. Worked from home again. Thursday night my doctor called. The amount of uric acid in my blood was normal. (As one ages, one realizes that medicine is so much very expensive groping about in the dark.) It could still be gout, but it might be something else. She didn’t think it was staph because my blood levels were normal.

On Friday I went to see a podiatrist in Beverly Hills whose office housed a 60-inch HD flat screen airing a show in which millionaires make over their homes. I think it was called, “Places You’ll Never Live If You Keep on Going to The Doctor.” The podiatrist didn’t rule out gout, but he said it might also be bursitis and an inflamed joint, because I have bunions, AKA the side-al, point-al nether region of some people’s feet. The podiatrist gave me a walking cast and said to stay on my meds and come back on Monday. Why Monday? Because–cue the saddest violin–my wife and me leave on a dream vacation to Southeast Asia on Tuesday.

We booked this vacation because last year was sort of a lousy year for us in ways that don’t necessarily make us special by any means. There is an eternal wheel of lousiness that spins forever, and it afflicts many people, and last year was our turn to get run under that wheel. To be honest, we’d been lucky to avoid it so long, and we weren’t ground to small bits by it, so we consider ourselves more fortunate than many. Still, after our year-long churn, we decided to book this trip to Southeast Asia as “something good for us.” We’re taking our luck back, we decided. In your face, universe.

Well, right now I am currently avoiding any food or drink that could contribute to gout. I have lost four pounds this week. (The no-meat, no-cheese, no-booze diet gets results, my friends.) I am now wearing a walking cast and wince (a manly wince) when I step. My wife is, at this moment, buying several home remedies at Whole Foods in an 11th-hour bid to heal my own lousy wheel and get me healthy for this vacation. I am going to the acupuncturist for the first time tomorrow. It’s that serious.

Are we going on our trip? Will the Dread Brimley leave port?

Your guess is as good as mine.

I’ll let you know.



Author: Joe Donatelli

Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles. He publishes The Humor Columnist.

  • Terri M. Wehrman

    Joe, unless they find something dramatically wrong in more bloodwork or your next visit, GO!! Drag along a pair of crutches (or use them, your preference), and still have a great time. Or get a walker with a seat (a “rollater”, they sell them at drugstores). I can relate, I had a trip planned with my sister and brother-in-law for months to visit my nephew who was then located in Rapid City,S.D. I ended up having knee surgery about a month before our date to leave and my ticket was non-refundable. Well I took my cane with me, got escorted from the plane to the inside counters, and still had a great time seeing the sites and even a short amount of hiking near Devil;s Tower Wyoming. Of course I had a knee the size of Mt. Rushmore by evenings, but nothing some great drinks and ice for my drinks and my knee helped out. Enjoy time being with your lovely wife and have a great trip!

  • I took your advice. Glad I did!