Monday, June 18, 2007
File Under "Normal Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
Okay, this is weird. Even by my standards.

When I was in Paris, I noticed these sore spots on my shins, raised up a noticeable amount from normal shin level. First just one, on my right leg, then another there and, a few weeks later, another on the left. They hurt like crazy if someone has the audacity to brush past me with anything stronger than featherweight force, and I can't sit on my knees on the floor, but otherwise they're quite ignorable. Just another bruise, you know?

But here it is, a month later, and they're still sore to the point of me yelping and eeking if I roll over wrong. So, after unsuccessfully searching for someone, anyone, to agree with me that it's probably just bruises, no big deal, they'll fade, I gave in and went to the doctor today.

She asked lots of scary questions, about my breathing and my glands and my joints, and sent me in for bloodwork and a chest x-ray. Turns out I have something called Erythema Nodosum, an autoimmune disorder which, when said very quickly by a doctor while you're wearing half a sheet and shivering, is the Scariest Thing Ever. It turns out that's just a fancy name for Weird Painful Lumps on Your Shins, and it's evidence that your body is reacting weirdly to Something Else. Hence the chest x-ray, to rule out sarcoidosis, and the bloodwork, to rule out whatever else.

"It's weird," said the doctor, once I stopped hyperventilating, "because the most common cause of it is actually strep throat. Have you ever had it?"

"Why, funny you should ask," I replied. "I just had a nasty case of strep in April. I didn't mention it, because somehow I don't associate shin pain with strep throat. My bad."

So, she's pretty sure that's what caused it. I don't have sarcoidosis, and the other causes aren't likely. There's no real treatment for it, other than rest and ibuprofen and waiting for it to go away, and if it doesn't go away on its own in a few more weeks then I'm supposed to go back to the doctor, get mostly naked, and see what to do then.

Do I know how to have a good time, or what?

And, not to be bothersome, but rest? Really? I have two children and a plan to drive 600 miles away this weekend to go tenting. What about that scenario allows me to take it easy?

Apparently I'll be sleeping in the car.