Worst day ever, except for Thursday, which is worser. It’s just labs and classes and meetings all day long until the evening, when I get to drag myself home and spend a few hours grading.

To add a little flaming physical pain to the whole long process, my Achilles tendinitis has chosen to flare up again. For those of you who are blessed with ignorance, this is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon which sets my leg on fire and makes every step an agony, a lance driven up through my calf by a savage demon. I can sort of keep it under control if I don’t stand on it, and especially if I don’t walk on it, but even then it’s going to send sporadic spasm of intense burning pain to remind me that I’m not allowed to even sleep. Which means I’m on the edge of exhaustion right now.

Then, of course, to do my job on Tuesday, I have to go stand and lecture for an hour and a half, and then spend a few hours limping around a student lab. I’m thinking I might be able to perch on one of those wheelie office chairs to minimize ankle motion, but still — I’m going to need to be wrung out like a rag at the end of the day, and there might be some occasional shrieking.

This will go on for a few more days, I expect, and there’s nothing I can do but take pain-killers and anti-inflammatories, which go really well with — what am I talking about this week? — oh, yes, cancer and apoptosis pathways. Good thing I don’t need a fully functioning brain to do that.


  1. brightmoon says

    tendinitis is common in dancers and other athletes. See if you can get a doctor who treats athletes or maybe ask a dancer how they manage it ( there are plenty on YouTube who do beginning exercises designed to prevent injury)

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Hugs, if you want them.
    When you are done with the work, you need to rest with a poodle or a couple of cats in your lap.

  3. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Lecture sitting down, with a graphics tablet and computer projector.

    Why are you still stuck in the late 20th century (whiteboards), or the neolithic (slate+chalk)?

  4. says

    A suggestion, if it’s welcome:

    If you have to stay vertical (lecturing, etc.) and want to keep the weight off, get a padded stool with castors and adjustable height. Kneeling the injured leg on it lets you stand, and the castors allow it to move easily.

    Then all you have to worry about is inconsiderate and unthinking jerks banging into your foot from behind.

  5. says

    I just finished my lecture. It is in modern, recently updated room with computers and cameras and all that cool stuff which is normally great…except that if I sit down, I disappear behind a wall of tech. So I have to stand up, and also, while this room is configured as what they call a “zoom room” for equal facility in in-person and remote teaching, the administration told me I must teach in-person. Why? I don’t know. I think they’re trying to meet a quota so they can brag about X% of their classes being taught in-person to other administrators at other universities who similarly don’t give a flying fuck about the well-being of their faculty or students.

    The lab I’ll be diving into shortly has to be taught in-person, I can understand that. But there at least I’m planning on doing everything from an office chair on wheels, so maybe I won’t die.

    Unlike now. I managed to lurch to my office for a brief break, now sitting here all pale-faced and moaning, waiting for the throbbing to stop.

  6. says

    Have you considered inacupuncture? Just get some needles and poke away. It might work! Or there’s always hydroxycookiequine. This is how medicine is done nowadays: just ram, jam, and swallow stuff and “do your own research.”

  7. captainjack says

    I have plantar fasciitis and find that cold packs give some pain relief. Cheap and easy. Worth a try.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    Having suffered a fracture in my leg a year ago, I will praise the benefit of crutches.
    Standing upright -not that easy. Maybe you could do like FDR when he wanted to hide the polio damage and just hold on to a support, having one functioning leg makes it somewhat easier.
    If you can borrow a wheelchair somewhere you can take the weight off the legs at least temporarily.
    If the pain even prevents sleep, you should stay at home and recover, lecturing from home. Fuck the eejits.

  9. says

    I have done physio many times for various muscle injuries (lower back, knees, ankle, shoulder and neck) and using a TENS unit in the right spots always helps relieve the muscles to the point where I can function close to normally faster than if I use just over the counter pain meds.

    You can pick one up for 30-60 bucks on amazon or other sites and try it out instead of spending a ton going to physio. This link shows where to put them for pain relief for the achilles tendon. https://www.tensmachineinfo.com.au/achilles-tendon

  10. Snarki, child of Loki says

    One of the great things about having a crutch, is that you get to bash annoying people with it, and no one will blame you for it.

  11. oberon says

    Ouch!! I feel your pain PZ.
    I get the same, and it’s been going on so long that I have bone spurs on my heel at the tendon insertion point :(

  12. Derek Lactin jon says

    Maybe you should get a walking cast. It’s like the Blade runner’s blade but wraps around the bottom of your foot and will take the strain off the tendon.