Yesterday morning I woke up with a bit of pain in my left foot, and being no stranger to foot pain , I got ready like normal and went to work and figured that the pain would subside. It did not. Instead, it got a lot worse, leaving me a lot more in pain by the end of the day, and making every step intensely painful and very slow. The fact that it was raining only made things more irritating, as I was already having chills from whatever was going on in my foot. This morning, after a sleepless night in which my foot was constantly in pain, I managed to go to the doctor’s office and found myself being diagnosed with cellulitis, with the telltale spreading redness on the skim warm to the touch. As the redness is still spreading fairly rapidly, I am at least somewhat concerned about what is going on inside of my normally good foot. One has to think long and hard about how to do tasks when one is on a basically lame foot, and as someone who likes to be mobile and has a fair amount of foot problems, I wonder why I keep having to deal with a variety of different foot problems. Isn’t the gout I have enough of a problem to deal with without having to worry about something else?
Despite the problems with my feet, I have a good deal of errands to run, and so my thoughts turn to how these errands can be done in as timely a fashion as possible while I am hobbling around. One such method is to go grocery shopping while riding on those little electronic shopping carts. I have seen people do it, usually those who are burdened with fairly serious health problems. While I was looking up which stories had these particular shopping carts, though, I saw that there was a great deal of hate being directed at people who used these carts. The conversations were pretty savage, with people saying that such people should shop at the store at a special time so that other people didn’t have to be around them, and several people did not want to see such people around at all, thinking of them like people with facial scars. Plenty of people made jokes about people being morbidly obese or something like that. While admittedly I could stand to lose about 15 or 20 pounds, I am by no means even close to morbidly obese, and highly resent that being someone who hobbles around more than my fair share should be akin to being some sort of leper in the grocery store.
One thing I have noticed is that much to my chagrin, intense pain tends to make it harder to do a lot of tasks that one would not immediately associate with being able to walk. One of those tasks is writing. I must admit that I have found it very difficult to write with the way my foot feels right now, as the conscious effort of dealing with the throbbing pain makes it hard to focus on what I want to say. Perhaps other people notice that their creativity is hindered by suffering as well. And as I am well aware that few people like to read about suffering, then obviously such matters will be less pleasant to read even as they are more difficult to write about. People do not like to think about pain and suffering, and thus those that obviously are suffering are an object to be pitied, but usually at a safe distance, lest their misfortune be contagious. We all also have our own struggles to deal with as well, and it can be difficult to feel charitable others whose struggles are open where ours may be more private and interior.
I wonder what the upside of my frequent and varied foot problems is. Assuming, of course, that I am not living horribly and abusing my body to a far greater extent than those around me, I wonder what the upside of all of this suffering is. What sort of moral qualities do I build by finding simple tasks like walking to be excruciatingly painful? What sort of compassion does my own suffering give to others who suffer? I often ponder these questions because I do not like suffering to go to waste. I like there to be some worthwhile gain or result to come out of them, as something that is unpleasant ought not to be wasted. Hopefully others feel the same way. We all struggle in many aspects of life, and it is easier to endure the struggle knowing that there is some kind of takeaway, some kind of benefit from what is suffered. This is true even when one has a spreading and painful red rash that is expanding over your foot like a map of the Ottoman conquests of Anatolia and the Balkan states.
 See, for example: