Thursday, March 18, 2010

Compeed, I Love You!

A very strange thing happened last week. I was out on my usual walk, with my usual backpack, in my usual boots and socks, on a usual day, when, about two miles into the walk, I began to feel the dreaded hotspot on the ball of my right foot. I remembered what the pilgrims say about attending to it immediately, so I stopped and searched in my first aid supplies for some blister protection. I had purchased some little band-aid type things with a gel pad in the center made just for blisters, and so I found one, applied it to the hotspot, and proceeded on my way. Before long, however, the pain of a blister started to accompany my every step. I decided to soldier on, knowing that more than likely this will happen on the Camino and I'll just have to learn to deal with it.
       When I got home and took my boots off, the puny little blister protector had come off, and a full-fledged blister was there. The next day, I was scheduled to walk a 5K in Louisville, as the first leg in the "Triple Crown" leading up to the mini-marathon in April. What to do? The next morning I applied moleskin but the pain was my friend for the whole walk. Nonetheless, I met another walker, a very interesting lady who made books; that is, she handcrafted her own paper and bound it in handcrafted covers. And she was on her way in a couple of weeks to serve coffee to participants at the end of the Iditarod. There are so many interesting people in the world!
      Anyway, when I got home, I was determined to find a source for that miracle mentioned by many pilgrims. It is a British product called Compeed. I found out that Johnson and Johnson in the US had bought the rights to the technology, so I thought surely a pharmacy would carry it. I went to Walgreens and found it. It is called Tough Pads, and they are expensive: about $5.00 each, but if they work, they will be worth their weight in gold. (Well, they are very light, but still...)
      I slapped one on, and believe me, they are technological miracles! I could walk without pain; it stayed on through showers, walking and a sauna, for three days. By the fourth day, it was starting to come off. I peeled it off. It did not stick to the skin and the blister was gone.
      The mystery still remains as to why that blister popped up out of nowhere, but I am glad because now I am ready for them. My first aid kit will be replete with them for myself and other blister-prone pilgrims I may meet along the way.

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