I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t peeing my pants about the half-marathon, which is exactly four weeks from today. I shouldn’t be nervous. I should be in the best shape of my life and ready to take this on. Here’s why I’m a little shaky:
I am grossly out of shape—again. I last ran long-distance on Oct. 6 (four weeks ago). That was an 8-mile run. Instead of continuing with my training, I ended up with a two-week break thanks to painful shin splints. I commenced my training on Oct. 23 with a 30-minute run. Two days later, I became a guest star in a real-life episode of “House.” Here’s what I mean:
I began feeling nauseous in the days following my 30-minute run. I chalked it up to dehydration. When I cut my work day short on Oct. 26 and refused all solid food, I knew it was more than dehydration. I played musical chairs with the toilet for the next two days as the worst bout of diarrhea visited me. To the tune of about 20 times a day. (This is a Crohn’s blog; if you’re grossed out, apologies.) And in the middle of the night on Oct. 27/28, the chills and shakes began. Laura drove me to the hospital where doctors and nurses had sport with me for two days. Was it the flu? A Crohn’s flare? A bacterial infection? Meningitis? Once my fever hit 104.6, we weren’t playing games anymore. The doctors (thanks to the insistence of the two women keeping guard over me — Laura and my mom), stepped up their game. I had CT scans, chest X-rays (can’t wait for the brain tumor that will result from those), 12 vials of blood, and, my favorite, the lumbar puncture (playfully known as the spinal tap).
The result? The flu and a food-borne bacteria called campylobacter. A double whammy for a guy who is immune compromised thanks to my Crohn’s drug (Remicade). So the recovery began. Until the next day, my neck stopped supporting my head—something I discovered while in the Hobby Lobby. The pain was unbearable. It was the fourth worst pain of my life (followed by a bowel obstruction, an anal fissure, and the series finale of “Lost”). So on Halloween, I ended up back in the hospital to have a blood patch. Why? Spinal fluid (from my lumbar puncture) was leaking. A blood patch is some Frankensteinian procedure invented by a crazy man that requires one person to draw blood from the arm, pass that blood to the person on the other side of the table who then pumps it into the spine to create a blood clot that “patches” the leak. It feels like someone pushing a golf ball into your back. Trick or Treat to me.
And so here I am. A Saturday in November. Ice pack on my back. Dogs on both sides of me. Watching football. Eating Reese’s peanut butter cups. Hardly the agenda of a person training for a half-marathon.
But donations are still rolling in from supporters. So Tuesday is the day I plan to get back to it. 30 minutes. Easy.