I’m sure we have all heard the various takes on this phrase- make lemonade, add vodka, etc. I don’t particularly hate lemons although they can leave a sour taste in the mouth. I’m pretty sure that is what the author of this phrase meant in regards to something that can be distasteful or disappointing.
My last post I was entering my last 27 days of training before taking on 100 miles. My last long run was exactly 2 weeks ago-a 20 miler that felt sluggish at best and left me feeling really beat up. I could have blamed it on the intense wind that day or the fact that is was day 3 of back to back long runs, but that was not the case as I was soon to discover.
Enter The Lemons: I awoke the next day ready to go to work but feeling a bit “off.” I thought I was just a little sore from the intense 3 day runs so I arrived to work ready to tough it out. Have you ever had one of those “pseudo reality” experiences? Like arriving at your destination without recollection of how you got there? I sort of felt like I was floating and then the intense chills/rigors/body aches set in. I left after 30 minutes, realizing I was going to be a worthless nurse that day.
I seldom miss work, but for the next three days I was behaving something like this:
Needing a Dr. excuse for the 3rd day of missed work, I embarked on urgent care for the first time. Nasal swab confirmed influenza B. So much for mandatory flu vaccines. I have honestly not been that sick since the early 90s. The body aches were so intense that I could NOT get comfortable no matter what I did. I maxed out on ibuprofen and took Tylenol for the first time in at least 15 years. I soaked through bed sheets at least three times a night for 4-5 nights. M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E! By Saturday (day 5), it had settled into my lungs/chest and every cough felt like I was going to hack up a lung and felt like an inferno in my lungs. The thick, green phlegm that came up (sorry) told me that I was now sporting a good bacterial infection that was not going to go away without antibiotics.
Urgent Care Trip Two: Having been there once, I thought, “Okay, this will be a breeze. I’ll tell them what I need (after all I AM an RN), they’ll write me a prescription for an antibiotic, and I’ll be on my way and feeling better in about 48 hours.” I can now appreciate when patients say that doctors don’t listen to them. The “full of himself” physician told me that he was sure that it was viral and that I did not need an antibiotic. I’m so glad that he came to this conclusion without a chest x-ray or sputum sample. Holy crap-me knowing my own body and what it needs surely was not enough! I left with a prescription for steroids and tessalon pearls because CLEARLY the doctor knows best! The ONLY reason that I filled the prednisone was because I had also developed an itchy rash on my chest & on both ankles and I knew that steroids would calm that down. I did not fill the tessalon pearls because I hate taking medication that makes me feel loopy. It was only to suppress the cough anyway. The fact that he would not listen and almost insisted that I smoked (asking 3 times) left a REALLY sour taste in my mouth. Talk about lemons!
What is a nurse to do when she has to return to work the following Monday. She takes matters in her own hands and uses the internet to get what she wants. I’m pretty sure that feeling like I was drowning, not being able to breathe and wheezing was indicative of something more serious to which an antibiotic would be effective. Long story short, I got my antibiotic and within 48 hours was feeling much better although the cough seems to be hanging on without the burn. For all I know, I could have had a touch of pneumonia or RSV. I was never checked for either. What I DO know is that I NEVER want to be that sick again. I’m pretty sure my body could have fought it off after being exposed to the germs at work, but doing those back to back long runs expended all of the energy that was needed to fight it. Who knew?
Lemons. The two things I love doing the most -running and eating, I could have cared less about. I missed key training runs leading up to the ultra. The weather here in Missouri has been bipolar lately with cold, damp mornings and chilly, windy days. I have since started running again on my treadmill, embracing it like an old friend. I am not going to run outside until the weather levels out. It’s just not worth the risk of relapse.
Lemons. Where does this leave my ultra? I had at first bumped down to the 50 miler, contacting the race director who was gracious enough to do that for me. But as of this writing, my gut is telling me that although I know I could do it (12 days away & I am THAT stubborn), it would probably not be the best decision. The long range forecast is calling for low 40s that morning with a high in the 50s. Normally great running weather, but not when one has another week of antibiotics to take, sweating and cooling off in those temps would not be wise. Weird to be side-lined by illness instead of injury.
One of my greatest pet peeves as a nurse is non-compliant patients. I have to practice what I preach, and putting my body through that much stress when I have been the sickest I have been in 20 years would be a foolish decision. I missed a Shamrock 5k I was registered for as well. So unfortunately, I will take the big DNS (Did Not Start). This decision was not made lightly and is definitely disappointing.
My focus will now turn to training & being completely healthy for Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth this June with some of my fabulous running group friends. I will also run the Hospital Hill 1/2 Marathon this year having not ran it for several years. I’ll see how many other states I can knock off over the summer with the half marathon & do some more trail runs. Will I sign up for another 100? I don’t know. It is a HUGE time commitment. At this point I am happy just to be able to breathe and feel like myself again.
That makes me happier than three turtles sunning on a log!
Hope to see you out on the road or trails,