Tag Archives: bronchitis

Overcoming The Bad Stuff: 19 March 2010

27 Feb

As I attempt to patch together bits of my life that feel as if they are falling apart, I find myself unable to write. This is a re-post from last year. In fact, this was only the third or fourth post in the life of Running For Autism. I’ll see you tomorrow, emotional Band-Aids and all.

 

2010 did not exactly start off well for me.  In early December, I had suffered from a strep throat infection, during which I had only been able to lie down comfortably in one position for three days.  This resulted in some stiffness in my neck and upper back.  It was not crippling, merely uncomfortable, and my chiropractor was helping me out with it.  The day before New Years Eve, a chiropractic adjustment went horribly wrong.  I had excruciating shooting pains in my back and going all the day down my left arm.  The fingers in my hand went numb. While everyone else was out partying it up the following night, I was sitting on the couch writhing in agony. I missed the New Years Day Resolution Run – something that I had been looking forward to for weeks.

Over the next month, I went to the Emergency Room twice, was seen by five different doctors, and got four different prescriptions for drugs.  I cried myself to sleep each night because I was in so much pain, and I appropriated the kids’ giant stuffed gorilla because it was just the right size for me to rest my arm on.  I was taking Percocet for the pain every six hours, and when the pain between doses got too much for me to bear, I was taking Tylenol Three as well.

For a month I could barely stand up, let alone run. In the end, it was the folks at Toronto SEMI (Sports and Exercise Medicine Institute) who saved me from insanity.  The doctor there told me what I had suspected, which is that I had a pinched nerve.  The pinched nerves always get resolved, he said, and it could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to a few months.  I immediately started seeing one of the physiotherapists at SEMI, and within days I was starting to feel relief.  After two weeks, she told me I could try running again.  Two weeks after that, I was in full-on training mode again, and feeling great.

As soon as I had gotten back on my feet, though, I was struck down again.  I caught a cold, and the cold turned into something a lot worse.  I had a hacking cough, I had a fever that came and went, I was weak.  I was so sick that I was off work for two weeks, and was not allowed back without producing a doctor’s note certifying that I didn’t have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. During this time, I was not able to run for three weeks.

Last weekend marked the end of this three-week drought.  I got up on Sunday morning, and although I was still coughing a bit and somewhat congested, I decided to give it a try. It went surprisingly well – slower than I would have liked, but considering all I’d been through over the last three months, I didn’t mind.  I was just happy that I was out on the road again.

On Tuesday I went for a lunchtime run.  Due to time constraints, my weekday runs cannot really be longer than 5km, but that’s still enough for a good workout.  About 500m into the run, my hair band snapped.  Not a good thing – I have quite a lot of hair.  I ran almost 5km with my hair streaming out behind me.  It reminded me of those movies about horses, where the horses are running across meadows with the hair on their tails flowing behind them in the wind.  That’s what I felt like.  A horse’s ass.  I had also misjudged the weather that day, so I was overdressed.  Hair flying every which way plus clothes that are too hot leads to a run that is uncomfortable and cumbersome.  I was not happy with my pace or the fact that my heart rate was reaching the stratosphere.

My next run was on Thursday.  I almost left my running clothes at home that day, because I had had zero sleep on Wednesday night and did not rate my chances for a good run.  But you never know, so I took my gym bag to work, not really expecting to use it.  Come lunchtime, I still felt like the undead, but knowing from past experience how a run can actually have healing powers, I suited up and hit the road.  My clothes were appropriate and my hair band stayed intact.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and I had a fantastic run.  Although the “pace buddy” on my training watch still beat me, my pace was a lot better than it had been on Tuesday.  My heart rate stayed within reasonable levels.  When I reached the end of the 5km, I could have continued.  It was one of those runs that reminds me why I love running.

I am planning another 5km run for tomorrow morning, and a longer one for Sunday.  I am looking forward to my 10km race on April 3rd.  I am hopeful that I will stay healthy this time.  I have to.  After all, there are only 190 days to my next run for autism.

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Invasion of the Body-Snatcher Bugs

7 Dec

OK, that’s it.  I’ve had enough of this nonsense, and it is time for me to take charge of this situation.  My body belongs to ME.  It does not belong to this pesky bug that is invading it, making it feel sick and trying to keep it down.  This bug has been here before, and on previous visits I have waited until I was sick for weeks before seeing a doctor and getting rid of it.  Earlier this year, right after I had recovered from my injury, this bug hit. I allowed it to go untreated for almost a month, by which time I had bronchitis, was being tested for pneumonia, and was under instructions from my boss to not show up at work until I had a clear chest X-ray.  NOT THIS TIME!!!

I’ve been sick for about a week, and initially I thought I was just catching a cold.  But when I get colds, I get a stuffy nose and an unreasonable sensitivity to normal Kleenex.  I become a tissue-snob, insisting on the expensive super-cushioned tissues because the regular ones feel like sandpaper. My eyes go red and rheumy, as if I’ve been on a month-long drinking binge. My skin gets red splotches all over it that makeup only serves to accentuate instead of conceal.

That’s not what I have. What I have is the fact that I cough up a lung every five minutes or so. It’s the kind of coughing that is so invasive that people who have workstations on the other end of the floor keep coming over to ask if I’m OK.  I have headaches. I am hungry because I am not eating properly.  I am not eating properly because whenever I have food in front of me, I suddenly feel ill and cannot face the thought of eating it. During parts of the day my entire body aches, and I am completely sapped of energy.

This cough, which I can tell from unfortunte prior experience is on the slippery slope to bronchitis, is troublesome for several reasons:
– I cannot run. This is bad for my physical wellbeing.  I need my exercise.  I am getting married 145 days from now and have to look prettier than Kate Middleton, who’s getting married the previous day.
– My incessant barking is bound to annoy the people around me.
– I cannot run. This is bad for my mental wellbeing.  Not running is driving me crazy, and that’s already a short trip.  I don’t need any help with that.
– Every time someone says something funny and I laugh, I end up breaking out into the ugly,hacking cough.
– During the really, really bad episodes of coughing, a tiny little bit of pee escapes.
– I cannot run.  I miss my Sunday long runs with the running club, and I miss my solo runs with my music.
– The kids are getting tired of having their bedtime stories punctuated by coughing.

My tendency to get bronchitis is probably my own fault.  I never had this problem when I was a kid.  I first got bronchitis when I was about 21 and not following the healthiest of lifestyles.  Although I succeeded in quitting smoking almost fifteen years ago, the fact is that I was a smoker for a decade and probably weakened my lungs considerably.  I am hoping that the more I run, the stronger my lungs will get and the less this will happen.  The fact that I have not been sick since February is an indication that things are moving in the right direction.

Today I will be going to the doctor, who will no doubt give me some nice drugs to take.  Within a day, I will start to feel the cough retreat, and by the weekend, I could be running again.

Let the war on the bug begin…