A nice visit to the ER after a long run

I don’t even know where to begin! What a crazy end to three weeks of weird post-vacation training.

I was so excited to find my legs turning around the first half of this week. With each day, they felt a little better. Soreness was going away, the fatigue in the quads was gone. I was excited to get a long/hard workout at the MN 1/2 marathon this Saturday.

Thursday around noon I headed out to meet Craig. He was going to join me for a few miles in the middle of my 18 mile long run during his lunch break. I ventured over to his work and we headed out, first through the arb and then on a great gravel road loop. He then decided he was okay to make it a little longer so we took the arb back to the middle of town before we split paths, me to home and him to work.

I had been hungry since mile 7 of this run. Gross! I’m not sure if it was because I woke up hungry and simply didn’t eat enough or that I didn’t use  my UCAN drink before the run (specifically because I was pretty hungry in the morning and didn’t know if a shake would hold me over until 2 in the afternoon). The UCAN stuff is so great, so slow burning, that I wonder if I shouldn’t have stuck with that.I had opted for a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and a cup of greek yogurt instead.

Anyway, I’m digressing :). At mile 16 of my run I arrived at the library in town and decided to get a drink and head to the bathroom. I had slight cramps the entire run and sometimes a bathroom break helps with that.

Except I couldn’t get myself out of the bathroom. Once I was there the dull ache in my stomach turned to bigger cramps. 30 minutes in I told myself to suck it up and start heading home. I stopped by the drinking fountain on my way out, but then felt so nauseated I headed back into the restroom and prayed this would just pass.

An hour into my library stop, I decided the cramping and nausea wasn’t going to stop so I might as well head home. I called Nate (I usually run with my iphone on my arm, just in case) and told him I’d give a lot for a ride home. It’s about 1.7 miles from the library to home.

I made it about 3/4 of a mile before things became worse. I sat for a while on the curb. I headed into the arb for some emergency bathroom stops. By a mile into my journey I couldn’t see straight. I sat down on the side of the road. Just a little over a half mile to go, I thought! I can make it! But all I could do was lay down in the grass. I prayed for someone to come along and see me curled up in the ditch. Oh, man.

I flagged the first car I saw. She was a wonderfully nice woman – wish I would have thought to have asked for a name – and was so nice about getting me home and making sure I could get inside. Thank goodness for small town good Samaritans. 

Once inside, I stumbled up the stairs. I used the bathroom for the millionth time, and then stripped off my soaking running gear. I didn’t make it up again. Instead, I lay naked on my bathroom floor and called Nate (at work). I was breathing super heavy and curled up in pain. I don’t know if I’ve been that scared and in that kind of pain before.

“I need to go to the hospital. Or call 911.”

“We can call 911 – what do you need?”

I needed to go in. I was somewhat aware that I was still naked, though, and wondered how that would work… not well :). Ha. We discussed who would be available to take me in. Craig? A neighbor? He suggested that we have our neighbor’s phone numbers downstairs on the fridge. I told him I couldn’t get that far.

Not more than 10 minutes later (giving me time to crawl on my hands and knees to get to a Tshirt and shorts), our neighbor from across the street knocked on the front door. (Nate had made some calls from work and was able to get ahold of him to come get me). He helped me into his backseat and drove me to the hospital. I think we drove pretty fast. I just remember him telling me we just had a minute left to go. He said that twice, though, funny what you remember. He has a wonderfully comfortable backseat. I curled up, tossing and turning and moaning every once in a while.

They wheeled me into the ER and asked WAAAY too many questions. Did I have ID? Um, no… just a pair of shorts, a Tshirt, a phone, and shoes in my hand. No bra, no underwear. I was muddy and smelled from the run. Sure I looked like a winner.

After further questioning, they inserted an IV and some pain medication – Morphine and something that started with a T, a slower burning pain med. Within 10 minutes, the edge had been taken off the cramping. Still there, but at least it wasn’t causing me to squirm and moan. Definitely tolerable. Not too long, though, and things started to get worse. The doctor ordered Delottid. The second strongest pain med out there. Referred to as “Hospital Heroin”. Sweet. But, wow – did it work wonders.

After that, there was a CAT scan that showed severe inflammation of the colon, spots in the liver, bla bla bla.  White Blood Cell count was through the roof. They suggested an overnight for observation and I agreed.

It’s funny because I’m in a hospital gown, ready for a CAT scan, but still in Brooks shoes.

 My tests in the morning were much better. After being checked on every 2 hours, including vitals at 5am, another blood draw at 6am, and a nurse switch (which they do with you in the room) at 7am, I didn’t get a ton of sleep. So much for my “overnight spa visit”, as Nate suggested I look at this as :). I did get a souvenier 32 ounce water bottle, though, and I’m pretty excited about that.

One “Nichole moment” – when the nurse said that I could disconnect my IV in order to go to the bathroom, my eyes widened. My first thought went to the IV in my arm. What do I do? Unattach the plastic tubing from where it inserted into my arm? I am not trained in anything medical, so pictured saline squirting everywhere as I rushed to the bathroom and then quickly re-connected myself.

Except it’s not like that at all. Apparently you just have to unplug the electrical cord from the wall and then wheel the whole IV unit with you to the bathroom. Hahahahaha. Only me. Good thing they clarified that.

No pain in the morning and WBC was down 50% to a still high, but okay number. The doctor and I talked for a while and decided that it was okay that I head home as long as I was able to eat a little before I left. A sandwich, yogurt, and chocolate ice cream never tasted so good! The first plate of food they tried to give me was not even FOOD.
Seriously. Perhaps I’m just picky now, but I don’t think I could choke
down the high fructose corn syrup, beyond-salty broth or way too sugary
drinks they tried to serve me for breakfast unless there’s a REALLY good reason for me
to do so. Sort of funny, since I used to live off of that stuff 🙂

There are still some girl-issues that might be happening independently or perhaps contributing to this episode, but I won’t elaborate. Yeah, trying to compete/train hard as a woman! I’m going in on Monday for further testing because I just can’t get enough of doctor visits and the hospital. Ug.

Until later – signing off! I’m feeling much better, and glad this might have just been a freak one-time thing that I get over really quickly and am back to training again within a couple of days (and nothing hard, I promise)! I still have 10 weeks until Chicago and 13 weeks until New York.

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  1. Holy Cow! What a traumatic event! I don't know what I would've done if I was you. I don't carry my phone while I run and there is NO way I'd catch a ride with a random person. Small town appeal for sure. I love the CAT scan with your Brooks. Too funny! SO glad you are feeling better! Did they ever figure out what caused all of that?

  2. Hmm… it might have been numerous conditions all happening at once. But then again, it was great that you had yourself tested as soon as you can. You probably know this already, but running on an empty stomach is a no no, especially if you’ve just woken up. You don’t have to stuff yourself, but a quick bite would be best, even if it’s just a shake or a sandwich. Take care!

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