Saturday, January 9, 2010

Metaphorically, a house fell on me last week

The last time I sat down to write a post on the Emerging Runner I had no idea what was in store for me in the days to come. I was on my end-of-year vacation and was experiencing some symptoms of a coming cold but I still had enough strength to have run four miles of trails the day before. On Wednesday the 30th I went out for a fun family lunch event and by mid afternoon my world had started to crumble around me with a force that I could never have predicted. What began as a series of chills, intense fatigue and coughing along with a complete lack of appetite led to a week-plus of hell that included a five day stay in the hospital that involved a course of anti-viral and anti-biotic megabomb IVs around the clock.

Due to the New Year's holiday I was unable to see my doctor until Monday morning. He immediately diagnosed pneumonia and sent me to a pulmonologist who put me through a series of tests and X-rays before sending me to the hospital. My wife and I followed the grim and tedious process of getting checked into the hospital and I found myself hours later saying goodbye to my wife and kids as they brought me into a small airless room and began sticking needles in me everywhere. The time passed and I was eventually moved into the hallway accompanied by numerous others whose horrific coughs and other noises made me wonder how sick they must be. After hours of laying there on this stretcher they moved me into a room facing dozens of patients. I discovered that I needed to be isolated because I was deeply contagious. My pneumonia, characterized on the diagnosis sheet as "Severe Community Acquired Pneumonia" was very bad. I had patches on multiple lobes of my lungs. The level of discomfort was intense.

I was eventually moved upstairs to a quieter room that had its own bathroom (sort of). The bathroom was like something you'd find on a boat where the unit could be swung out from under a cabinet. The days in that room were horrifying dull and I began to hate the isolation, the depressing surroundings and the constant changing of the IVs. My wife was an incredible friend and resource for me. She'd arrive as soon as she got the kids off to school and she stayed with me until she had to leave to be there when they arrived home. Mid way through the week my doctor, who initially indicated a two day stay, broke the news that the earliest I would be leaving was Friday. My mind became focused completely on what it would be like to leave to hospital. I felt as though I'd never get there.

When the doctor gave me my release on Friday morning I was beside myself with joy. It still took hours to complete the processing but when I finally reached the point of crossing the threshold between the hospital and the outside world I was hit with an intense feeling of freedom. That was easily the most depressing week I had ever spent, anywhere. I still have a ways to go to get past the residual pneumonia and I have full course of powerful antibiotics to get through over the next couple of weeks. I feel stronger today than I have for over two weeks and I'm starting to think about getting out for a mile run as soon as my doctor gives me permission.  As a marathoner himself, I'm hoping he'll keep an open mind. I am so happy to be back reporting on the progress of the Emerging Runner. Looking ahead to my next run is giving me something I haven't had in weeks - hope.


  1. Wow, I am so glad to know that you are out of the hospital and regaining your health back. That is something else. Your continued health recovery will be in my wife and I's prayers. Hopefully you will be seeing the trails pass before you soon with your running shoes on of course. Get Well, and go run already.

  2. BTW, I posted something today that may make you laugh. Check it out when you get a chance. Essence of Running.

  3. Thanks for your support and prayers. It was one experience I'd hate to repeat. Keep yourself healthy and don't overdo it. I'm going to respect how much I push going forward.

  4. Wow, that is sooo scary! Glad you are out and healing. Thoughts are with you, get well soon and have an awesome run!

  5. What a scary thing to have happen but I am so happy you are on the mend and getting ready to run! I hope you keep getting stronger and stronger! We're all here for you, stay inspired and healthy!

  6. Wow, so glad youre doing better!

  7. Thank you all for the good wishes! Think of me next week when I hit the road for the first time since late December...


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