Sunday, April 26, 2009

One Down, Eleven To Go (My Collarbone Speaks)


Hi. Most of us haven't been formally introduced. I'm Mark's collarbone, and I have a problem.

*Hi, Mark's collarbone.*

I've only been broken for about one week, but I have learned a lot in this short amount of time.

First of all, I don't like being broken. I hurt at inconvenient times for Mark, like when breathing. Breathing seems to be essential, so I wish I could be more accommodating. Also, things like coughing or sneezing really seem like a no-no right now. I have been with Mark for 33 long (and sometimes stinky) years...and I don't remember him ever saying "Ha-Choo AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" before, but it's not like I always paid attention. Not to mention, I can wake Mark up in the middle of the night very easily...sometimes with that same screaming. I have never had so much power before.

I have also discovered that people love to tell me about their broken bones when they see me. They usually ask Mark, "What happened???" and they tend to listen for about thirty seconds before saying "Yeah...I broke my __________ before. It was terrible." And then they go on and on about what happened to them. This really bothers me and so I start to really throb at these times...

People keep asking me how this happened, and I really don't know. Mark and I were riding at about 20 to 25 mph on a flat road...and the next thing I know, Mark, his head, his face, and I were sliding along the asphalt. I have never slid on asphalt before, and I don't think I want to ever again. It's a weird feeling to have small rocks seep into other parts of Mark's body. The worst experience had to be while flying through the air, right before hitting the ground. Floating, for what seemed a lifetime, waiting to hit what would not be a forgiving surface. I felt Mark's helmet hit the ground, and I had a second of paralyzing fear that this was going to be more serious than just my breaking. Oh, I knew I was broken right away, you see. I crunched into the ground with a snap, and I think Mark noticed me for the first time in his life. This is when he started to writhe and say a nasty, nasty word over and over again: FUCK, I believe it was. He also had an interesting series of thoughts:

Can I feel my legs?
Can I feel my arms?
Oh shit, my shoulder is broken.
Fuck, I can't do my triathlon.
How is my bike?
Can I ride home?
I better lie down.

And he did, for a bit.

Some nice people came to help him, too. Some gave him first aid, others just waited with him until his girlfriend came and took him to the emergency room. It's funny, he didn't think about me too much until the doctor said his CAT scan was fine. Then he was VERY concerned about me. Typical.

It appears I won't be back to normal for TWELVE weeks, and it's kind of annoying to Mark that he trained for six months only to get hurt two weeks before his race...but there will be other races.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break Part II

So last Saturday, I wrote about how my doctor said I didn't have pneumonia.

I welcome you to my voicemails that I was greeted by Thursday as I returned from my cruise:

Monday: Hi, Mark. This is Bob from Doctor Marlowe's office. Can you give us a call, please. Thank you.

Tuesday: Hi, Mark. Bob from Doctor Marlowe's office again. You really need to give me a call. I tried you yesterday....so give me a call today. It is very important.

Wednesday: Mark. Bob. YOU MUST RETURN MY CALL. I need to talk to you about your chest x-rays IMMEDIATELY. Call me as soon as you get this.

Thursday Morning: Mark, this is Angela from Doctor Marlowe's office. My associate has been trying to contact you. I don't know why you won't call us back. You need to pick up a new prescription today...another doctor reviewed your x-rays and you have pneumonia. You need to start taking your antibiotics today.

Fun.

The best part is...the only reason they found out I actually do have pneumonia is because my doctor was on vacation on Monday and her replacement relooked at my x-rays.

I love my...I love my...I love my HMO.

Maybe I SHOULD move to Canada.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Serendipity, Baby

When I was in college, I had a friend named Todd Schlenke. He was a senior when I was a freshman, but for whatever reason, we seemed to get along like we were long-time friends...even though we were only in each other's lives for about a year.

One of the things that would crack me up about Schlenke was that he would, at random times, shout out SERENDIPITY, BABY! SERENDIPITY!...even when something was not presently serendipitous. In fact, I'm not exactly sure he knew what the word meant.

We would walk into a party: SERENDIPITY, BABY. SERENDIPITY!

We would go get an El Borracho burrito from Pancho's (the best burrito in the world, by the way): SERENDIPITY, BABY! SERENDIPITY!

We would egg a local fraternity on Easter: HAPPY EASTER, ACACIA...NOW SUCK IT!!! SERENDIPITY, BABY! SERENDIPITY!

And wouldn't you know it...his little mantra has always stuck with me...even at the most precarious times.

***

I have had a tough time trying to get a bike ride in, recently. A few weeks ago, about ten miles into a sixty-mile ride, my tube not only went flat, but a hole (better yet, a GASH) was somehow punctured into my actual tire. I rode back to my car with a five-dollar bill jimmied in between my tube and the tire (Still a GREAT idea, Ryan) in an attempt to not get another flat with the tube so majorly exposed.

On the way back to my car...my tube went flat again, and luckily my riding mate let me use one of his.

I never wanted THAT to happen again.

***

The following week I was deathly ill with an upper respiratory track infection (A URI not a UTI, FYI), and missed another chance at a long bike ride.

And wouldn't you know it...right in the midst of being sick, I went out of town on a cruise, and had no real chance to do any endurance training at all. I ran on the ship, and did a spin class..but nothing that would ultimately keep my stamina up.

I got back from my cruise this morning, and was ITCHING (ha!) to get in a long bike ride NO MATTER WHAT. NOTHING was going to stand in my way.

I wanted to do about forty miles to get my legs back into it. As I was getting my stuff together at my car, I looked at the extra tire I had purchased (SO SMART, I AM)...and thought about being stuck in the middle of a long ride with ANOTHER tire problem...so I spent a good ten minutes trying to release the tire from its packaging sans scissors. I pulled, I bit, I tugged, I keyed...nothing worked. Ten minutes gone. Just gone. I threw the tire back into my car (SO SMART)...and figured I would risk it...and who cared about those ten minutes, anyway...I had TONS of time.

***

For as long as I can remember, I have been deathly allergic to peanuts....just one tiny morsel sends me into the grips of anaphylaxis and an immediate trip to the emergency room is a MUST. I know what it means to be on death's door...in the middle of nowhere...my throat slowly closing up.

***

I went out on my ride...and tried to take a slightly different route than I usually take. I got a little lost...about fifteen or so minutes out of my way....with an added GIGANTIC hill, too. Really, this extra fifteen minutes didn't really bother me at the time. I even thought: That's almost thirty minutes of time just ZAPPED out of my day. Weird. Ah well...at least I am getting this ride in, FINALLY!

***

About six weeks ago, when I went on a ride with Ryan...he had some strange allergic reaction and broke out in a pretty severe rash. I ALWAYS carry Benadryl with me...so I gave it to him. I remember thinking to myself: Why do I even bother carrying Benadryl, anyway...it's not like I am going to eat peanuts while I am riding...

***

When I ride during week days, I never wear a biking jersey. Seems like too much of a hassle to me for some reason. I just wear a normal t-shirt...but because I hadn't been riding in so long, I really wanted to have the full riding experience...I wore a biking jersey today...and only zipped it half-way up...so I could really feel the wind. I wanted to feel the rush of air as I got back into the swing of things. I am really looking forward to this I thought as I smiled and walked towards the door.

***

And wouldn't you know it...

No Benadryl

A randomly worn jersey...zipped only half way

Time taken to unsuccessfully release an extra tire because of a peculiar puncture the last time I went riding two weeks ago

Compounded with the time of my misdirected route and hill...

...BAM...

I feel a jolt of pain...on my stomach. I look to see if I somehow had a piece of fabric poking me as the pain intensifies. I pull over and lift up my shirt...and there it is...crawling on my stomach of all places. A bee, dancing around his stinger that was squarely pulsating in my flesh.

So, I did what any man would do in this situation. I SCREAMED LIKE A LITTLE GIRL...and swiped at the bee with the back of my hand as I did what I can only imagine looked like an "EWWWWWWWWWWWWW...THE NASTY LITTLE CREEPY CRAWLY TOUCHED ME" Dance.

I flicked at and subsequently plucked out the stinger. It looked like a funnel with a small, slightly curved claw at the end. I stared at it for what seemed like forever until a thought started crawling in my mind like the bee who had just been crawling on my stomach:

What if I am allergic to bees like I am to peanuts? No worries, I'll just take some Benadryl. I ALWAYS have Benadryl with me!

I go to my bike pouch: Empty. Oh yeah...I gave that to Ryan.

I look up the road to the north. No one is there.

I look to the south. No one is around.

I call Tauni. No answer.

I call again. No answer.

I take off my helmet. I sit down. I unvelcro my gloves. I remove my sunglasses.

I resign myself to something. Fate? Pain? An eerie acceptance is all over me. I think about what it will feel like to suffocate to death...and contemplate dialing 911. But I don't. I just sit there and look up into the clouds that are filling the sky.

***

As I wait...I notice something. It doesn't hurt. It isn't even itching. I expected major swelling. Hives. Vomiting. Shortness of breath. I know this drill. I have been there before...

But none of these happened. I was...absolutely fine.

***

I finally get a hold of Tauni...and she comes to get me. And as I waited for her...a thought flung into my head...and it made me LAUGH out loud:

I am one lucky son of a bitch. I am NOT allergic to bee stings.

SERENDIPITY, BABY. SERENDIPITY!!!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Spring Break

So my doctor said that excessively exercising LOWERS your immune system; it does not increase it. I actually did not know that. Maybe I'm the idiot, but I thought being healthy meant LESS of a chance of getting sick, not more.

I, for the first time ever, was wrong.

She went on to say that exercising, moderately, for thirty minutes a day is enough to be considered "healthy."

When I asked her if exercising two to four hours a day could be one of the reasons I got sick again, she chuckled...until she saw that I was serious. Then, she simply said, "that could definitely have something to do with it."

I finally asked her if I was correct in thinking that once you get sick, your immune system increases so it is very hard to get sick again. She said that is true, but if I didn't fully recover, and I was weakening my immune system by working out a lot, I was actually more likely to get sick again.

That would have been great information to have YESTERDAY....As soon as I started feeling sick again (last Saturday night), I completely took a break so I could get better. Well, after my eight-mile run and cove swim on Sunday, and Torrey Pines hill repeaters and yoga on Monday. BUT...I haven't done anything since then, so I don't know why I have been coughing and wheezing for five days now.

She also mentioned that swimming in "cold" and "bacteria-filled" water can be "bad," and have "negative consequences."

Cove swimming isn't all fun? Who knew? Sharks? 56 degree water? Sewage? Icky seaweed? FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN!

In the end, she checked to see if I had fricken pneumonia. PNEUMONIA....because "something wasn't sounding right in my lungs." I have had pneumonia once before...and it SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS.

I don't have it now....but I still feel like crap.

Point being, it's Saturday morning. I am supposed to be doing a sixty-mile ride, four-mile run, and 1/2 mile cove swim today. Instead, I am wheezing on my couch with a concoction of vitamins sitting in front of me.

THIS is the start of my spring break.

...and all I can do is focus all my anger...ALL of it...on Mylie Cyrus.

I really think I hate her. HATE. Seriously...can someone just punch her already. I dare to find one person over 21 that doesn't find her annoying.