I've spent a lot of time in Prospect Park and so has Chuck Schumer, my neighbor and United States Senator. He usually rides a bike for exercise and I'll be a running, hanging out or organizing a race. Once, just after I said "GO!" to start a race I stepped into the roadway without looking. I came within a breath of knocking Chuck Schumer off his bike. I don't think he even noticed me, but we both were a moment away from getting seriously hurt. I've often thought of what would've happened if we would've thumped and one or both of us was seriously hurt. I thought it would've made a great last paragraph to the first chapter of a good novel. Especially because his wife is irrationally opposed to bicycle and pedestrian safety.
I was going to call this blog post The Beginning of the End. But it been over 10 months and it's not the end. It is just a new chapter. Everyone's life has many parts, many changes. People start college, eventually graduate, get married, have kids, change jobs etc. Hopefully, you don't have to start a new chapter without concluding the last. Knocking Chuck Schumer off his bike would've been a sudden change of chapters.. That would've been better than getting CIDP.
PART * CHAPTER 1
I was five weeks out from my 30th marathon and that Monday I didn't go for a 20 mile training run. I remember putting it off for a couple of days, just figured I'd get rehydrated and then do it. That Wednesday I had some dental work done. Started to replace a crown that was disintegrating. I remember mentioning to my dentist that I just got over a stomach virus that I might have to get up and run to the bathroom. But that didn't have to happen. I left her office with a temporary crown and went home and remembered that my back was killing me. A piece of me felt that I was having another kidney stone but the pain was too centered. I put a hot water bottle behind my back and didn't go for another run.
The end of that week I remember experiencing unexplained excruciating pain in my feet and shins. I thought my plantar fasciitis was doing some weird things and causing shinsplints to come out of nowhere. I started self-medicating with Oxycodone and Advil. It didn't help at all. So I took more. That caused more problems that I'll talk about in a more disgusting blog post later. The first weekend in May was my kids' birthday. As a family we saw Avenue Q. (Little did I know how much I would love there opening song. (See below)). The pain had subsided and I was happy but I remember it was really hard to walk from the theater to the restaurant
|This is what I was hoping to hear|
when I went to the doctor.
|In my case it was the opposite|
On Tuesday I got busy with my other job I never made it to my doctors office. The next day I had to go back to Putnam County and as soon as I got home I walked across the street and into my doctors office.
Inhale exhale inhale exhale.( I'm using Dragon, speech to text) It is getting hard for me to continue. I'm getting a little farklempt.
So on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, I walked to my doctor's office. I didn't even get to see the doctor. I told the nurse practitioner what you just read. I didn't told her I thought I had Lyme disease.I wanted to let the experts be the experts. Lindsay asked me to take off my shoes and make-believe her hand was the gas pedal. She had me wiggle my toes, and then we kinda arm wrestled. The whole thing took about 10 minutes. She told me to put my shoes back on and sit on the little chair in the examination room. She came back five minutes later and And did something I will never forget. She took a knee so we were eye eye to eye, and said "I have to tell you something very important". She said it in bold and italic.
She handed me a piece of paper and told me that I needed to get to the hospital right away. She told me I needed to take a cab from the office. The piece of paper had three things written on it
I told her I didn't want to go to the ER in a T-shirt. I've been to them before and is a long wait and I freeze to death. She told me I didn't have time to go home and change. I think she was afraid I would follow her instructions. I told her I live across the street and I need to get a sweatshirt. I told her I would call a cab from my house. And I did.. And I put on a sweatshirt, an old pair of shoes and put my cell phone charger in my pocket.
Looking back, I think Lindsay, my nurse practitioner's expertise wasn't in just diagnosing me correctly. It was getting me to follow her instructions. Which looking back was impressive. I'm not one to take advice, especially from someone half my age.
Then I Googled Guillane- Barre Syndrome. "FUCK", I said out loud, "I was shooting for Lyme disease."
|My temporary home — at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.|
When I was in the step down unit with a blood pressure cuff permanently attached to my left arm and an IV going into my right arm I called my doctor's office and left a voicemail. I simply wanted to know how many other lives their nurse practitioner had saved.
For more of the story of what it was like to go from marathon ready to flat click here.
Feel free to sing along.