Columbus Marathon

I started out this year with the goal of running my first marathon ever. I was turning 40 in the first bit of October, and the Columbus Marathon was turning 40 in the second bit. It was serendipitous, totally meant to be.

And then life happened. Mom was in and out of the hospital, spending 8 weeks getting around the clock antibiotics for a spinal infection. She was home for a short bit and ended up back in the hospital under a medically induced coma because she was in so much pain from her congestive heart failure.

Nate was looking forward to the holidays for the first time in ages (his father passed away 3 years ago immediately after Thanksgiving and we lost his mom in November of 2017.) I didn’t expect my mom would make it through the the holidays. (These days I’m hopeful, but not taking it for granted.)

The stress of this plus the trips up North made me realize there was no way I could dedicate 6+ hours running on the weekends. I switched to the half, and continued to half ass train for it. It wasn’t pretty, but I was going to make it happen.

I felt like I was starting to come down with something but got the flu shot anyways. And then I ran a ten mile race. I wasn’t sure about it, but I’d convinced a few of my friends to do it because it’s my favorite race. I got super light headed and considered turning around at mile 1.5 for the 5k course, but decided to carry on. It was ugly. I struggled, but I ended up PRing the race by 20 seconds.

And I came down with a cold. Everyone jokes about the man flu or how pathetic men act with a cold, so maybe I should claim that metaphorical man card, because it destroyed my energy levels for 3 weeks.

Which happened to be how long it took to get to the Columbus Half. Even worse than a DNF, I was a DNS.

Breathing Room

After a few days, a few kinds of anesthesia, a few attempts to have mom breathe on her own, her lungs are finally clear enough for her to manage. They take out all of the tubes and bring her back to consciousness.

Her throat hurts which is understandable and to be expected. Her voice sounds stronger than it has in ages. It sounds like she has some of her pep back. The antibiotics and fluid removal is working. The swelling in her legs is down and her lungs are clear. After seeing her under anesthesia with breathing tubes, this seems like a miracle.

I tell her that my niece, C, and I will be up Saturday to visit her in the hospital. I know it cheers her up to see us and it’s always nice to see her. We’re not able to do this often because of the bedbugs at her house. Honestly, I miss her and wish I could spend more time with her and help out more than I can from Columbus.

I am very relieved that she’s doing well enough to be moved out of ICU, and expect she’ll be back home Monday.

I’m forcing myself to get workouts in at work. Spin once, strength training a few days, and one short run in. I keep telling myself I need to keep myself healthy too. I also know it helps my stress levels and mental health. I feel guilty for not running more, but I’m pulling overtime when I can at work.

This is going to stick with me

Right before mom got out of the nursing home she called my brother M screaming and crying that he had to come pick her up, now! And I thought wow, this is terrible. I don’t think anything could be worse than this.

Oh man. I really shouldn’t give life those sorts of opportunities to prove me wrong.

As you know, my brother S told me mom was back in the hospital with congestive heart failure. I kept calling her nurse with no answer, and finally got her on the phone. Did I have her passcode? No….. well no information for me beyond she’s stable, but in critical condition.

What does that even mean?

I called S, no he didn’t have the code with him. He’s at work. M doesn’t answer his phone even though I try multiple times and am crying hysterically as I drive. The night drags on with no answer. I feel very angry and very alone.

Finally morning comes and I drive to Toledo to see her at the hospital and see if I can get some answers. I’m in a fog, this is the first solo trip I’ve made in a while so I’m left with my thoughts. I’m trying not to think. Just autopilot my way through things but I’m so anxious I can’t breathe. I stop in the bathroom to calm down.

I walk in the room, see the nurse, see my mom covered in tubes and a contraption to breathe for her and I start crying hysterically.

They have her under sedation because she can’t breathe on her own. They’re bringing her out of one kind and putting her on another. They tell me they intend to bring her to twilight tomorrow to see if she can breathe on her own with the breathing tube in, but not so awake that she has a panic attack. They have her strapped to the bed so she doesn’t pull the tubes out.

But here’s her code so I can get updates. And I’m welcome to stay.

I do. And I watch her come out from under the one anesthesia and try to climb out of bed which sets off alarms. It’s terrifying to see her so out of it. She doesn’t know where she’s at much less that I’m in the room, she’s just acting out of instinct it seems

The nurses apologize and say that the second sedative they are putting her on has to be administered slowly, that she wishes I didn’t have to see mom like this.

Yeah. Me too.

Life just gets in the way

I’ve been meaning to post for weeks now but life keeps happening. It started with several reminders/ prompts from my computer that I have zero right to privacy on company computers/ time. Which I respect, but means it’s all cell phone all the time for posts.

And then things with mom keep popping up. I’ve been stressed and not handling it well. I’m eating foods that I know disagree with me, and too many of them trying to find some sort of comfort. I’m forcing myself to continue my strength training and spin workouts but find myself avoiding running because I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts.

I’ve noticed that when Nate is totally stressed, our cat starts getting sick.

Well, I’ve now managed to make him vomit everywhere too. I guess he’s accepted me? Lucky him, and lucky me.

Anyways, I intend to write some posts in the coming weeks about everything that’s been going on, and I intend to make running more of a priority or I’ll never make it to the Columbus Half marathon.

Back at It

I finished up a workout at lunch yesterday and fished my phone out of my gym bag to check my texts. Not only did I have 5 texts, I had a missed call that said mom. My stomach dropped. My family only calls when it’s an emergency and my mom doesn’t have long distance on her home phone so I knew someone was calling from her cell. I scroll through the messages, she’s on her way to the hospital via EMS, another bad sign. She can’t breathe and her one lung isn’t functioning at all so they’re thinking either collapsed lung or congestive heart failure.I call my brother S. back as I’m baby- wiping sweat off of myself and am changing clothes. He repeats himself which is fine, and then immediately launches into complaining about my other brother M. I just don’t have the time or energy to devote to this nonsense so I cut him short. Cue 4 hours later, I ask S. for an update. He’s going to skip work and head up there. He may get fired from missing work whenever he feels like it. And oh he’s getting so old etc. Okay. Way to make it about you again dude. 6pm, I’m leaving work. I text for an update. He JUST got there. 7pm, it is congestive heart failure. They have 4 ivs in her, a breathing tube, and a catheter in trying to draw out fluids. Plus something to make her sleep. He sends some pictures I could do without and turns it into a boo hoo poor me conversation again. I just don’t have the energy to deal with him on top of the more important issue- mom’s health. I got very little sleep last night, burst into tears when my boss asked about her, and got guilted by a coworker for not driving 3 hours to watch her sleep. I’m trying to get an update today but S sleeps until 4pm, M is at work, and the nurse’s station is not answering. So I’m trying to acknowledge what I’m feeling and deal with it in a healthier way than eating every carb ever and crying.

Depression is a Bitch

I’ve really been struggling with depression over the past month or so. I could list a million reasons but mostly it’s just mom being in and out of the hospital, her not wanting to be at the nursing home, but also knowing in the back of my mind her going home isn’t the best move either.

I feel helpless and lost at sea, and am never sure how much of what I’m hearing is true. She has a tendency to hear what she wants and also happens to embellish a bit.

My brother and I spoke about our fears of losing her and I guess it made it a bit more real. I hadn’t put my inner thoughts into words with another person before. Nate understands to some degree- he lost both of his parents over the past 5 years. His father passed in his sleep, and his mother passed shortly after a fall in the shower. I’m not sure that he necessarily understands how bad it hurts to watch the slow process of illness and recover over and over wondering if this will be the time she just gives up.

(After watching my grandmother pass from cancer, I’m a strong believer in a person’s will to continue being a huge part of recovery.)

Either way, it’s that plus a million little things that usually wouldn’t bother me just piling up. I went from fuck yeah I’m going to run a marathon to, maybe it’s best I switch to a half marathon so I can continue to visit rather than spending so much time training, to what do you mean I ran 16 lousy miles in May, that’s completely pathetic!

That was a wake up call for me. I’m trying to be honest with people that are close to me and tell them I’m struggling with depression, and need help getting motivated. It’s difficult to open up, but I feel like it’s clearing the air.

And I got out tonight to run. It was only 2 miles, and it was slow miles, but I’ll blame some of that on the heat and get back to it again tomorrow.

Running is Selfish

So not going to lie. This hurts my soul, but I think it’s the best decision in the long run. (No pun intended since this will actually be a shorter run!)

A number of things went into my decision, most of which all lead back to the same thing, my mom is in the hospital again, hoping to get back to the rest home. She’s also requiring blood transfusions among other things.

It turns out there’s a shortage of O positive (universal donor) blood products right now. They’re down to a 1 day supply at the hospital and my mom has an oddly specific set of antibodies and they had to find some at the Red Cross and bring it in for her.

My fingers are obviously crossed for her recovery, but my intention is to visit every other weekend while she’s in the rest home/ hospital and donate platelets on the alternating weekends. They may not go to her, but I don’t think they’ll go to rich vampires or a sadist like Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed who enjoyed bathing in the blood of women she murdered. (Seriously, it’s a thing. Look it up.)

Between stress and drive time I’m struggling to get 4 runs in a week and handle life at home without losing my shit. I expect to continue to train as much as I can (continue with the full marathon plan and cross train 4 days a week but not beat myself up if it doesn’t happen.) Family needs to be priority right now.

I’m keeping my 20 mile Big Bad Wolfe registration, and hope to complete that and PR the Columbus Half Marathon. Wish me (and my momma!) good luck this year. And go out and donate some blood to vampires or hospital patients through the Red Cross if you’re healthy enough. 😉

Recovery Week

I’ve spent most of this past week feeling really run down and tired from the combination of the half marathon and 3 hours in the car to visit mom and 3 hours back. By Saturday I was starting to wonder if I was sick or had some sort of a chronic illness. (I’m very dramatic apparently.)

I’ve skipped running, yoga, and weights trying to give my body some rest. This weekend I ended up doing lots of yard work so the backs of my legs are angry and my nails look like I’m a mole, but I’m looking forward to getting back at it. Heck, I’m anxious to get back at it.

I’ve been trying to follow the advice of pain free plus three because I like the rhymes. By that logic, I should probably have ran today. Instead I planted a few petunias and coleus in our side shade bed after we pulled all the ground cover. I sort of want to kidney punch whoever planted it after filling a lawn and leaf bag that was then so heavy I couldn’t move it.

I’m curious how I’ll juggle yard work plus running through the summer and fall since I tend to do both in the early morning or evening when the sun is not brutal. Especially since mom is now in a nursing home temporarily and I’m hoping to visit her frequently.

Feel free to drop your recovery tips and tricks or advice on how you juggle everything.

Family Stuff

I’m sort of thankful to not have a large group of followers on here because I can just get things off my chest without worrying about blowback.

Monday? Tuesday? I don’t know. Earlier this week I got a Facebook message from my mom saying she thought she needed to go to the hospital because her back hurt so bad. This has been happening off and on for a few months, and I’ve encouraged her to talk to someone about it or have it looked at. Her home visiting nurse told her it was muscle related and she needed to stretch and exercise.

My mom is 72. She’s had at least one major heart attack, a few minor strokes, has MS, diabetes, etc. She gave up smoking and made changes to her diet but she will not exercise any more than she’s forced to. Telling her to stretch is like telling me to run a 9 minute mile. Sure it may be in the realm of possible, but it’s unlikely.

They did an xray, a Ct scan, and said it was likely an infection. One of the nurses fed her breakfast on Thursday, so they weren’t able to do testing until Friday. They scraped her spine and took a needle of spinal fluid to test. My mom has two kinds of curvature of the spine so it’s incredibly painful for her to lay on her back on a flat surface or on her stomach, and it’s hard for them to get the anesthesia correct. She was in a lot of pain from the test and couldn’t roll over or stand up without assistance.

They think it’s discitus which affects 1 of 100,000 people. Current plan is IV antibiotics 5 times a day for 39 days and blood tests every 3 days to make sure she’s responding okay. So she’s not going home any time soon and it breaks my heart.