A Humbling Trip
Recently, I have heard from non-racing friends that I can do just about everything and seem to be good at it. This is something new in my life it’s nice to hear and it’s hard not to let it get in your head sometimes. What’s funny is as soon as something like this creeps into your head, life has a way of showing you that you are in fact not Super Woman and you too are vulnerable and instantly you are humbled.
After the last few weeks of great racing and training. I hoped on a plane on last Wednesday and headed to Colorado for a wedding. I had packed training clothes and looked forward to some altitude training around wedding activities, well that’s what I had planned anyway. This trip would hold none of that. Instead it would be a remembrance of how weak we really can be and how lucky I am just to be able to do what I do each day and remain healthy.
I got off the plane in Denver with my parents as we got the rental car my stomach felt a little off. Nothing crazy as travel sometimes has that way of making you feel bloated and overall not great. I shared a room with my parents moving to my own hotel when one of my sisters arrived the next day. At least that was the plan.
At around 5:00am I woke up with a stomach ache, thinking it was just gas and all I needed was to go to the bathroom, I got up headed to the bathroom to relieve myself and headed back to bed. Over the next thirty minutes the pain would continue to increase and soon I found myself curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor barely able to move. I lay in the shower thinking some warm water might workout whatever this was. The pain only increased and found no solace in the shower.
The pain continued to grow until I found myself vomiting from the unbearable agony. This was about when my mother inquired what was going on. She asked if I needed to go to the hospital, I wavered for a minute or two and then instead of being the tough woman acquiesced and we were headed to the hospital in Denver. This was not how I envisioned my trip to Colorado.
I rolled in the back of the rental car as my stepfather navigated the one-way roads of Denver. As we neared the entrance to the Emergency Room, the car had to be pulled over so I could vomit again. Curled up on the floor of the reception area and initial screening was how I remember arriving to the hospital.
I was repeatedly asked on a scale of 1 to 10 my pain I would always answer 9, as you never know it could get worse, I couldn’t imagine how but it could. With a super strong dose of morphine I found myself still in pain but numbed and curled up in a ball on my bed in the ER. As each doctor came in and tried to diagnose the problem, and test after test later. We ruled out more and more possible issues. It was not until late in the day and several tests later that the problem would present itself to the doctors, this was after I was being prepped for a morning exploratory surgery.
On Friday afternoon, I was discharged from the hospital in time to attend the wedding on Saturday afternoon. One dose of medicine later, the gastrointestinal issue would resolve itself leaving me weakened but relieved to have a prognosis that wouldn’t include any real lasting consequences.
It was in those moments in the ER curled up in a ball, doped up barely able to move that you feel truly humbled and weakness is exposed. As I stumbled to the bathroom I felt true weakness. As I left the hospital my images of grandeur for this trip had been deflated and a strong remembrance of how fragile we all can be emerged. A good remembrance to me that each day is a gift and I am lucky enough to have my health to be able to remain active and fit. I am also extremely grateful that I happened to be with my parents during this ordeal and was able to have them as a support system.
Looking back on the experience I can laugh now at parts along the way, like when they had a hard time reading my CT Scan because as one doctor told me, “You are extremely fit with little body fat” or even in my worst pain my resting heart rate was still 44 BPM. Yes, from this trip to the ER I found out I am pretty healthy these days when you do the numbers. In the end however, I am just happy to be on the plane home having been able to attend the wedding and share in my friends big day and not still be in a hospital bed.