Wednesday, June 9, 2010

message from my body: nothing in the tank

For various reasons, the best-laid plans of this particular mouse got waylaid -- by work stresses, lack of consistent sleep, and mostly by a succession of pesky health issues. So I didn't build up the strength or distance base I'd hoped to in time for short-track season, which begins with a course trial next Monday night.

By early May I realized that this was going to be the case, so I adjusted my sights, and hoped I could simply survive the races on the strength of my daily commuting (averaging 40 to 50 miles a week, with a few higher-mileage weeks tossed in here and there whenever I did a longer recreational ride). I even took Stompy (version 2.0) out a few times, to play at my local park and get used to the new frame.

But those pesky health issues just kept getting in the way.
In late February and most of March it was a flare-up.
In April, the beginning of the pollen acclimation period (during which I must carry an inhaler and sometimes am so short of breath I have to skip riding altogether).
In May -- the wettest May on record for Oregon -- headaches and sinus clogging episodes as the barometer swung wildly back and forth.
And now, in June, some kind of infection.

I came home from the Portland Riv Ride on Sunday feeling tired but pretty good.
Monday morning I began to feel a little bit of a sore throat and another sinus headache coming on. I treated it with over-the-counter aids and rode my bike to and from work.
Tuesday, I woke up feeling tired and achy, and my throat was beginning to swell. I felt like crap and took the bus. By 1 pm I felt so awful I went home early. Cue fever, chills and sweats. I spent a feverish night alternately snoring loudly and jerking awake in a drenching sweat.
Today at the doctor's, still feeling awful, and my neck now swollen to the size of a small watermelon, I croaked out my symptoms.
"Probably strep, or maybe some kind of staph", said the on-duty doc at the clinic. "I'll prescribe antibiotics and you should notice a difference within 24 hours. But probably you should stay home from work another day to make sure you're not contagious, and don't go back until after you start on the pills."

The prescription is being prepared and I'm waiting for it to be ready so Sweetie can go pick it up for me. Meanwhile, I am staring at the picture of me from my final short-track race of last year, where I managed to not only survived but managed to eke out a third hot, dusty lap.
I frown at the photo. I do not feel anywhere that strong this year, and wonder if I should even race at all. What IS my body trying to tell me?

I contacted the organizer and advised him not to count on seeing me at the course trial. He emailed back and wished me a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, I am thinking about what else the doc had said, what it could be if the antibiotics don't start to work within 24 hours.

"Did you get your booster shot for Mumps-Measles when you were 18 or 19?" she asked.

I had to think about this one, remember all the way back to the tumultuous spring of my senior year of high school (was that really almost thirty years ago?) when my Dad had moved out, my Mom was beginning her long downward spiral into the quiet depression that would accompany her the rest of her life, and celebrations around my pending graduation were decidedly muted, as if wrapped in cheesecloth. It was a lot to remember.
Mom did take me to the family doctor the summer before I began college, to talk about various practical things like birth control and how to avoid catching colds in the unrealistically close quarters of the college dorms. But no, there was no booster shot before I went away to college.
"No," I finally said. "I didn't."

The on-duty doc handed me a small sheaf of papers with info about Mumps, and told me to call if I didn't notice a difference within 24 hours of starting the antibiotics.

Meanwhile I wait, and sip my tea.

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