Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weak, Workout, Reality and Recovery- Part 1

In case you didn't know (although the one person that may be reading this does), I was really sick at the end of last year. I had pneumonia. Another important thing to know about me is that I work out all of the time. Not unhealthy, like the person who eats a Cheerio and then makes herself work out, but a lot.  It is just sort of "my thing." I do it for many reasons, which I will discuss in a later post. As you can probably guess, the two do not coincide well together, at all.

The day that I got diagnosed with pneumonia, I had done a workout, and that day's workout had felt a lot like the workouts I had done for months. Bad, horrible, slow, just not me. You see, I log all of my workouts, and basically since the end of September, I had been writing down things like "way too slow" or "95 pounds felt like 125." Things just weren't right. I was starting to worry that I was feeling the effects of getting older, or that I had just lost my mojo. Then, after a night of hacking so much that I could barely sleep,and another workout that was more laborious than usual, I decided it was time. Time to get checked, and so it was off to the doctor for me.

I was sitting on those hard, paper covered beds with the cold stethoscope on my back. The doctor asked me to take deep breaths, and at that very moment was when I realized that it was a good thing that I was there. The same woman that could do a 12-hour adventure race or a 155-pound overhead squat could not give her doctor three deep breaths. By my second breath, my breathing was shallow, labored, and wheezy. What a battle that was going on in my mind as the doctor was continuing to listen to my lungs!  I just did a CrossFit workout this morning, and now I can't take three deep breaths? What is going on? It was like I was comprised of two people--a complete CrossFit badass, strong, fast and determined, and then a little old lady that could barely breathe for the doctor, while sitting in this cold, sterile room on that noisy paper-covered bed.

The doctor was done listening, and I was waiting to hear what the diagnosis was. She sat down at her computer, sighed and said, "Well, it looks like you have...pneumonia." My mouth dropped open at this statement. Once again, thoughts about breathing and working out and pneumonia were rolling around in my head. How could this be? I just kept saying to myself, "This can't be. I just worked out. People with pneumonia can't do CrossFit or any other sort of workout." This has got to be a mistake. You see, I had been sick at the end of September with some sort of virus. I thought that I was going to go into the doctor's office and they were going to say, "Yep, looks like you never quite kicked that other virus," hand me a Z-pack, and send me on my way. Boy, was I wrong.

Next, the doctor says to me that she could do a chest x-ray, but it would simply tell her the same thing because she could hear "it" plain as day. So there I was, three prescriptions later, full of gunk and infection in my lungs, completely shocked and heading home. But home to do what? Sit around? I don't do that. If I sit around too much, I feel gross and lazy, not to mention guilty.

I just kept trying to Jedi-Mind trick myself. I thought that if I didn't truly accept the diagnosis, that I would just get better. You know, that whole mind over matter thing. The problem was, that diagnosis made complete sense to me. No wonder I was feeling weak. No wonder I couldn't seem to get enough sleep. No wonder I wasn't performing like my usual strong, fast, and powerful self in my workouts.  I guess the fact that it somewhat made sense to me won out.

Next thing you know, I was laid up in bed or on the couch. I was quarantined to the guest room, so I wouldn't get my husband sick. I was sipping cough syrup like I used to sip Gatorade or protein shakes. It was horrible. The sickness sunk in and was taking over my body and my mind. Coughing, fevers, chest pains just to walk to the bathroom, in and out of lucidity. Yes, lucidity. You see, pneumonia hit me like no other illness ever had. I would have conversations with people and later have no idea what I had talked to them about. Yet at the time of the conversation, I was sure that I was totally involved in the conversation. Also, I would start to feel OK and think that I could go do something as simple as a quick grocery shopping trip and then, BAM,  I was down and out again.

One week down. One week of couch surfing, sleeping, and fever-filled days, and I felt worse. I was still hacking, couldn't breathe, and my chest was killing me. The doctor gave me a stronger cough medicine and a super strong antibiotic. This antibiotic was so strong that everyone was warning me about the side effects. This stuff was powerful. And here is what the doctor left me with, "If you come back here in another week and don't feel better, just know, there is nothing more I can do for you. The medicine that we have given you is what we give 70-year-old ladies. If that doesn't work, we will have to put you in the hospital on IV meds. Listen to me...You have got to rest."

To be continued...

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