24 September 2009

When Asthma and VCD Don't Matter

When you can't train anymore.

So what might you be looking at? That'd be my right foot, with 3 breaks in the ankle. Not the best x-ray (I don't suggest going to Garrett County Hospital EVER), but you get the hint. On the right, you see a chunk of bone that should be connected to the bone above. What you can't see are the two breaks on the left that are both sheared outwards. Go big or go home, right?

How does one pull off such a badass break? Storytime. My Savageman non-race report:

I was walking down the stairs between parking lots on the way down to the race. It was very dark, but I had my headlamp so I could see. Between the bottom of the stairs and the next parking lot was a 2 foot section of grass. As I came off the stairs, I stepped down with my left foot onto an uneven patch of land and started to roll my ankle. I quickly tried to correct and shifted my weight over to my right foot, which was between the grass and the asphalt. With the uneven ground and the sudden shift of my bags, I rolled my right ankle first to the inside, then to the outside. I heard the bones snap on both sides, and fell to the ground. Hoping that I was imagining things I tried to move my leg, and noticed that my ankle didn't lift from the ground but my leg did. After refraining from puking, I decided I needed to get someones attention. So, I started yelling for help until a ranger and a few Z'ers found me. After a short ride in the ambulance and a few shots of morphine later, I arrived at Garrett County Hospital. I won't go into details, but I don't recommend this hospital, and decided against having my surgery done there. Huge thanks to my teammates for following me to the hospital, contacting the doc's on our team who work at INOVA Fairfax, and set me up for the red carpet treatment once I got to INOVA

Susan, Ray, and Annie packed up my car so Annie could drive me home. We encased my ankle with ice and I downed a Lortab to embark on a narcotic-induced rambling ride home. We pulled up to INOVA, and beat the other kid with a broken leg out of the car (noting our awesome transition times). We asked the triage nurse if she knew Dr. Miller, and she had no idea who we were talking about. Turns out we were at the wrong hospital (Fair Oaks). So, we hopped back in the car and went to Fairfax. After witnessing a woman storm the ER only to be quickly removed by security, an old lady with the swine, and a crazy man yelling about his job, we made it to a room. Scored a hot resident working on me who used to do triathlon in college... and also sent me a message on Facebook since Annie was taking pictures that she thought I should use as a profile picture. After having the worst X-ray tech ever (who knocks someone's foot that is clearly broken?!), and Annie yelling at people until I got pain killers (if you EVER need something taken care of.. Annie will set someone straight), we were taken back to the room to wait for the results. We were updated on who beat who, where everyone placed, and that Team Z got that Savage Cup again! The docs came back in and injected my foot with a numbing agent, doped me up some more, gave me oxygen, and went to work resetting my ankle. Huge props to the staff - it didn't hurt even though it looked like they were going to rip my ankle off.

I have a temporary cast on now, and go for surgery on Monday morning. My mom will be in town to take me in to have plates and screws positioned to reset the three broken bones. I broke the left, right, and back side of my ankle... Good to know I don't do anything less than 110%. I'll be off my foot for 6 weeks minimum, but should recover fine. No IMFL for me; however Annie and I are planning the first annual IMFL Power Hour race.

So, there's the last 2009 race report you'll see from me. I'll update on Monday after my surgery. Possibly with some more pictures as well.

15 September 2009

Post Epipen madness: I might not have asthma

Needless to say, after having to use the epipen to open my airways (okay, I could have gone to the hospital.. but that is way more drama than necessary)... I went to my asthma docs on Wednesday to find out what the deal is. ***Sidebar - if you EVER have any allergy/asthma issues and are in the NoVa area, check out Adult and Pediatric Allergy of Northern Virginia located in Herndon. The practice has a special expertise in sports-induced breathing disorders, and routinely work with Olympic and collegiate "high performance athletes", as they call them (us?).

Anyway, after describing the issues I was having and doing a few lung function tests, the doc looked at me and said "there is no possible way you have this severe of sports induced asthma.. or for that matter, most likely any asthma at all." She handed me a home lung function monitor, explained how to use it, and sent me on my way for the time being. I have to test my lung function morning, during/after exercise, and at night. I also have to record my heart rate and general notes. She thinks I have
Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM), or Vocal Cord Dysfunction (go ahead... "what?"). The symptoms are usually confused with asthma because they are so similar. The key difference is with PVFM/VCD, you have issues breathing in... where as asthmatics have a hard time breathing out. I head to a pulminary specialist in two weeks who will make me exercise until I have an episode, then promptly shove a camera down my throat to check out what my vocal cords are doing. Yummy.

You might be wondering where this came from... Apparently not to much is known about the disorder. Some think its brought on from stress/psychological disorders, especially after traumatic emotional stress (ahem.. possibly my accident/losing dad).. some think its from acid reflux (used to have lots of issues with ulcers in college). It can also be tied to brain trauma and injury (lets see... I slammed my head into the pavement... also the chin strap from my helmet left significant tissue damage to my throat, which is still sore to this day)... which is where the doc thinks the newfound breathing problems came from - my accident.

So much for no lasting side effects. :(

Nothings going to stop me though... Onward to Florida!

A few posts behind: Rehobeth Beach

I have about a dozen half written posts in my drafts over the last month that never have been finished.. So I'll be posting a bunch over the next few days. I still need to add pictures, so bear with me.. they'll get up later.

From 8/31:

A number of us from Team Z went up to Rehobeth beach for a long training weekend. Why Rehobeth? Training in the ocean and on long flat stretches for Ironman Florida.

Since I had off Friday, a fellow teammate and I decided to make the hike up on Thursday night after traffic died down. Easy drive, got in around 10pm to an absolutely HUGE beach house. Seriously, there were 12 of us staying in it, and we could have easily fit 30. Grabbed dinner and went to bed.

Due to the tropical storm lingering along to coast, Friday was spent saying "lets go to the beach!" followed quickly by a roll of thunder and rain. It would clear up again, and then go back to thundering. No beach on Friday... Sad. Met up with the Z'ers in town for dinner and a few drinks, then off to bed for the 100 mile ride in the morning.

Woke up and felt great heading out for the ride. At least 50 people rolled out for the ride, so it was a great showing. The plan was 3 loops, each getting progressively shorter. I was instantly amazed at how fast I felt when I wasn't climbing hills. I'm a HUGE fan of flat terrain now. Unfortunatly, my airways didn't seem to agree. I felt like I was having bad asthma issues the entire ride. Around 55 miles in, it got to the point where I had tunnel vision because I couldn't breath. I called our fearless sag crew, and someone came and got me. I figured I'd be fine if I just laid down for a bit, but no luck. 45 minutes later I had Coach Ed inject me with my epipen to open my airways. I'm not afraid to use one, but he wanted to learn. So after giving him instructions and a very awkward bearhug on my leg later, he realized it wasn't so bad. Until he pulled out the needle and saw how long it was. I attempted to ride about a half hour later, but my thigh hurt to bad from putting a needle through my quad... so I ended up sitting around drinking long islands in the parking lot cheering on the other riders.

Sunday was spent on the beach. I swam about 2 miles in the ocean, getting used to being tossed around. Unfortunatly the jelly fish were out and about, making the swim a bit more uncomfortable than necessary. I had planned to get in one last time to do a swim around 4, but the jelly fish were in full force. One wrapped around my ankle as the tide came in standing on the beach.. So the plan was abandoned. :( At least I didn't get a jelly fish up the pants like someone else...