It's a spectacular day in the Twin Cities and I'm sitting here in the car with the windows down, awaiting word as to whether a transfusion is in order. Not quite sure which way to cheer for that. If I'm in the 7's it's a green light, 8's and they assess the impact of the anemia on my life and safety and if I'm in the 9's it's all my battle. I was 9.5 prior to this weekend's mass exodus of blood cells. Now, if I could order up my donor, I'd certainly be hoping for a 7. Yes, I'll take a healthy dose of Lance, a nice shot of Goucher, a hint of Phelps (can't swim in a straight line to save my life so swimming off course really fast doesn't help me much) a nice smack of Jobs, and several grams of any of a number of exceptional women I know and admire. Tac-Boy would most certainly order up some Angelina Jolie with a side of Megan Fox, and I think my friends would universally agree to anyone who would curtail the stubborn jackass in me. My prolific apologies friends, but you should know by now that I am hard wired to dissociate pain and I'm doing my best to sensibly read my body.
In the past month I have been scanned, xrayed, ultra sounded, and probed, I've been biopsyed, analyzed, respirated, and know the complete contents of my blood on various levels. I've been, poked, prodded, examined and cultured. There is no part of me that remains unexplored by my medical team. And yet I feel as far removed from knowing my own body as I ever have. My lungs don't breathe right, my heart rate doesn't behave, I have shooting, fiery flairs coursing up through my neck and if I don't jump on my 30 minute window between the onset of increasing cardiac pressure and "wow would someone please remove the iron poker from my chest" with a vicadin I'm reduced to clenching my chest in a corner, tears streaming down my face. Yea, it hurts that bad. For you moms out there, it's the labor pains that incapacitated you, just prior to your transition labor. But this pain is freakin in my chest, next to my heart, and it produces nothing but pain. No awesomely cute bundle of joy at the end of this ride.
In the past 2 hours I've had three people tell me their mom died at about my age from pulmonary embolism that lead to a brain aneurysm. Maybe God is trying to tell me something. In the wise words of my neighbor "I guess stuff like that happens to show you how precious life really is.". So, the labor doesn't produce a tangible bundle of joy, but joy none the less, and this joy has the added benefit of a full nights sleep.
But I don't know my body. And that is a weird sensation indeed. As an athlete and a trainer I'm accustomed to knowing every muscle bundle, how it contracts, how it reacts, what pain can be pushed through and what pain requires easing back. I know nutrition, heart rates, VO2 max and the impact of various foods and alcoholic beverages on athletic performance. But it's all turned on it's head at the moment. For me to have the thinnest, healthiest blood I need to sit on the couch swilling beer, tequila's better. Being active and eating green things (god forbid "do not touch broccoli!") drops my INR and gets me back to clotting range. Fortunately there is a solution; more frequent blood draws and pop more coumadin. I know at some point the solution will be to enjoy a long run then cool down with a icy cold beer, weekend warrior nirvana, but for now that dream is overshadowed by "my mom died" and "you're lucky to be alive" and relief on my work friends and clients faces and my 10 year old son who is covered in hives from the stress of it all.
A shot of Patron and a couch look terribly inviting from here.
However shortsighted that might seem. In general we don't have many brushes with death and since I believe our days are rightly numbered and known by God from before we are born, it just wasn't my time. I guess in many ways I'm merely trying to get the license plate of the truck that just roared past before trying to comprehend any deep, philosophical lessons from all of this. Well, that and factoring the right proportion of broccoli to beer.