Sunday, February 28, 2010


I broke my foot in November running the Seattle Half Marathon. I tripped off a curb and felt something icky but kept running...8 more miles...I have been a "big" runner my whole running career and am used to having aches and pains and pushing through them one way or another. I didn't think anything serious was wrong. WRONG! Three days later I was unable to walk at all. I couldn't stand without feeling dizzy, breaking into a sweat and feeling 8/10 pain (10/10 was my IUD). I went to student health and they told me they didn't think it was broken and that I should "stretch it out. GO for a run" I was pretty sure she was full of crap so I came to my hospital and had an x-ray B-R-O-K-E-N! I spent 8 weeks in boot, crutch, post-op shoe hell and the whole time I was swimming and doing water aerobics, eventually I went to the eliptical machine. I was SO good! I did everything the doc told me to and not a thing more. I started working out a little harder with more weight bearing activity about 4 weeks ago, got totally swamped in school and then got SICK. Four days ago I started running again. We went to the woods and ran on the trail. It was Rad! The next day I went running in the city from the hospital after work. My foot hurt. It felt bruised and achy and it only got worse the farther I ran. By the time I got home I didn't want to be standing on it anymore. Ice offered little help and Ibuprofen didn't seem to be cutting the mustard either. I have worked the last two nights and my foot is on fire! I feel like someone ran it over with a truck. I am calling the MD tomorrow morning. I am freaking out inside. What if I broke it again? What if I have a stress fracture?! What if I have to be on crutches again?! WHAT THE FUCK AM I GONNA DO?! I AM GOING TO LOSE MY FRIGGEN MIND!!!
I called my mom hoping she would be able to say SOMETHING, ANYTHING to make me feel better about my pain and my frustration. Nope. Even translating mom speak and her being as understanding and maternal as possible I don't feel better. She gave me a lecture about over doing it and told me to back off and take it easy...blah.. blah...blah. I didn't want to hear that. Anyway, I have decided to call the doctor in the morning. I just want it to be over. I want to go in and have him tell me there is no break, that it is just tissue "pisseed off-ness", maybe hook a girl up with some orthotics and tell me that running is the best medicine. The weather is getting nice, I am getting spring fever and I am NOT going to be a happy girl if I get the no-go on the running. I will keep posted after the phone conversation tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I Am A Runner...Now and Forever

I ran my first Marathon ten years ago. I was seventeen and stubborn as a mule. My brother was 21 and that previous fall I stood by the side of a Detroit road and watched him run the Detroit Marathon. I had sort of chuckled as I watched the thousands of runners and their various paces and body types run by. "I could do a marathon. Doesn't look that hard". My parents sort of craned their heads and looked at me as if I had just seen Flo-jo run by and had challenged her to a race. "Ok, suuure" they said. I was not a runner. I had only ever run because I HAD to for gym class. Oh, yes, and my failed attempt to make friends in my new town in sixth grade by joining the cross country team. It was just the place for the chubby new girl who generally hated running. Anyway, upon returning home from the Detroit race I got on the computer and looked up training plans. I picked a race seven months away and set my sights. I ran and ran and ran. I started out slowly with short distances I would clock by driving them first in my mini-van. As I kept running and the distances got longer I began to find trails and places, some as far as 30min from home, where there were generous shoulders to the road and low traffic volume to run longer distances. My body ached and I still ran slowly. My parents got on board and began riding the bike along side me for my long weekend runs. Ten miles, fifteen miles, eighteen, twenty, twenty-three. My dad would tell me stories about the crazy things he and his gang of brothers did as kids. My mom would tell me about her misbegotten youth as well. It was fun. Rain, snow, discouraging aches and pains. I ran through it all. Spring came and one of my teachers from school who also happened to be a dear family friend also decided to run. It was perfect as my parents had long standing plans to be in France during my race. This was not problematic for me because "you already know what I look like running. And I promise I am going to finish so don't worry. You're not missing anything" was my attitude. Branson was running and so I could go to Traverse City with them and they would bring me home. The day came and the morning was beautiful. The course takes you along Grand Traverse Bay, down this beautiful peninsula. Every inch of the course was beautiful. The race started early and it was cool in the morning but it warmed up through the day and was down right hot by late morning. I was off and running. The dog had eaten just one of my running shoes so I had to order a new pair only 3 weeks before the race and was suffering the consequences of poorly broken in foot wear in the form of bleeding blisters in my arches from about mile eleven on. I kept running though. My brother had been in Costa Rica with a friend and was due back that day but I was very surprised to come over a rise in the course and see him standing out of the sun roof of his champagne colored Honda with sunglasses on and a Gatorade waiting for me. He was in flip flops and chinos but he ran along with me for about a mile. I was about eight miles out and it was clear that I was going to be the very last runner to finish. At this point a van pulls up along side me and a woman informs me that if I would like to get in the van she will take me to the finish line. WHAT?! QUIT?! Are you out of your fucking mind?! I have already run thousands of miles in training and nineteen of them today. I am not getting in that van. "No thanks." I said, "I'm good. I'm gonna keep running." And I did. I kept going. I think I was averaging about 15min/miles at this point. My feet were bleeding and I was sure I was dying inside. My teacher who had finished over an hour ago sent his wife out to find me on the course and Sara ran with me for a while. She was NOT a runner (yet) though now she runs marathons on a very regular basis. She was running next to me and the van lady circled around again. I politely ignored her this time. She informed me that I was going to go over the course time limit of four hours and aid stations were going to be closing up. I kept running. I got to the next aid station and found that all the people there were calling my number and ringing cow bells and cheering for me. At the next aid station someone yelled "Go Anna Hope" and it seems the crowd from the last station had joined this one and they had just two cups poured for me. There were two more stations and at each one the crowd was bigger and more excited. The van lady came by at one point and my brother told her "she's not getting in the van. Stop asking". I finished the race in 5hrs 31min. I averaged ten min/miles for the first eighteen miles and around fifteen min/miles for the rest of it. I finished though. Fifteen minutes after the last runner ahead of me. The most memorable part of the day was not crossing the finish line. It wasn't calling my folks and telling them I made it. The most memorable moment of the whole day and the whole marathon training experience came when Sarah and I were running along the lake, the hot sun on my drained body, Sarah turned to me and said "congratulations, you're a runner. You may never take another step for the rest of your life and you are still a runner." I will never forget that. I remember it all the time when things get tough. I remember that I DID that. Nobody can ever take that away. I am a runner. Broken feet, depression, changes in my body, or my schedule...none of it can take away that simple fact that I am a runner.
Yesterday the hubbs and I went to the woods of Forest Park for a run. I wasn't sure how far or how hard I was going to be able to go between the recent bronchitis and the formerly broken foot. I just wasn't sure. It didn't matter though. Once I got to the forest and let the dog off her leash it was all good. I struggled to get warmed up hacking and wheezing a little for the first fifteen minutes. On the way back I felt so good that I decided to push it a little and lengthened out my stride and picked it up a bit. It felt amazing. The hubbs commented that I had turned up the gas and he was happy to match my new pace. We ran faster than I have run in a very long time for the last mile all the way down the sloping back and forth of the forest. It felt like flying. My stress of the week and the coming weekend melted away. I was running. I hadn't run outside other than once since my injury in November. I was pleased to find everything working just the way it should. A 55min run was no sweat. I am a runner. Today, tomorrow, when I am a hundred years old. I am a runner.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I think I'll just cry about it.

I just got home from my 8 hr clinical shift where I was starting IVs and pushing medications and really getting into it. I have been having the best time ever in the Emeregency Department. I love my co-workers and their helpfulness in teaching me how to do things and how to do them better, I love talking to and helping patients. I love it all. I love starting IVs and I was SURE that was going to be the thing I hated. No, wrong! I hate the school part. I am so unhappy right now. I have never felt so unprepared ALL the freakin time. I feel like last term was hard and this one is Fucking Impossible. Pardon the french but holy shit! They have it piled so high and so deep I feel at times like there is no way to get it all done and they are just testing us to see if we can pick what is important and sacrifice the right stuff. I hate feeling this way. It reminds me of my undergrad when I was always behind for lack of effort until I realized it mattered and then it was too late....this time it just feels like it is too late all the damn time. I am wide awake with excitement from my shift (no, I drank no coffee) and I have a test in about 6 hours. I should have studied my butt off but I was at clinicals and I had three major papers to write this week. There aren't enough hours in the day and I wonder if any of these instructors have a clue what the others are ALSO asking of us?! F!!!!!!! Anyway, I am feeling well at least. I am ready to run again. I need to be working out again. I am aiming to hit up water aerobics tomorrow night but we shall see what time lab gets out. I can't wait for this term to be over but I also wish we had more time for all of this. I just feel like I am chest deep in the ocean and the waves keep coming closer and closer together. It is getting pretty grim in here!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Things That Give Me Wings

I have been sick for the last week. Sick like I have not been in a VERY long time if EVER. I can't remember ever, in my adult life, being so sick that I stayed in bed for an entire week and didn't get cabin fever. That was me last week. I had a bit of the slows on Thursday when the Hubbs was feeling under the weather and we went hiking in the muddy wonderful oregonian february spring. By the end of our night at the soaking pool I was feeling wiped out. I didn't even want to 'do it' and it had been about a week since Hubbs and I had been in the same bed at the same time. The next day I woke up feeling pretty puny and I puttered around before work coughing and feeling scratchy and icky throated. By about half-way through my shift I was wheezing, coughing and sweating. I took a gram of Tylenol and 800mg of Motrin and 3hrs later I had a fever of 101.3. That was enough for my charge nurse (mother of 5). She sent me home and I went quite easily. I was hacking my ass off. I would get really winded and breath fast and hack some more. The next night the Hubbs had to go to work and I was wilty on the sofa watching the olympics (perfect sick day viewing BTW!) I was breathing pretty fast just resting and around midnight I spoke to G and he called a friend of ours who was working in the county and just happened to be in the neighborhood, to come over (in her AMBULANCE)and check me out. I was breathing fast at about 30-40 times a min and my oxygen saturation and CO2 levels were normal. She gave me a nebulizer treatment and then got called out to a "real call". The Hubbs called and told me that he thought if I made it through the night and still felt shitty in the morning that he would take me to the quick care. I knew it was viral. I never once thought it WASN'T viral. I was scared though. I have never had asthma or anything else that would compromise my ability to breathe. I felt a little panicked that I couldn't get enough air all the time for about 4 days. It was worse if I had a coughing fit. There was so much pain with just breathing and it became SO much worse with coughing which I was doing almost constantly. I was MISERABLE. I was living in my shower sucking hot steam and eucaliptys. Sunday we went into the hospital. I was working pretty hard to breathe just walking from the car to the door but I begged the triage nurse to let me go to the "fast track" because I didn't want a full work up for chest pain and I knew that if I went to the main ED some over eager resident would order every test in the whole world and I would end up with an ECG and there was NO FRIGGIN WAY IN HELL that the tech on that day was going to see my boobs! Yep! That's how I felt. Silly or not. I knew I just needed a little chest x-ray to make sure it wasn't pneumonia and some NAR-CO-TICS! I needed to be sedated so I could finally sleep! I got just that. She didn't even offer me antibiotics and that was a good thing because I didn't need them. I needed sleep. Sleep. Sleeeeeep. A little phenergan and codiene later and 4 more days in bed and I am a 70% new woman. I am still coughing and still a little winded with exertion but I feel a lot better. We even did it...twice. Yeah, this may be TMI but G has been such an amaizing sport and has taken SUCH sweet care of me (including calling my mother to tell her about my trip to the doctor and delivering milkshakes and cup-o-noodle to me) he deserved to be jumped. I took my decongestant, took my advil, steamed as much crud as I could out of my lungs before he got home and jumped him. He was so happy both for the booty and for the sign that I was feeling better. I love my husband.

So, needless to say my exercise regiment has been a little non-existant. I did lose 7 pounds in fever and coughing. Next week I will start up with water aerobics and running and see how the lungs do. I am excited to be back in action after what was the longest week in my adult life in bed. I am totally behind in school but hour by hour I catch up and the work I am doing is getting me A's so its gonna be ok. The title image for this week came from the fact that as I sit here at work it was time for my redbull inorder to amp up enough to get through the project I am working on as well as the next 4 hours until morning. As I stared thinking about how I manage to make it from day to day the one constant is G. He makes my life possible right now. Paying bills, cleaning up after me, listening to my crap, bringing me food when I am sick, making me dinner while I study, snuggling me to sleep on the rare night that we are home together for bed and being eternally patient with my bad behavior, my short temper, my distracted mind. He loves me. It makes everything "do-able". He gives me wings. He is my melted cheese all the time. Tonight, as he is sleeping in a snow shelter up on Mt Hood, with the Search and Rescue kids doing snow training I am proud of him and proud to be his wife. He makes me want to try harder, be stronger, do more for other people. He is my inspiration.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sometimes Overreacting Happens...

This is an update on the whole brother thing. After a heartbreaking conversation with my mother last night which ended with me making her cry (accidentally), I contacted our "Guy". The one The Hubbs and I had been seeing for help with our premarital counseling. He is fantastic and works almost exclusively with first responders (Fire, EMS, Police). It may sound stupid to those who have normal lives and jobs where they go do work things and come home, eat dinner and go to sleep but some days are harder than others when either you or your partner go to work code someone, take care of an abuse victim, bag a dead body, or deal with jerk face drug seekers all night and then come home just as the sun is coming up to try to get some sleep. It is a wacked out life. It is a good life for me (us) right now but it is not something that everyone understands and talking to a therapist who worked as a fire medic and now works exclusively with this population means I don't have to explain any of that to him. Anyway, I am going to see him because 1. Mom asked me to and 2. I think she is likely right. I get very hurt very quickly and seem to always be looking for a reason to hate him. I need to work on that. I need to stop reacting in the same patterns I used as a little kid. It's not working for me anymore. It seems to be causing me way more pain than it is worth. I want to figure out how to be more balanced and relaxed and I know sitting is part of that but I also feel like a little work with a pro might go a long way to helping me enjoy whatever relationship I end up having with my brother. So, I go to see my "guy" on Thursday. I am anxious.

In very related news of COURSE my brother wrote to me today saying "sorry for the long delay in responding, I have been traveling. Congrats!...." It was a sweet email and it put the final nail in the coffin that I DO need to get some help with my anger and paranoia (?) regarding him and his behavior towards the family and towards me. So I go....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Take a Second and Think About This....

Today is my first rotation of Emergency Department Clinicals. I am excited and happy to find myself "at home" for this next 5 weeks. I know the nurses I work with will take good care of me and will challenge me and stick me into things that I might not get to try at other places. This is a good thing. I have been reflecting on the importance of my clinical rotations lately. I was talking to a Medic buddy of mine who pointed out that when you go to the hospital under "normal" conditions ie: you are breathing and talking and there for something routine, you can request a different provider if something turns you off about the one you are seeing. You can say "no students" or "I want the guy who has been doing cholecystectomys the longest". You can make demands and advocate for yourself that way. When you call 911 or, God forbid, when someone calls 911 for you because you are not breathing, not acting right or you were in a horrible car accident, you don't get a choice. You get me. You get me and my 8 intubations putting a tube in the airway of you or your husband, your mother, your nine-month old. You get me and all the education I did or did not receive. So, if you are normal and healthy, if you are at the hospital for something routine, think about asking for a student. Ask if there is anyone who could learn something from helping take care of you or, at the very least say "Yes" if a student asks if they can observe or "try". You may, worst case scenario, end up with a split lip, a hematoma on your arm or an ugly splint, but next time they will know more and they will do better. And God forbid you ever have to call for help, they will be that much better practiced when they get to you or your loved one.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Things Were Simpler Back Then Right?

I have long struggled with my relationship with my older brother. I can't explain why. I don't actually know what our deal is. I have my theories of course, but I am not aiming to write a blog post filled with negativity towards my brother and unfortunately, that is all I feel right now. Long story short I got married, he lives in London. I wanted to tell him over skype but the time change proved too much for me. I wrote an email...a week silence. My family is not known for their communication skills. I am not sure why, but we seem to be communication retarded sometimes. At the important times...someone is ill or depressed or has a sky high PSA and we just keep it to ourselves. Anyway, I am being told that I have "storybook" expectations of my brother. I disagree. I think in the digital age when people don't even take a leak without checking their email (and my brother is one of those guys), a week is too long to not respond in some fashion to news that a family member got married. Call me crazy!

So, beyond the struggle with him specifically, I find the hubbs and I at the point in the story when we are forced to decide who is invited to the ceremony in September. There are a few cousins and such who we have known since day one but we still just don't intend to include in the "inner circle" ceremony on Friday. It's not a measure of how much we love them its just that we can't invite EVERYONE and we have plans to party and celebrate with everyone who wants to come on Saturday and Sunday. It IS in some part, OUR day. So, the issue is that there are several very good friends who we have become close with over the past year who we would love to have participate in Friday. However, we feel obligated to give family first invitations. Why is this? If we have family members who we "SHOULD" invite who we are not as close to as our friends or one step further, if we have family we don't want to see do we have to "stay open" and invite them? Why does our wedding day have to be the charnal grounds for growth and being the bigger person? Why do we HAVE to feel obligated to invite people we don't wish to "deal with" on that particular day? It's such a loaded situation. Its not that we don't want to see the cousins or family or friends, its just that there are people who are easy to be around and there are people who are not. Why does a wedding mean that you have to invite people just because you share DNA? What is it about being "family" that means you let jerks off the hook, overlook bad behavior, or compromise what YOU want to keep the imaginary peace? It seems so opposite!

Anyway, I think this is a super hot topic. People have lots of different opinions about who you have to extend an invite to and why. I would love to hear those opinions. Not specific to my particular situation. I will handle that, but specific to experiences you have had or how you would anticipate handling the guest list for anythng important like a birth, funeral, wedding, anniversary, graduation...whatever. Lets talk about the feeling of obligation to share news, invite, NOT invite (I know this can be a hot one too, feeling like you have to NOT invite someone for someone elses comfort). What is this all about and how do you sort through these tough decisions? Its not as black and white as we would like.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Updates and Realizations...AKA: Random Blog Day

I had a huge test today. It sucked. It was hard and it was overwhelming and I wanted to cry and go to bed afterwards. It certainly didn't help that after trauma conference we sat around as a class and "shared" our clinical experience thus far. I have felt frustrated about my personal clinical experience but hearing my classmates talk about the exciting experiences they are having made me so sad and frustrated. I wanted so badly to be at my hospital because I felt a connection there. I wanted to believe that because I think so highly of the hospital and because I feel like a vested member of the team there they would value me and want to teach me. I never would have guessed that I would be ignored, shut out, and generally dismissed the way I have been in the last two weeks. It has been so awkward and generally humbling (not in the productive way but in the demoralizing way) that I don't ever want to go back. That's NOT because I don't like intubating because I do. I really do. I think it is interesting and exciting and would have loved to do more. I am bitter about it yes. It is only exacerbated by the fact that my program director actually wants me to buy them a 'Thank you gift' for accommodating me. I would like to buy them a "screw you" gift instead but I do understand the need to make nice for future classes should they find themselves looking at my hospital as an option for clinicals...NOT something I would recommend BTW! OK, enough about that...long story short....I am miserable right now...with school that is. It feels like last term was challenging but this term feels nearly impossible! It feels disorganized from the scheduling of assignments to the grading on up...nightmare!

Random musing number two is on the fitness front. I have been resisting the urge to put my wedding dress on every other day to see if my hard work has been paying off. In fact, I had resisted the urge since the day after Christmas...resisted that is until Monday. I broke the box out of it's deep dark plastic wrapped hiding place and slid the delicious fabric over my head. My heart was pounding as I put my arms down and reached for the sipper. Last time I tried the dress on it had been tight through the chest and back, and it had clung to some of the wrong places over my hips and belly. Monday night I zipped it up and turned to face the mirror and was shocked to see the change. I am only 9.5lbs down since starting all of this in the middle of December but there is no disputing the change in my body. My arms are beginning to take a more proper shape and the "bubble wrap" under my boobs and on my back has begun to fade. My belly is even taking on a more toned more food baby, baby! Even the Hubbs has pointed it out. I know it is hard to notice things like subtle weight loss and body shape changes when you see someone everyday but we were at the gym the other night and he got on the treadmill next to me and said "honey your butt looks smaller. You ARE losing weight!" He is not the smoothest operator out there but I could tell he meant it because it was all awkward and surprised. As nice as it is to hear that stuff from him, I am not doing it to "get" him or to make him think I am sexy...God help him, he already thinks that! I am doing all of this so that I feel sexy to me and feel healthy, so I can feel good about growing a baby in this body or raising a baby in a healthy lifestyle. I am doing this for the wedding dress too. So far I am down a pant size and making huge strides in the dress department. I'll keep you posted.

Random musing number three...Things that have changed since getting married. #1: We "fist bump" ring hand to ring hand. Vomit! I know, but the Hubbs thinks it's like "the Obamas's cool". I humor him. It makes me happy to see him all silly over our rings. It makes me happy to see him happy...more vomit, I know. Thing #2: We graduated from therapy the other day. It was never hard to go or to work on things in between meetings. I really think Tim (our guy) just helped us trust in the strength of our relationship even in the face of our struggle this fall. I think I more than Hubbs needed an outside, unbiased, uninvested voice of professional reason to help me clear away the mental clutter so I could see how good I have it. How good we both have it. He was so sweet as he told us he thought we were on the right track. "You can always call me or email me to make an appointment but I don't think we need to set anything up at this point. You two seem very happy and grounded right now. I see good things to come". It was so nice. I feel that way too but I think I am biased and I am always afraid I am deluding myself...What makes me even more nervous is that I don't even care if I am deluding myself. I am so happy with Hubbs and so happy to be married that it doesn't matter what anyone thinks. Thing #3: Is in the same vein as thing 2. I realize that sometimes I am high speed and he is not and vice versa. Today was a perfect example. After my test I was despondent. I was hungry and exhausted and pissed off. I mostly wanted to eat melted cheese and go to sleep. Hubbs was on full boogie talking about the EMS research he thinks he would like to conduct but knows politics will never allow. He was going a thousand miles an hour explaining all of this and I was for all intents and purposes Homer Simpson...all drooly and "Ghaargh". I have almost no idea what he said. It is not that I lack interest or that I routinely do not pay attention. What I am reflecting on is that this never seems to be a problem for us. We take turns being worthless and vegged out. The important thing is that even when exhausted or despondent or maxed out we go to one another. Just spending time be it sleeping, running errands or walking the dogs, is quality time together. It is what recharges us. Being together is always better than being apart. I spend plenty of time on my own, 4 nights a week in fact. I like my alone nights but I love snuggling in between a dog and my husband. Even if he or I am yammering away while the other one actively passes out. It's just better together. I know this is all a leeetle on the random side but it has been a long day. I am mostly ready to head to bed and am now just waiting for the Hubbs to get home so I don't pass out before he gets home.

Fitness day 46
Down total of 9.5lbs! Woot!
Get-ups x 7min
Water aerobics