the kids had been sick for a couple of days. there was this initial brutal push of about 6 hours where they vomited violently and could not keep the slightest thing down. dizzy and tired, they'd sleep and then be able to stomach light foods and drink. 24 hours later you think they are fine and begin treating them a bit more normally, only to find them vomiting again at odd intervals. this has been going on since monday.
i was under little delusion that i would escape the wrath of the bug circulating the house, though i was wearing a mask and lysoling every hard surface in the house, i was certain it would come after me anyway. and boy, did it.
wednesday night the nausea set in. by 9, i was having the runs. no, not runs (excuse me for being graphic) it was more like pee.... what was coming out of me was totally liquid. i went 4 times and then at 10:30 began vomiting. the puking was incredibly violent and unlike anything else i've experienced. in between bouts i was unable to sleep , yet so dizzy and exhausted i could no longer make to to the bathroom and spent my time vomiting into a bucket. at this point i had made my way down to the couch. at 3 the puking had stopped and i was able to rest a bit.
at 4 i heard lily's bedroom door open and moments later heard the wretching. without thinking i was off the couch and flying towards the stairs. at the bottom i screamed from jim's help. when i was halfway up, he emerged from his room to help her. at the top of the steps i realized that running up the stairs had been a bad choice indeed and i sat down. feeling nauseous i began sliding on my butt down the steps one at a time to get to the downstairs bathroom. i did 2 steps and then something happened. my vision narrowed and i began to really slide. i clearly remember reaching up to hold the railing and trying to stop myself, but feeling as though i were caught in a rip tide and being sucked underwater, unable to fight or stop myself. i hear jim say faintly "what's going on? what are you doing?" and then "stay right here". and then, blackness.
next thing i recall is the feeling of the cold bathroom tile under my back. what happened? how did i get here? grateful. grateful to be lying down, grateful for the cold floor. jim runs back upstairs to help lily clean herself up. and then for me, things suddenly go really really bad.
i am hyperventilating, my extremities are tingling. and the pain starts in my hands. i am watching them helplessly as they close up on me into a twisted gnarled mess. unable to control them, they are locking more and more tightly into what looks like the form you'd make if you were pantomiming a duck's bill. i cannot open them. nor control them in the least and it is agony. i think i am having a seizure. when is jim coming back? jim comes back, and i show him my hands. tell him i think i am having a seizure. then my feet go. into a perfect ballet point, then my calves. oh God, my calves. dual charlie horses, like i have never experienced. yet i can't flex my feet.. my feet point more. i am screaming now. i realize what is happening. i saw the young man at the mendon 50k go through the same thing. i am dehydrated... severely so. i try to tell jim. i am rolling on the floor while he talks to the 911 operator and saying "electrolytes, electrolytes" over and over. yet my tongue feels thick and i cannot control my jaw. my mouth has locked up now, along with the whole rest of my body and what comes out of my mouth sounds like "ee-lek-tho-lye". i can hear him telling the operator that i am incoherent, yelling things out that he doesn't understand. i am frustrated.. i know what i need, yet can't tell him. not that it would help right now. i need an IV and i need it right now. he is on the phone in the other room, trying to give them directions when i am able to shimmy down a few inches and pres my gnarled feet against the wall... just a tiny bit of pressure gives my calves relief. my tongue starts to loosen, though my hands are still tight points.
fire department. lots of questions, from lots of different men. part of me is embarrassed: sweating, lying half in and half out of the bathroom, jammies, messy hair, no bra on and hands stuck in this palsied state. "ma'am did you fall down the stairs?" "yes". "ma'am, did you black out?" "yes."
back board, neck brace. mercifully the firefighter wedges his hand between my fingers and pries them open for me. relief. jim stays with girls. carried out into the cold night in a t-shirt. afraid they'll drop me in the snow. afraid they'll fall and sue us. onto the gurney, into the ambulance. just give me the IV please, please just hurry and get me fluids. they don't know the way to the hospital, so i have to tell them. vital check. fireman claims that i have better resting heart rate at this moment than he does. bumpy ride. nauseous. coaching myself to not throwup.. am in neck brace and fastened to back board.. vomiting is bad at this point.
in the hospital.. is quiet. still on back board.. very uncomfortable. unable to move feet or legs because of straps and calves are in agony. need IV, where is IV?! breath is terrible... so thirsty. all i can think of is popsicles. i want a popsicle so badly. nurse says, "they may have some in pediatrics.. but i don't think you are ready for that."
unstrap me, EKG, blood draw, IV starts, allowed ice chips, anti nausea meds into IV. get to watch cable. dad shows up.. feel stupid, but what can i do. leave 6 hours later with 3 liters of fluid in me, still dehydrated. still thirsty. only peed twice yesterday. exhausted. body feels like it was dragged 50 miles behind a bus then same bus drove over top of outstretched calves. back hurts, neck hurts. jim starts throwing up last night. maya gets sick again in her crib. thank you Jesus that jim and i didn't get sick the same night.
i had no idea what severe dehydration can do to you. as an endurance athlete, this is very good info to possess indeed. if there is a time when i am racing and find myself to be vomiting and in the throws of lower GI distress, i will be well armed with this memory to aid me in any decision to drop out. this was no joke. wikipedia says "Symptoms may include headaches similar to what is experienced during a hangover, muscle cramps, a sudden episode of visual snow, decreased blood pressure (hypotension), and dizziness or fainting when standing up due to orthostatic hypotension. Untreated dehydration generally results in delirium, unconsciousness, swelling of the tongue and in extreme cases death." i experienced every one of those symptoms, save for death. so grateful that jim was well enough to wake up and hear me, and that the ambulance came quickly.
will not be eating again for a few days, will not be running for a bit either. need to get better, get stronger.. small sacrifice to make.
now for the long awaited and deserved bath, and trip to my GP to follow up. live your life, love your runs, love your family... no matter how strong we think we are we are all very very fragile indeed.