Saturday, November 12, 2011

Back at the Apartments

My neutrophil count was just 430 today, which was disappointing. It was 400 yesterday, but at least it's increasing.

The resident (or intern, I never know what to call those doctors) came in early this morning to tell me they'd probably let me go home. So we packed our bags, asked for a cart, and then loaded the cart with our bags.

When the main doctor, Dr. Reddy, came in later, she looked at the bags, looked at us, looked back at the bags, and she started laughing.

My wife said, "Not to send any subliminal messages or anything."

Despite, or maybe because of, our subliminal message, we got to go home.

Today is race day, the day of the half marathon, so our first stop was the emergency room, where they'd taken Alaina after her sister and Mala, the two people she was running with, had carried her across the finish line unconscious.

We had a great visit. Alaina was doing fine.

So let me ask you: Alaina's a girl, petite, and she collapsed unconscious at the end of a half marathon. What happened?

I didn't even have to ask. She drank only water, no sports drink, on the run.

If you know any runners or any sort of endurance athletes, do them a favor. Tell them, NEVER DRINK JUST WATER ON A LONG ENDURANCE EVENT, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE SMALL!

If you don't drink enough water, you can become dehydrated. Your performance will suffer, and you may get sick. IF YOU DON'T GET ENOUGH ELECTROLYTES, YOU COULD PASS OUT AND DIE!

It's amazing that's not required knowledge at half marathons and longer. When Alaina collapsed, someone tried to give her water. They were just making her situation worse. Thank God an emergency team was right there, snatched her up, and immediately started pumping salt water into her veins.

I don't know how I missed never telling Alaina about hyponatremia. It means "low salt," and it kills about one small, blond, female runner a year in the United States. Curable with a salt tablet or a good dose of gatorade during the race.

What happens is that as you sweat, you lose salt, an essential ingredient in most of the cell processes. It makes your cell fluids able to conduct electricity, which is real important in the brain.

If you only drink water, then you replace your cell fluids with pure water, diluting the salt concentration even more than you did by sweating. The more you drink, the worse it gets.

Like I said, dehydration can make you sick, and it will definitely degrade your performance if it gets bad. HYPONATREMIA CAN KILL YOU.

Please, pass it on. I pass it on to every runner I meet, and I still somehow didn't get it across to Alaina, my secretary that I see—well, did see—at least twice per week.

You can get salt from drinks like gatorade, or even by eating chips during the race. Many companies make gels that are a lot easier on the digestion and get into the system faster just for endurance events.

Okay, enough said on that.

With that all said, Alaina did a heroic job running the race. She has been sick this week. I told her, "Above the neck, you can run through sickness; below the neck, don't run." Her cold was a head cold, so she ran, which was probably miserable, and she finished, despite NOT GETTING ANY SALT. Heroic.

So she's been treated, with simple saline solution, and sent home. (Note, the emergency room knows about this. At one point, while I was there, Alaina asked for water. They sent her Powerade and told her she wasn't allowed to have water. Good for them!)

I'm at home now, too.

One really neat thing. I got a list of all the people who had come for the race with Alaina (and Mala and Abby, her cohorts), but I wasn't released in time to see everyone at the finish line. So we saw Alaina in the emergency room, then we ran across Abby's husband and kids, as well as Kristee, an old friend, and her kids, on the way to the parking lot. Later Mala and her son, Yakyn, came by to visit at the apartment, so I saw everyone. It was a blast.

Now it's just my wife and I, settling down to a romantic meal, for which we are giving abundant thanks that it is not hospital food.

You know, I want to be nice, but to be honest, the very thought of hospital food makes me ill. The sight of those trays is enough to put me in bed. I know that the cafe manager is trying to bend over backwards for me, sending the things I request, but it's too late. Whether I wanted it to or not, the whole hospital cafe experience is etched into my subconscious, and it affects my appetite and how well I feel.

I had lunch here at the apartments. It was stuffed bell peppers, sent from Dossie back at Rose Creek Village. It was pure heaven, and I'm being honest when I say it was healing from the whole idea of the cafeteria food. We are going to have to make a new plan when we get back in the hospital, involving purchased food and only minimal input from the cafeteria.

Well, that's enough for one day. More tomorrow!


  1. is there any certain thing you should or shouldn't eat? there's a lot of meals that can be pre-made, frozen, and popped in the oven. i recently learned the art of spanikopitas from Yahshanah. those can be pre-made and frozen. i'd be glad to make you some and send them your way if you want. or anything else you'd like. just let me know. :)

  2. Allison, that is exactly what I'm thinking. I'm pretty sure we can get some things frozen ahead of time and stored a bit at a time in a fridge at the hospital. As long as everything is completely cooked and kept frozen until it's time to microwave/eat it, it should be fine. This will go a long way towards his healing as he really cannot tolerate even the thought, let alone smell and look of hospital food any more.

    Dossie - to clarify - I had a couple of those stuffed bell peppers that you made left in the freezer...

  3. Thanks for the clarification because I was just getting on to clarify that it wasn't me who sent stuffed peppers! I will make anything shammah likes, though, so send me his requests.

  4. yeah, let us know and we can send food. i would love to help with this. :)

  5. nice blog this may provide what i really wants...