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Down But Not Out

An Acute Medical Event

Sitting here in my hospital bed, I’m reflecting on the past month and how I ended up in a hospital forty miles from home.

Rosemary and I just returned from our vacation in Scotland, there were two hard days that we spent fifteen hours in the air, one day going and one day coming but it was worth it.

We walked all over Edinburgh, ate pub grub, visited Loch Ness, went to theatres and a museum, did a motorcycle tour of the city and an awful lot more so you see we don’t stay idle.

To say we were busy is an understatement but that’s the way we vacation.

After arriving back home I still had a week off from work, so the first day back I got busy with training for two upcoming triathlons.

My first day back I biked twenty-five miles in the morning and ran five in the afternoon. The next day I ran five miles in the morning and swam a mile in the afternoon. After that I cut back on the training and just trained at one of the three sports each day.

The following week I was back at work patrolling the streets and putting in more overtime than I wanted, but still trained every day before going to work.

Our daughter Francine arrived in town to join the rest of the clan watch dear ole dad do his thing in the triathlon. (More excitement).

The first triathlon was a 6oo meter ocean swim, 15mi bike ride and 3.5m run, so on the evening before, I packed all my gear into the truck and went to bed early.

I was up at 3:30 the next morning, had my breakfast and at 4 o’clock we headed out to the event.  

After arriving I checked in and got my timing chip and body numbering and then got setup in the transition area, no problem.

It was a very windy morning and the ocean was rough, in fact it was so windy that the marker buoys were blown away. The lifeguards stayed in place to mark where we had to turn.

At 7:06 my wave went off and shortly after that I knew I had a battle to endure.

The swim was extremely tough, the bike was ok and the run was tough but I finished. Folks it was tough but I finished, I would like to have done better but sometimes just finishing something is a victory in itself.

Our son Nicky and his wife Stacey came to cheer me on, so after the awards ceremony, the five of us had lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the ocean and had a great family gathering.

The next event was almost 2 weeks later, and it was a 400meter lake swim, 10mi bike ride and 2.5mi run. (Alright that sounds a lot easier.)

I was very focused and confident going into this event because I had trained hard and had eaten properly. I knew I was ready; after all, I’d competed in this very race before and finished middle of the pack.

Rosemary and I arrived at the event site about 5:30 the morning and all went well with the race preparation and at 7AM I was ready.

At about 7:06 my wave went off with no problems. I was swimming strongly and would look up often to keep the exit flags in sight.

The last time I saw the flags I was just under nine minutes into my swim and about 20yds off shore…

But shortly after that, things went badly.

The next thing I remember I was being put on a surfboard, after that I remember being in extreme respiratory distress and being held up in a sitting position. I was too weak to hold my head up, move my arms or legs or even open my eyes.

I remember some things, but it’s all in bits and pieces, and none of it makes sense, everything was going really well and then about two hours of my life was erased.

My rescue was swift and effective because of top notch event planning and a young lifeguard that is well trained and great at his job.

I want to take time to say that I’m sitting here in my hospital bed reporting this because Multirace puts safety first and had those lifeguards in place. Wow, kudos, thank you, Multirace and your well trained lifeguards.

So what happened?

The lifeguard said I was swimming strongly and then I went under, by the time he got to me I was three feet under water.

I was transported to a nearby hospital (I have no memory of that) and about two hours later I was able to move my limbs, hold my head up and talk.

The doctor in the emergency room said that the lab reports showed metabolic acidosis, which means kidney problems. And since then my blood pressure has been abnormally high.

Five days and a multitude of tests later, they’ve determined it was all due to kidney problems, and it looks as if I’ll be on a renal diet and some new meds for a while.

You know how I feel about taking any kind of medication, but sometimes, we have to accept the cards that have been dealt to us and get on with life.

I’m not going to give the long dissertation I got explaining how the physiological chain of events took place, but I accept it and I will cautiously follow instructions and live to be in the arena again.

I can’t close without saying thank you to my family and friends for being there for me. Being at my side in this time of difficulty has definitely been the best medicine. Thank you all, each and every one of you are a role model and have great meaning in my life.

I’m told that I’ll be released from the hospital soon; I’m keeping my fingers crossed, it’s been an eye opening experience with a lot of new lessons learned.

No matter what fight you’re battle and don’t give up and never say “I’m too old” or “I can’t” because you’re not and you can.



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