Double Sickness

Uhl in Eagle, ID – So much for not getting sea-sick. Today I woke up and felt like I had vertigo; slightly nauseous and dizzy. I was actually surprised that I didn't get it while on the ship as I easily get motion sickness when I'm a passenger in a car and I don't look out the window. But I guess its fairly common to "land sickness" when you return to land after you've been aboard a ship for an extended period of time. But that's not the only thing that's going on, I also have a fever.

During the last few days of the cruise, our niece, then Jen, then Heather's mother all got sick sequentially. Symptoms were nausea, diarrhea and slight fever. While some people call this the "stomach flu" allow me to dispel that slang misnomer: there is no such thing! The true "Flu", or influenza, is a completely different type of virus that actually doesn't survive in the stomach. Influenza is the seasonal disease (typically winter) which causes high fever and body aches along with other symptoms like a cough and can last for days. Viral gastroenteritis, usually caused by a genus of viruses called Norovirus, is completely different and typically only causes intestinal symptoms and lasts only 24 hours. It was made popular a few years ago due to outbreaks on a select number of cruise ships. The reason why it's common on cruise ships is that this family of viruses are highly contagious. So being in close contact with other people, as on a ship, will allow it to spread rapidly.

So once Heather's family came down with it, I thought I was being extra careful about being close to them and didn't enter their cabin. But by midday today, my intestines were feeling worse and I had a slight fever. So today was a forced day off the bike and hopefully I'll be better in 24 hours.

Hail Storm

Img_7144_2Uhl in Eagle, ID – Glad I wasn't riding outside when this storm came through! This afternoon we were treated to a nasty hailstorm with marble-sized hail. Not big enough to do any damage, but it sure made a lot of noise. It was short-lived, then turned to rain.

We typically get a lot of showers in April and along with the springtime temperatures, things get really green around the Boise area. But by June, the heat and low precipitation turns the foothills brown, reminding us that, yes, we do live in a desert!Img_7139 So we appreciate the rain even when it's accompanied by hail, thunder and lightning...just as long as we're not riding in it!

Getting Better

Uhl in Eagle, ID – Since my temperature peaked on Wednesday, it has progressively come down to just barely above normal. Some other symptoms lingered through Thursday and Friday, but today they were all but gone. I felt so good that I went to a morning yoga class, then I worked on a bunch of chores around the house for most of the day. Since I was still feeling good by the evening, I went out for an easy spin. It was the first time back on the bike since last Sunday and it felt so good. I still felt a little out of it, but my legs felt decent. There were a couple times my wattage started creeping up and I had to restrain myself from pushing too hard; I wanted to make sure I kept it super-easy. The ride also helped me feel better as I think I was getting depressed from not getting my daily endorphin hit. So things are looking good but I'm still going to wait until I'm done with my course of Tamiflu before I do any hard workouts.

Getting Sick

Augustflu_1Uhl in Eagle, ID – On Tuesday night, I started feeling a little off, but I didn't think much of it. But when I woke up Wednesday morning I could feel something coming on. My morning temp was 1° above normal (my "normal" is 97.7° taken orally every morning). Then throughout the day, the fever kept increasing, similar to how it did when I got influenza back in December. By 5:00 PM it peaked to almost 4° above normal! Yup, I got the flu!

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Sinus Surgery

Heatheranddrmerritt_1Heather in Boise, ID - I have suffered with a sinus infection for the past four months. We threw antibiotics and Prednisone at it, but nothing helped. I saw several doctors for second opinions. On August 30th I had another second opinion and a CT scan. The scan showed that the sinus infection was ten times worse than it had been on other scans. The scan and all of the opinions pointing to surgery as my only means of relief convinced me to have sinus surgery. Miraculously the insurance company approved the surgery quickly, and on Thursday I had it done. Dr. Merritt, my ENT doctor at Southwest Idaho Ear Nose and Throat, performed the surgery.

I had to fast for surgery. Uhl and I went to the Southwest Idaho ENT Surgery Center at 8:55 am. We checked in and waited to be taken back to the surgery prep area. While waiting a lady took out some food in the waiting room. I thought it odd that people could eat, since all the patients would be fasting. The receptionist quickly and politely asked the woman to leave the room to eat, since those waiting for surgery can’t eat.

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Heather's Pin Removal

BoltOutHeather in Boise, ID - I had my final appointment with Dr. Lamey at the Boise Orthopedic Clinic. I went in to have the pin in my collarbone removed. This was the pin to set the collarbone after breaking it during the Houston Track World Cup Qualifier. The pin has been in four months and a bursa sac has formed where the pin exits the bone. This gave me a nice bump I can show to people to prove there is a pin inside. First I had two x-rays taken of the right clavicle. The x-ray tech was funny. She told me to inhale for the first x-ray, but she didn’t say anything for the second one. As she came to take the film she jokingly said, “Did you hold your breath?”

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1 week after Surgery

Heather in Boise, ID - It’s now a week after surgery. I am healing very well. The road rash is starting to subside, and my hands are totally functional now. I am still in a brace on my left hand, but I can use my fingers as I want to. I still have had no pain. I have had days where I have to take it easy, but other than that I feel great. I have gone for needing help to do everything (even use the bathroom) to being able to do everything for myself. My wardrobe is still a little limited because the sleeves have to fit over my removable cast, and I can’t quite get my right arm up high enough to pull something over my head. Other than that, things are great.

Dr. Lamey thinks I will be able to travel and race in the final track World Cup Qualifier April 29-May 1. I will only do the pursuit, because I can’t risk another crash just yet. I should be able to do mass start events in mid-May.

I have learned that everything happens for a reason. This is a setback, but some ultimate good must come out of it. So I won’t have any fun race reports for a while. I am doing well. I am very excited to have this time to spend at home with Uhl.

Dr. Visit & Surgery

Heather in Boise, ID - I saw Dr Lamey, a hand specialist in Boise, on Tuesday, March 30. He said that I needed to have surgery on my left hand to fix the broken bone and keep it in the joint. He also decided to pin my clavicle, so it would heal quickly. He was amazed that I wasn’t in any pain.

Heather-post-surgeryI went in for surgery on Thursday, April 1 (yes, April Fool's!). Because I had to have both arms operated on, they had to put the IV in my left foot. The nurse was ecstatic when she saw the great veins I had in my foot. She commented that most people don’t have those veins in their arms. They did a block on my right side, to help with the pain from the clavicle surgery. After they started administering drugs, I was out of it. I woke up after surgery and they asked how I was doing. I said I could feel my left hand. That was a huge mistake. They interpreted that to mean I was in pain, so they gave me a shot of morphine, which made me sick the rest of the day. They released me with my left hand in a temporary cast and my right arm in a sling. The block totally knocks out the nerves to the arm. The arm is useless; it flopped around like an uncontrollable chicken wing when I moved. It was the weirdest sensation to try and move my fingers and have nothing happen. They warned me that after the block wore off, I would be in severe pain. Later that evening, I felt better (after that morphine wore off and I stopped throwing up). Dr. Lamey called to see how I was doing. When I said I felt great and had no pain, he said that the block wasn’t totally worn off yet. He said that the surgery went very well. The next day I didn’t have pain either, and I haven’t had any pain since. I understand this is very rare. I am so fortunate not to be handicapped with pain. I felt so good, that I felt guilty for sitting around. I even managed to get on my bike for an hour in the evening.