How did I get here?

I’m a curious individual, a researcher. I like to read up on topics, especially those related to running form, running health and injuries such as my dreaded plantar fasciitis. I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles and consider myself quite knowledgeable about running injuries.

But lying in the ICU on a hospital bed with beeps ringing in my ears, I struggled to comprehend how this could’ve happened to me!

A pulmonary embolism (PE). Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my right leg. What? I don’t understand?

I drifted between moments where I couldn’t breathe and worried that if I passed out, I would never wake up. A ton of bricks weighed down on my aching chest and injections pierced my stomach. Heat and spiders crawled over my face causing me more irritation as my body rejected the painkillers. Just what I needed, a rash that was hard to scratch between all the ECG patchwork of stickers over my body. I eventually went numb when a stranger washed my body and I needed to ask the nurse for a bedpan whenever I needed the toilet.

DVT is quite common with leg injuries.

The specialist rattled through explanations of how my sprained ankle injury was to blame but that besides pain, I didn’t display any typical tell-tale signs. He prescribed blood thinners and a few days later I was discharged and able to rest in my own bed. Bliss.

The Googling has started and I’ve been doing so much reading up on DVT and PE. A life-threatening condition that is so unknown (well to me it was).

But I’m wiser. And I want the message to get out there. A simple D-Dimer blood test could’ve picked up any DVT in the early stages and avoided the PE.

I’ll definitely be more vigilant & responsible going forward. As runners, we often trip and fall, we accidentally roll our ankles, we self (mis) diagnose calf sprains and tears. Being aware of all complications and treatment is important. There are blind spots and sometimes we don’t know what to look for out of pure ignorance.

It’s back to physio tomorrow to continue treating my ankle. The next 6 months will be different to how I had envisaged them. Giving up my Dis-Chem entry. No more Two Oceans half marathon. I guess more gentle walks. Perhaps even some yoga.

But definitely a re-focus on what’s really important in my life. My health is top of that list right now. Body, let’s do this!

Wiehl’s on wheels

I felt trapped. Nursing my sprained ankle meant I had been balancing my body on crutches for three weeks while holding up a heavy moon boot. My knee and calf muscle were crying. My hands ached. I needed to get out of the house and feel like myself again. So I sent an urgent WhatsApp to my sister, “Please take me shopping!”

I was caught off guard when she arrived to fetch me with a wheelchair on the backseat of the car. “I’m not disabled,” was my defense but she bundled me up and off we drove.

By the time we arrived at the mall, I had stopped fighting and climbed in the wheelchair. What a relief to have my foot up and my hands free!

I could finally whizz around Woolies and pick out my own veggies and fruit again. I could feel the fabrics of the new fashion displayed in the stores. And it felt so good to just slow down and be outdoors.

The wheelchair humbles you. I was worried people would stare (which they did). But it showed me a different view of the world.

I observed:

– that some shops are easier to maneuver around than others. You need quite a wide path for the wheelchair to drive through. Shops such as Typo & Cardies do not cater all that well for wheelchairs.

– trying on a pair of shoes was difficult. The bench in Poetry is positioned conveniently (for able-bodied people) right smack in front of the shoe rack on a lovely fawn and pink carpet. It was a struggle to get close sitting in the wheelchair.

– when paying for goods, I could not see the POS / credit card machine screen when I was promoted to input my pin. It’s a tad too high.

– people apologize to you all the time. As you pass them or come around the corner, they see you, they jump out the way and say sorry.

– the beautician in Dis-Chem was the most comfortable dealing with me and even gave me mini manicure.

– when we stopped for lunch, the waitress remove the able bodied chair and wheeled my wheelchair in. It’s cumbersome sitting in the wheelchair. The foot rests are in the way under the table. The arm rests stop you from pulling the wheelchair closer to the table. And the legs of the table are in the way of this huge wheelchair seat.

For me personally, I didn’t mind hoping out of the wheelchair into the restaurant chair & asking the staff to move the wheelchair away. I know this isn’t an option for everyone.

It was great to get out! But more than a shopping trip, what I observed and how I felt in that wheelchair gave me a lot of food for thought.

Is wearing a moon boot for x6 weeks really the end of the world? Being impatient not being able to drive and my irritation depending on others almost seemed ridiculous knowing that it’s temporary.

Most of all, spending time in the wheelchair reminded me of just how incredibly blessed I am to have the use of both of my legs, to walk, to jog and to run!

Sick & tired of being sick

I feel pretty miserable. It’s the weekend and while everyone else is out running, cycling, visiting friends and family, I’ve been locked up at home, desperately trying to treat a cough and congested nose.

It’s my own fault it got to this point. I could feel myself getting sick two weeks ago but still carried on at work as if nothing was wrong. I still stuck to my running program knowing I had some big races coming up. But the body doesn’t negotiate and finally brings you down.

The sore throat became a runny nose which turned into bronchitis. The body aches reminding me that I was unable to do the simplest task, never mind consider a jog. I landed up sitting on the bedroom floor on a Friday night with a nebulizer stuck to my face, exhausted.

I’ve learnt a couple of hard lessons during it all.

  • Work carries on with or without you. I should’ve stayed home and recovered properly. Some of my colleagues didn’t even realize that I wasn’t there.
  • I need to be aware of how much I’m saying yes to. I can’t do it all and eventually I did burn out.
  • Running must stop. This is the hardest lesson. I had already entered a couple of races which I couldn’t run. I was so disappointed. And when I do start up again, it’s going to feel like starting at square one.

I’m desperate to get better though. I’m sick of being sick. It’s frustrating and I’ve had enough. But I forced myself to rest.

And no, not work from home rest. Proper rest. Cups of tea, blanket, in front of telly, coloring in books kinda rest where I could slip in and out of naps as and when I liked.

It’s helped. I’m starting to feel like myself again.

My Mom’s honey cough mixture recipe (aka boere rad)

I posted a pic on Instagram on the weekend showcasing all the medication that KK was taking. It’s a combo of his usual pre-Comrades panic mixed with a really runny nose. His fear is that it grows into a full blown chest infection. Eeek! Then on Sunday, I started to come down with an incredibly rusty throat & dry cough. Such bad timing. We both decided to bail on the RAC 10km race & suffered huge FOMO trawling through our Strava feeds. 

A couple of comments to the pic mentioned (over)dosing up on honey, especially some really passionate & convincing advise from @LaceyMcCarthy that honey was the only cure. 

Somewhere out of my memory bank I remembered that when I was younger, my mom gave us spoonfuls of a hectic concoction made with honey & a whole lot of other stuff. It was vile but it worked! 

Recipe in hand and chatting to my mom, I mixed up a bottle tonight. That smell brought back so many memories! It’s going to take a bit of convincing for KK to try it, but there was no hesitation from me! Honey cough mixtureI’ve got a strong feeling it’s going to work. It’s either because it’s so strong & deadly or possibly because it filled me with such happiness & pride that my mom’s honey mixture has been passed down to me. 

In case you’d like to try it, here’s the recipe: 
Lennons hoesmiddel

750gm honey 🍯 

1 bottle Lennons Turlington

1 bottle Borsdruppels

1 bottle Paregoric

1/2 bottle peppermint druppels

(Heat honey slightly if needed and add ingredients).

Let me know if this helped you! (And if perhaps my Mom should start her own business!