Sunday, March 25, 2012


I found myself in the dictation room in the emergency room laughing out loud on night shift the other night. Though I often enjoy witty banter with my fellow night shift workers, a spontaneous belly laugh while working on a chart is rare indeed. I was just trying to put in my billing, with the code for "fall". As in "fall down, go boom". The great wisdom of the ICD-9 gave me the list above. Clearly, I live a much too sheltered life.

Falling from grace was not on the list. Falling off your running routine was also not to be found. Other missing items: falling into despair, falling in love, falling off your piano bench when it breaks under you while playing Liszt (this one should be there, as it once happened to me and I still have a fair amount of PTSD about it).

Yesterday, I ran a tempo run with grand delusions of a fast pace for 90 minutes. My husband dropped me at the beach, and the day was glorious. But approximately 3 seconds into my run I realized it was going to be nothing but heartbreak. I dutifully suffered for 72 minutes, then called husband for a ride. It turns out post-night shift runs are not super fun. I do believe age demands sleep. Also a reasonable diet and an inordinate amount of stretching and massage. I am referring specifically to aged marathoners here.

So today, my delusions expanded (I blame this on night shift number two with its added sleep deprivation and pretty much nonstop torture and the bag of pretzels at 2am) (I detest pretzels and have no idea why I ate them at 2am except I was so tired and it as the only thing I could find in the 20 seconds I had to think about eating something). I took a quick nap, then hit the road for a 16-18 mile run. No problem. Until mile 4 when I realized I was desperately exhausted, underfueled and possibly hallucinating. My beloved husband to the rescue, once again.

I keep thinking of not doing the marathon in May. But it feels like just another letting go of something that matters to me in the name of work. And here let me insert the following:
1. I am VERY grateful to have a job, and even better one I like that challenges me and lets me take care of people in need and pays well enough to support my family of 5.
2. Whether or not to run the marathon is a dilemma of luxury.

Still, it is the principle of the thing. Life is short (unless it isn't, and in which case all of this angst will have been for nothing)! Who knows when you will be signing up for a heart transplant or a course of chemotherapy or being scraped out of your vehicle by the "jaws of life". Who knows when you will fall out of an airplane and injure the occupant of a spacecraft!?

For today, I contented myself with chocolate chip cookies and the New York Times Crossword puzzle. I also helped my high schooler with biology homework, my tween with a letter to her Grandma and gratefully accepted a hug from my too cool for school 14 year old son. My husband rescued me from my failed long run then made me feel like a princess all day long. I touched my piano keys and congratulated my favorite Jayhawks. Not that I do not love the Badgers, but the truth is I am surrounded by Jayhawks. And I am not even sure what a Jayhawk is.

How great to fall and know you will be caught.

I still plan to whip that marathon. Probably. Most likely. 
Not after a night shift though. If the ICD-9 could diagnose me, it might say:
"Fall from night shift, causing delusions, hallucinations and glycogen depletion, injuring ego and leading to over indulgence of chocolate chip cookies."

1 comment:

  1. Hey you! It is such a joy to read your blog. I get to laugh and marvel with you and about your nimble mind and body. And I often feel motherly. So don't eat pretzels, don't fall and just keep being you. You are truly alive!!!