Monday, September 27, 2010

My Three Sons

(Ernie, Robbie and little Chip)

On September 6, 2010 between the hours of 8:30-11:30p, my dog, Ellie Mae, gave birth to three boys.  We named them Robbie, Chip and Ernie, in reference to the 'sons' on the 1960's TV show, 'My Three Sons'.  Two of the 'boys' were healthy and strong.  One of them, Chip was a preemie.  We knew it was going to be a struggle to keep him alive and healthy.  But, my wife and I decided it was worth the effort and we had to take the responsibility to do so.

For the first week, it wasn't so bad.  Little Chip would get pushed around when he was nursing so we had to keep an eye on him to make sure he was getting his share.  As added nourishment, we were told tube feeding him as a supplement would be good.  We were nervous about doing this as putting the tube in wrong could go down his lungs instead of his belly.  But, after awhile, we got comfortable with what we were doing.

The second week, something changed.  Chip was no longer nursing and was strictly relying on the tube feeding for his meals.  No matter how hard we tried, he wouldn't take his mother's milk.  We had to tube feed him every 4 hours day and night to keep him alive. 

It was hard.  Boy, was it hard.  My wife would set the alarm in the middle of the night and we would both feed him.  One of us would stay with the puppies to make sure they were ok at night.  Little Chip, whose legs and arms weren't fully developed yet, struggled to keep warm and would cry at night as to find his brothers to lay next to them.  We then had to pick him up and have him snuggle to one of his siblings, which would quiet him down.  Until they moved, and we would have to do it again. 

As time went on and I grew more tired by the day, I realized that my past marathon training really was helping me get through this time.  I knew I couldn't give up.  That, this would end at some point and, if I kept going, the reward would be at the end of the adventure.  So, through the tiredness, we pushed on because we felt little Chip was worth it and would make a good pet someday.  As the days went on, he was gaining weight, grams at a time, but still the weight was going up, not down. 

I wish I could tell you this story had a happy ending.  Little Chip died on Sunday, September 26 in the morning. Nature, indeed,  loves her little surprises.  Even though Chip lived for three weeks, he left a mark in our lives, one that we will not soon forget.  In looking back, I can only say we wouldn't have done it any other way except change the outcome. 

So, those who are thinking about doing a marathon or are training for a marathon, know that what you are doing is not just preparing for a race but preparing for things in life that will test your patience, your endurance, your soul.  And, at the end, no matter what the outcome, you will be a better person for it. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fat Elvis

Still the mucous monster holds me captive as I enter the third week on what seems to be an endless sickness that I can not shake.  I had to go back to the doctor once again to get another round of anti-biotics and to be scolded (in a nice way) that I shouldn't have stopped my inhaler just because I misplaced it.  The good news is I am breathing once again, albeit, with some periods of utter clogginess that has to be cleared.  I am being faithful to the doctor's orders this time and am taking my meds as prescribed.  Again, I say, I am SO glad I am not running Sunday's the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon (nee' Philadelphia Distance Run) as I would be pulling my hair out now worrying about whether or not I should run it afterall.  Luckily, I can sleep in and take care of my health.  (To those who are running, the very best of luck.  It seems they have changed the course this year and the last 4 miles will be on MLK Drive, not Kelly Drive).

But, the lack of races doesn't bother me one bit, though, in truth, I thought they should.  So, why isn't it bothering me?  There is a special edition of Rolling Stone out that names the Top 100 Beatles Song.  I saw Paul McCartney this past summer and he talked about some of the meanings to the songs he wrote as a Beatle.  This peaked my interested as to the origins and inspirations of other songs, so I purchased a copy of the magazine. 

I had the magazine for awhile but, late one night while not being able to sleep, I picked it up and started reading about each song.  There was a picture in it of 'the boys' that John Lennon talked about later in his life as he mentioned he didn't particularly like.  He remembered there was so much going on in his life at the time when the picture was taken, that he wasn't taking care of himself at all and, frankly, didn't care how he looked.  He admits this being the 'fat Elvis' period of his life. 

And, so it is with me.  Not that I've gotten fat.  Maybe a little.  But, since the beginning of the year, I couldn't drive my life with an exercise regime or race schedule.  There were too many other things pulling at me that I didn't want to be responsible for yet something else.  I wanted to let go and have a 'fat Elvis' running period of my life.  If I ran, I ran.  If I raced, I'd race.  But, I didn't want to look at calendars or charts or calories.  

I will one day.  I promise.  I see my friends improving their running while I muddle about.  I'm envious.  That's good.  I think about what location I can go to in order to run a fall half marathon, or, dare I say, a marathon?  So, there is hope.  I just need to be 'fat Elvis' a little longer.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Yearly Tradition Continues

Though I love this time of year when the weather gets cooler, there is one downside.  Every year, I seem to get sick just before August ends.  This year was no exception.  I'm not sure if it's the change in temperature (though, in truth, was very little change in temperature over the past week as it's been freakin' hot all summer long) or what happens to be flowering this time of year (ragweed, maybe?).

It irrititates me to no end when I'm training for something like the Philadelphia Distance Run (now known as the Rock n Roll Half) and get sick.  Panic mode sets in as when to go out again without coughing up a lung.  Luckily, I have nothing like that on the horizon so I'm just sitting on the sidelines until breathing becomes more of a normal activity rather something optional.  By the way, the diagnosis was bronchitis and very strange how it all happened.

Wednesday of last week, I woke up with a minor sore throat.  'Uh-oh', I thought, 'here it comes.'  It starts out as a cold or persistent allergy symptons.  But, I'm a mere speed bump for colds as it quickly develops into a sinus infection before long.  And, so, it was no surprise when I started coughing on Thursday but well enough to carry out the day at work.  By Friday, well, you have to make a choice here.  Do you tough out over the weekend or go to the doctor and nip in the bud right away?  I'm not one of those people that hem and haw about visiting doctors.  Nope.  Fix me up and get me back out there again as fast as you can.  So, off to the doctor I went.

He listened to my chest, looked at my ears, nose, throat and said, 'well, it's not pneumonia.'  I started at him blankly as I didn't even know that was an option we were discussing.  "OK,' I said, what is?' expecting to hear sinus infection.  'You are borderline bronchitis,' he stated.  What?  How does one become borderline bronchitis having feeling sick for just over a day?  But, there it was and here I am now.

I feel better now.  Sort of.  I can function on most things.  Though eating ice cream is a bit of trick.  (Let's just say it was a kin to having diarehha of the nostrils.)  A couple of more days and I'll be out again soon enough.