Friday, September 02, 2011

August gone

I've always been a bit superstitious about the month of August. I think it began when I was in early grade school and the month seemed to rush toward the end of freedom (and beginning of school) while at the same time lingering in hot, suffocating, too often boring days. I had this birthday that was too close to the end of summer (and mad rush of vacations) for anyone to remember, and the oppressive heat seemed to make the rest of the unremarkable month creep along like a river of lava. But for however superficial my reasons were, as I child I decided that August was a bad luck month, and that sentiment has weirdly stuck through too many years when I should have already known better.

And so it's been this August. Every time another little hit came down, I'd look at the calendar and think "six more days. I can deal for six more days." My August countdown came to a head on the 31st, when I was most sick with stomach flu and could do little more than stick close by the toilet and surf WebMD. I obsessed about minor health symptoms and convinced myself I had wound infection, gangrene, maybe the plague. I had to have Beat talk me down from placing a frantic hypochondriac call to my nurse sister in Utah or general practitioner at midnight. Then the calendar clicked over to September 1, and I fell asleep.

I woke up Thursday morning feeling remarkably better than I had the day before. I even attempted another run — well, four-mile jog. I was racked with stomach cramps and couldn't take in any water. My flu definitely already broke, but my stomach was still too raw from a couple days of purging, and my energy level was low. Smart, healthy people will tell me I'm trying too hard, and they would be right. I'm not even under the delusion that I'm holding onto fitness here. I've only been running slowly for three weeks now. Fitness has already slipped away. But I so miss that feeling, the feeling of being drenched in sweat and the warm sunset hues and blissfully tired, of just being healthy and alive in the outdoors. I continue to believe that I'm close enough to go after it. I'm not going to become more injured or more sick just by trying (unless, of course, I fall again.) If I was "actually" injured or "actually" sick, it might be different, and I'd just rest and not feel so compelled to go on "mental health" outings. I don't know. In my mind, I keep blaming August. A cop-out, I know. But it helps.

As for the arm, I am planning to attempt my first bike ride in more than three weeks this afternoon. Just a simple commuter ride on the bike path. I don't believe I have gangrene anymore, although I do still wonder if the continued pain indicates that I possibly nicked a tendon. But either way, it has improved a lot, and it's time to at least start rebuilding strength just above the pain threshold. I'm not gaining anything my holding my arm limply at my side. Onward and Forward, into September.


  1. Sounds like you already know, but rest isn't a horrible idea....
    Of course I know how you feel. I broke my collarbone the Saturday before last and the inactivity is driving me insane.
    I've started hiking which is about all I can do. Riding is out of the question and running jars things too much...
    Hope you're feeling better soon and September is sure to be a better month...

  2. Since I live in NYC and am not the most physically active person in the world, I sometimes live vicariously through your blog. Unfortunately, I can now directly relate to the way you feel as I took a nasty fall in January (slipped on ice outside my apartment building) and could barely move, let alone exercise, for three months. Rest up and feel better soon!

  3. You should not run when you are not yet recovered from the flu, Jill! Duh. Your body can't heal AND fight off the flu. Healing injuries takes a huge toll on your body and lowers your resistance to other bugs. Though you may just be trying to beat August up as much as you possibly can ;)

    Commit to two weeks completely off and you might be amazed at the results!

  4. I'm always sad to see Aug go, as it somehow signifies the END of summer (and I turn another year older in Sept...these days that's not the welcome news it once was).

    Glad to hear you are getting back on the bike in whatever form of riding you can tolerate. Being hurt just two ways about it!

    I'm headed up your way next week (drive up Tues) and will be in the area for a month (it's a work trip...I'll be on working 3rd shift in Sunnyvale, so I'll have days to sleep and afternoons to ride...woo-HOO!) Maybe someday when you feel up to it we can meet somewhere and hit a ride (I'll be bringing both road and mt bikes with me).

    I'm totally jonesing to ride the Purisima Creek Redwoods's been quite a while since I was last up that way. And also the road ride up Hwy 9 from Saratoga to Skyline rd, (and maybe down the other side towards Santa Cruz if I get out early enough). The downhill going back into Saratoga is an e-ticket swoop...THAT is one FUN piece of pavement on a rd bike! And I can't even tell you the last time I did the Stevens Creek area.

    Anyway, you made it thru hell month! Happy September Jill!

  5. OldNSlo: Sorry to hear about the collarbone. That's a rough injury. Hope you feel better soon.

    And Jill, of course you're right. During my hypochondriac episode on Wednesday I read about all of these infection symtoms I've experienced to a higher degree this month: malaise, fatigue, headache, nausea. I'm frustrated with myself because I'm letting this minor injury affect me so, but at the same time, my body is working to refill a hole in my arm. Even if it's a small hole, it's a project, and it's used up quite a few of my resources. Thus catching a bug, getting sick, etc. I am still making progress, though. Just yesterday I pulled out another piece of gravel, three weeks after impact.

    Matt, I'd love to meet up for a ride. Beat and I are actually headed to Europe next week for a couple weeks (I know, it's rough), but by the last week of Sept. I should be both in town and hopefully healthy. Let me know if later in the month works for you.

  6. My rule of thumb has always been if you're sick above the neck (headache, stuffy nose, sore throat within reason) exercise can be helpful or at least not harmful.
    However, if you're sick below the neck (trouble breathing, stomach-ache, vomiting, etc) it's time to rest.

    Good luck with your bike ride!

  7. Jill n Beat, have a GREAT time in Europe! Wow...I'm so jealous...been quite awhile now since I've been 'that way'. Hopefully you can post pics n stuff about some of your adventures. I'll still be up in Sunnyvale when you get back, don't head home until Tues the 4th of Oct (as things currently stand). Be safe n keep healing!

  8. re: your arm puking out gravel....*barf* But, um, good? Anyway yeah, when you feel unproductive while resting, think of all your busy little cells, creating new cells and repairing everything...that's tiring stuff. Worthy of some relaxing! Where are you going in Europe? Have you ever been before?


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