First of all…Happy New Year Greetings from the 13th Floor ICU at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco!

The Best Critical Care Nurses on the Planet

But the real story here, is that my desire to live a normal life, despite my lungs, got the better of me again and I signed up to do another race….while still sick from a severe asthma flare and while STILL in the hospital for it!

The race is actually scheduled for Jan 12th, which is 9 days from the day I was discharged from the hospital. But, the decision to sign up for the race came only 2 days after coming off the ventilator. Screw loose or not, there’s no way I was gonna miss out on yet another short distance race because of a stupid asthma flare. There are large quantities of Chocolate at stake here.

The chronology of events goes something like this……….

First I got a cold (or is it caught a cold?) Anyway, they think the culprit bug was the metapneumo virus, which is not a good one to get if you’re old like me. Of course it affected my asthma right off the bat, which a few days later landed me in the hospital. At first it looked like I was going to bounce back quickly after a day of continuous nebs and Bipap, but by 5 pm the following afternoon I was intubated, put on a ventilator and woke up 3 days later. The tube came out the day before New Years Eve.

Don’t I look like the perfect specimen of health and fitness!

So after coming off the ventilator I indeed had a fairly rapid recovery, but not rapid enough to discontinue the high dose steroids and everything else they had me on. Prednisone always sets off the manic switch in my brain, which makes me feel fearless. At the same time, I kept seeing ads on Facebook about a Hot chocolate themed foot race in Golden Gate park that some of my friends were gonna do.

Btw, this isn’t the first time I’ve registered for a race while still in the hospital, but this is the first time I’ve registered for one that was only a week away.

Were not talking a big race or long distance here, just a 15K , a 5K, a few thousand people to walk and run it and the proceeds going to the Make-a -wish-Foundation, one of the few charities I actually approve of. But the thing is, I’ve done absolutely no training or preparation in the weeks leading up to, or the week after this hospitalization. We’re talking relatively short distances for me, but still, this will be an interesting experiment to see how my body holds up after everything it’s been through in preceding days.

Im currently signed up for the 15K (9.3 miles), but will more than likely have to downgrade to the 5k depending how I feel a couple days out. In all honestly, Ill be lucky if I can finish a 1K, at least in a straight line. Im still having balance and muscle issues from the steroids and other drugs. I’ve also had virtually no sleep since leaving the hospital and the muscle cramps are in the full swing (thank you prednisone). Breathing wise, my peak flows are edging back to normal, as is my FEV1, which is currently sitting at 33%. Im still having episodic dyspnea, but that could be due to remnants of the flu hanging out in my lungs. On the plus side, this is a local race, so I don’t have to get on a plane or do any major planning to get to it.

I may look amazingly healthy on the outside, but trust me, 7 days in the ICU can really mess with you, both physically and mentally. I’m doing this event mostly as a soul booster. I missed 3 races last year due to my breathing problems, and that really depressed me. I’m also looking at this as a possible jump start on training for other races happening later on in the year. At the very least, it will be fun to finally get out there again early in the morning with lots of others and enjoy the music and other festivities that go along with these kinds of races.

So, will I actually be healthy enough to pull this one off, or will this be just another wishful thinking flop? Like I said, Ive missed 3 of these smaller races in a row, and each time I signed up for one I thought for sure Id be able to do it. Well, I guess we’ll know by this time next week. Stay tuned or follow/friend me on Facebook

Finally, I wanted to do something physical to honor the memory of my Uncle Ray, who passed away while I was in the hospital last week. He’ll be with me in spirit as I make my way along the beautiful race course in Golden Gate park.

Uncle Ray
Dec 21-1931
Dec 29-2019

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3 thoughts on “From Ventilator to the STARTING Line in 11 days flat?

  1. Hi Steve–Just wanted to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for dedicating this race to Uncle Ray. He would have been elated to know you cared that much–especially after your hospital stay!!

    I LOVED, LOVED the pictures Doug sent after the race and to see that picture of us over your heart–well words are
    insufficient to describe how I feel. Right now, I can’t see through the tears to type anymore so will sign off for now.
    All my love,

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