Illness strikes

JUST when I was starting to feel fitter and finally make some progress with my running, I’m out.

On Thursday I ended up in hospital, hooked up to a nebuliser, struggling to breathe. My day had started well. I did an easy 5k run to loosen my legs after Wednesday night’s 10 miler. I took both runs at a comfortable pace and although there was a tightness in my chest, I felt good. I put the tightness down to the cold, damp air because I have asthma and that can sometimes be a trigger.

But as the day went on, my chest got tighter and my body started aching, especially the top of my back between my shoulder blades. I felt dreadful. By the time I got home the panic of having to gasp for breath was too much. It felt like I had a weight pressing down on my chest, and my usual inhalers weren’t helping.

I called the NHS helpline and they wanted to send an ambulance. I didn’t want anything quite so dramatic. Instead Chris drove me to the local hospital. The staff were amazing, taking me straight through, checking me out and getting me on the nebuliser.

Sitting there with the mask clamped to my face, I felt vulnerable and aware of just how frightening asthma can be. I was monitored for a few hours before being discharged.

When I went home, I realised that I’d not been feeling well for a while. Before the Spencer’s Dash in early June my back was aching and I felt shaky and cold, like I was getting flu, but I never did. After that I felt okay, just getting the occasional twinge in my back and noticing that my breathing was shallower than usual.

After the Silkstone Shuffle last week where I had my best run for a long time, the pains got worse. But I was so excited from the run that I dismissed them. These were all the warning signs. But I did what I always do and ignored them until I couldn’t ignore them anymore.

After leaving hospital, my breathing was easier. I was confident that things would be back to normal and I’d be out running in no time. But on Friday morning the tightness returned. I was home alone and afraid, because I just couldn’t breathe.

I called my GP and went to the surgery for help. My chest was clear, my oxygen levels were fine but still I was struggling to breathe. He said it was probably an infection so prescribed steroids and anti-biotics and said I should go back to the hospital if things got worse.

I had a terrible night on Friday. Trying to go to sleep when you can’t breathe is terrifying. I stayed awake most of the night, propped up on pillows.

Thankfully, as I write this now on Sunday evening, I am starting to feel better. I’m not back to normal but I’m keen to get back to normal. That said, I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t be overdoing it.

It’s been a hectic year for me so far. I’ve started a new job, finished my master’s degree, started a business, been looking after my horses, and been trying to get my fitness back. This latest setback, however frustrating, has made me realise that it’s probably time to listen to my body, and have a rest.

I hate not being able to run and do all the things that I want to do. I love training and working and being busy but for the next few days I’m going to take things easier, or at least try to. Hopefully then I’ll be able to come back stronger.  

Happy at the Silkstone Shuffle

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