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When Chaton's World Is Turned Upside Down...

If you’ve followed this blog you know that I was training for the Pittsburgh marathon. The race was today. However, I wasn’t amongst the runners because fate intervened.

Two weeks ago, I was hospitalized, emergently. Somehow, despite my clean living, exercise, and general healthy choices, I contracted a serious kidney infection. The infection sidelined me from the race.

They say that there’s a first time for everything. However, I was hoping to avoid a hospital stay altogether, unless I had given birth. Instead, recently I had my first ICU stay. I had my first hospital admission. I had my first IV administration. These are firsts I would have happily avoided. But, God had other plans.

The fear that you experience when you’re admitted to the hospital is pervasive in general. However, when you have intimate knowledge of the health system and are a control freak, the fear can be overwhelming. I had to fight the fear and embrace my faith in order to maintain my sanity.

I also had to rely on the kindness of strangers, friends, and family. The reliance was disconcerting.

As I received the results of the blood tests and my vital signs I was perplexed. The results were grim. However, I didn’t believe them because I didn’t feel seriously ill. Despite feeling disconnected from the entire experience, despite feeling relatively OK, I was sick, very sick. The severity of my illness was shown on the faces of all of my visitors, including my physician friends. Nothing can prepare you for seeing fear in the eyes of your loved ones. It intensifies your own fear in a way that you can’t expect.

Fortunately for me, I was truly blessed. I survived my ordeal without any permanent physical damage. I initially thought that I had survived unscathed, but I was wrong. I have been forever changed. Falling ill unexpectedly has reminded me of how fragile life is and how valuable good health is. While I have been recovering at home I have realized that there is a psychological part of recovery as well.

I have to figure out how to feel like myself when for a while I looked and felt like somebody else.

Watching the race today made me believe that I will begin to feel like myself again. As I cheered on my teammates and friends who participated in the marathon I realized that my psychological recovery is progressing well. I wished them well without remorse. Even though I had trained for it, the 2009 Pittsburgh marathon just wasn’t my time. There will be other races in my future. Today, I am just happy that I have my health, the love of family and friends, and my other blessings.
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