13 May 2008

This ain't your mommy and daddy's DISCo

I apologize for having taken so long to write an update; the past month and a half have been more than weird and interesting to say the least. "Let me sum up..."

Before my third race of the season, which was an ITU developmental race in Tuscaloosa called 2012, I had to take roughly eight days completely off, as I woke up one morning unable to get out of bed because of something going on with my back. Yes, I did write about this in an earlier post, but I shall elaborate. Following a few words of advice from my network of friends (aka the smartest and most versatile group of MA's, Ph.D.'s, PT's and M.D.'s alive) I was back into the swing of things within a week and was able to race the 2012 event. I had a good swim, was part of the three man lead bike group, and was able to put :50sec on the chase group. Upon dismounting the bike and completing T2, I had to pull up limp because "somethin wudn't right." I still finished the race, but was reduced to a jog...

Following the race I figured I better get some definitive information; I went to get a CT Scan of my lumbar spine, which revealed a herniated disc. "Disc" is not the best word to use to describe this part of your anatomy, but rather image your disc a delicious jelly doughnut or Boston eclair if you choose. And this is no herniated disc as I managed to extrude almost all of my gooey filling out of the dough. What does this mean? Well, basically I will be able to regain most of my range of motion with consistent physical therapy and time. It has caused loss in range of motion, loss of power in my legs and mega pain occasionally. Tolerable, but I can definitely see the light at the end of this tunnel. The aforementioned is issue number one I am dealing with.

Now the fun part. A few weeks ago, I noticed a funny bump in the top of my left ear, just underneath the top of the ear under the fold. I figured with all the cycling, swimming and sweating I do, I managed to get stung by a bee or whack my noggin of something. As days and weeks progressed, this bubble grew to engulf the entire upper fold of my ear so that I started looking like a wrestler or Ultimate Fighter who forgot to wear his headgear. Sans black eye and bloody knuckles, I looked the part of a tough cookie. I decided to finally go see an Otolaryngologist (ENT) to have him take a look at this weirdness. Initially, the general practitioner I saw advised me to "leave it alone and it will go away." I am glad I went to the ENT because he told me that if left alone, the auricular hematoma that formed in my ear would calcify and I would have a bona fide cauliflower ear and look like a wrestler that couldn't keep his face off the mat.

Disclaimer: What you are about to read is graphic in nature. I will try to use big words and sound scientific so it won't sound too gross. Use Google if you want photos of what I am describing ;)

Next thing I know I am having a 1.5cm incision made in my ear and letting the fluid drain. As of now, it looks fine. A compression dressing was made, which was "supposed" to keep constant pressure on my ear as to not let the fluid build up between my cartilage and the skin. I looked a cross between Bjorn Borg and Princess Leia. This head dressing did not work, as the hematoma refilled and I had to go back to the ENT two days later. The doctor re-incised the incision (read: pain) and drained the fluid again. This time, he stuff a gauze strip into a pocket that was made on the south end of the incision as to not let the hematoma form by keeping the wound open. I was instructed by the doctor to remove the gauze strip the next day and swab out the pocket with a Q-tip. He failed to mention to me the pain involved. I had my coach who is a PA in Pathology perform this duty which took the better part of 20 minutes. This was Saturday. The following day the wound had healed and the hematoma formed again. Why wouldn't it? This is rhetorical, don't answer it. Starting to write some sarcasm due to frustration and pain.

Ok, I'm back to normal again. Monday, yesterday, I went back to ENT for a re-incision of the re-incision with no numbing agent. Pain. Hematoma grew back. I went to the ENT this morning for round four, and following the visit I was able to fashion an amazing clamp which will keep any fluid from accumulating. I am going to patent this product and make a million dollars.

Somewhere among this insanely long blog I managed to compete in the St. Anthony's Triathlon on April 27th. I had a good swim and bike which landed me only :45sec behind the leader and a quite confident second pace heading into the run. Disaster struck due to the aforementioned myriad of the weirdest injuries/goings-on with me and I had to walk part of the 10k and ultimately finished the race, but not not in good shape mentally or physically.

Here we are now. I am Humpty Dumpty who is off the wall and in the process of being put back together again. I am biking and running moderately, but cannot swim due to the huge gaping wound on my ear. Thanks for strapping in and reading my epic tale, recapping my past two months or so. I will keep you all updated much better as days progress, but please understand I was not of the mental capacity to write so beautifully as I have just now (cue humor. Cheap way to mask neglecting an overdue update). Oh yeah, and to recover properly, I am taking the months of May and June off from racing.

Til next time, try to keep your DNA inside your body.