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A change of heart...and head...

Posted Jun 27 2010 2:41pm
If you follow my blog and that of my best buddy Bex...you will find that we have both had a similar change of intention when it comes to this upcoming race. Although I had mine before the events of this weekend...these events further changed my mind as to what is important to me. So here's the full story...

My son, Shanne, will be 6 in July. He is a rough and tumble little boy. He is strong willed, stubborn, and difficult at times. Lately he has been getting into a lot of trouble for stealing and lying. We were searching and searching for a reason and cure...when I had an epiphany one night at work that quite possibly I was the reason and the cure. He had gotten really bad once I started totally devoting my life to the sport of triathlon and training for Barb's race. Don't get me wrong...I see my kids often...but I wasn't really SEEING them. I realized at this point that I needed to refocus a bit and truly spend quality time with my family before it all slipped away...and then came my true clarifying moment...

On Thursday I picked Shanne up from school and he told me that he had slipped while playing with water and hit the back of his head. I asked him if he was ok...looked at his head...and we moved on. He was acting fine and wasn't complaining of any pain. Thursdays are our open water swim nights so we headed down to De Anza Cove with the kids and Mike. Mike was going to venture into the water as well and my friend Alli came to watch the kids while we were all swimming. Around 6:50 I came out of the water with my group to find Shanne sitting on the grass holding his head. He was yelling/crying about his head hurting. I was a little worried as grandma had him lay down on a towel. He pulled another towel over his head as the light was bothering his eyes. I laid down in front of him face-to-face and asked him about his head. He just kept saying "Mommy, my head HURTS!" I stood him up so we could leave and as I did so he started vomiting...that was it. As a nurse I know full well that a bonk on the head coupled with a headache and vomiting is a one way ticket to the ER. Period. So we grabbed our stuff....loaded him in the car...and left. Luckily I have wonderful friends and Bex grabbed Addy and took her home with her so we wouldn't have to take her with us.

On the way to the ER Shanne kept fading in and out of sleep. When I would ask him questions about his name, where we were, his favorite color (hey, I'm still a nurse)...he would answer me begrudgingly and yell before falling asleep again. He was also vomiting when he would keep his eyes open long enough...it was awful. Everything inside of me was terrified of the signs and symptoms he was having. This was something that I couldn't fix. I could only wait, watch, and keep assessing. As a mom I was fully freaking out...the mom and nurse were waging a war in my head...one second the mom would win...the next the nurse. All of this equals the worst car ride of my entire life thus far.

We got to the ER and I carried him inside and up to the window. I told the man at the desk what had happened and they gave me a bucket to catch the vomit that kept coming (sorry for those that don't handle gross stuff as well). They told me it would be a few moments. Soon after mom and Mike came in and they called us into the triage area. They quickly assessed him and gave him some sub lingual Zofran for the nausea. Once we were back in the waiting room Shanne still kept trying to sleep as we struggled to keep him awake. We needed a new bucket since he kept vomiting and when we went to ask for another one the doctor came into the waiting room and took us back.

The rest of the night was a blur of doctors, nurses, and CT scans. The doctors told us Shanne could sleep so we finally stopped fighting him and just held the bucket when he inevitably threw up. Mike went home to get Addy, feed the dogs, and wait. The doctor came in to tell us that Shanne had a skull fracture and they were calling in the attending radiologist to be sure there was no bleed. There was an area they were concerned about and wanted to be sure it was benign before they released him. So we waited some more. Finally around midnight they released us home with the same diagnosis of a skull fracture and concussion. They gave us the list of reasons to return.

We went home and set up a bed for Shanne on the floor in our room. He went straight to bed as did we. A few hours later he started vomiting in his sleep. I picked him up, cleaned him up and put him back to bed. This happened again a few hours later. Once it was time to get up, Shanne didn't want to move. I put him in our bed and turned the TV on for him. We all kept going into the room to check on him but he was either sleeping or vomiting. Mike called Balboa to make a follow up appointment and once the operator heard the situation she told us that she would have a nurse call us. The nurse on the phone spoke to me and then called back to say that she wanted us to bring him back to the ER as he was not waking up and was still vomiting. So Mike and I packed up and went back.

The wait was fairly quick as they fast tracked us to the back of the ER. The doctor came in and after a quick exam told us that we could either do another CT and expose him to more radiation after which they would probably still admit him...or just admit him for observation. We went with a straight admit. So we waited...the rest of the hospital stay consisted of Shanne sleeping and us waiting more...

As the day went on I had a lot of time to think. I thought about what this training had taken from me...namely time with my family. But it had also taken more that I didn't realize before. The exhausting training had taken away the original reason that I started this sport...because it was fun. I love pushing my limits...but when those limits are so far that they cause me to be unhappy...it's not worth it. My kids are young...too young to be training this much.

Shanne woke up the next morning as if a switch had been flipped...he was mostly his old, bouncy self. I think the prayers, thoughts, and wishes of all our friends and family finally caught up with him...that and he's five and extremely resilient. As we went home that morning and I watched my kids walk hand in hand out of the hospital...things finally fell into place. THIS was my life...these kids, my husband, my mom, my dogs, my family, my friends...even my work (not my job, but my work as a nurse)...THESE were the important things. Triathlon is a huge part of my life...but it is NOT my life.

Triathlon is something I do to stay fit and healthy and able to keep up with my life. It is something I do to show my children that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. It is how I prove to myself that I can reach goals that before I felt were unobtainable. It is not a punishing ground that I should dread to tread on every day. It is not the sole purpose of my life and the daily decisions I make (though it had mostly come to this). When it stopped being fun...I stopped wanting to do it.

This is all going to change. Now...keep in mind I still have a half ironman to finish. But as Bex says...I could do it tomorrow with my eyes closed. I have the time and training under my belt to do it. But I still don't want to do it halfway. I'll finish the training that Bryan has laid out for me. I may skimp a bit here and there in honor of holidays and birthdays and important moments...but I will finish it. After that I'm going to sit down with Bryan and have a long talk about goals and what I think is feasible as far as training from here on out. Maybe I'll put a few goals on hold until the kids are a little older...they are only this young once...and I don't want to miss it. I want and need to find the love of my sport again...Bex told me today that she found it again...I'm not there yet. Hopefully I'll get there soon...like this next week...but these things take time...so they say. But I'll find it...I know I will...and when I do...I'll balance it a whole lot better then I have. I promise.

It is sad that it took all this to show me what was important...but I'm just grateful the outcome was a good one. My son is ok, my family is still behind me, and I have the most amazing friends a girl could ask for...that's a pretty good place to be in...and a pretty good place to start....
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