Sick of Sick

A dream that wasn’t a dream, until it became a reality, now looking not much like a reality at all.

I’m sick.

In fact, I am more sick than I have ever been in my 41 years of living on this planet.

Today makes a full week, and the fifth day of a constant cycle of shivering-to-death, then sweating so profusely that everything on my body becomes soaked, including my hair. In fact, right now, right at this very second I’m in sweat stage. I ate the second half of an avocado and within five minutes my t-shirt is soaked, my hair, my shorts …and sweat is running down my arms as I type.

day 5 of temps as high as 103.8
Photo: me, right now, 11:05 a.m, with a 102.2 temp and drenched in sweat.


I sweat, then I shiver …rinse, repeat. There are a pile of sheets and blankets in the corner of our bedroom just because of me soaking them during the night.

The body aches are tremendous causing the worrier inside of me to question whether I’ve somehow done something else. Back, joints, shoulders, neck, all sensitive and weak, slow and clumsy.

Walking to the kitchen is a chore. Steps, slow.

My head hurts so bad that it makes me moan, and I know I can only write in short little spurts before having to go lay down for a little while.

So why in the Hell am I writing? Because I want to document this. Just like when I wrote Bruster Boy, I want to know that someday I can come back to this and relive it.  When I get cocky, or stupid with my training, planning and decision-making, I can remember what happened when I was this sick. This low. This disappointed. At 4:30 a.m., still unable to sleep, I told my wife I was going to document it. That I needed to.

She just told me to quit talking at 4:30 in the morning, and rolled over.

Lesson Learned

Even though I have been home all week trying to get over this, yesterday, because I had invited a whole slew of University of Georgia Marketing and Web folks to the agency for a strategy discussion, I had to be there to lead it – sick or not – as I was not going to cancel on them after they had traveled all the way from Athens just for our meeting.

I showed up at my agency with a 101 temperature.

Everyone rolled with it, said it was cool, and that I did a good job, but it was a total embarrassing disaster for me. Before the meeting, I was shivering and barely able to talk while one of the account executives was covering me with a blanket and making me tea with honey.

By the time UGA showed up, I had switched to sweating. I endured almost two hours of technical and analytics strategy discussion with wet hair and visibly sweating in front of everyone – soaking through my t-shirt, dress shirt, and wiping my forehead every two minutes with a %^$#! napkin.

Think: George Costanza and the Kung Pao Chicken

After 30 minutes, I had no choice but to stop, collect myself, and setup a fan 12 inches from my body to keep some semblance of control.

At the end of the meeting – my hair was drenched, clothes soaked, pride in the toilet, and I just simply went home to crawl under a rock and die.

Whatcha Got Dude?

The doctors believe I have pleurisy.

Pleurisy occurs when the double membrane (pleura) that lines the inside of your chest cavity and surrounds each of your lungs becomes inflamed. Also called pleuritis, pleurisy typically causes sharp pain, almost always when you are inhaling and exhaling.

- Mayo Clinic

How? No freakin idea, but its the absolute worst thing, for the longest time, I have ever gone through. Ever. And yes, it hurts to simply breath.

You don’t realize how much you breath until every single breath hurts.

Heartbreak Hill? You Don’t Know the Half of It

I have Boston coming up in 18 days.

The Boston Marathon. The granddaddy of ‘em all. The one that scores of runners spend a significant portion of their running lives cherry-picking races just to get a time that qualifies them for entry; and there I was, lucky enough to score a slot on my very first try as just sort of light push by local running friends Amy, Laura and Jim.

Before that day in the car when they said I should try, I never even cared.


Getting into Boston is a big deal for me now


Although I always say I never cared about Boston, once I qualified and got selected, I felt extremely special and there started my love affair, like so many others, with this historical and famous marathon.

I was training hard for a 3:05 on this course.

Things were coming along nicely thanks to Bill Squires.

Three weeks ago I ran a 41:22 (6:39 pace) 10K race, and two weeks ago a 3:32 at the Georgia Marathon as simply a comfort gauge at the distance. It’s a hilly race with 1,543 feet of climb, so the goal was to simply become comfortable with the distance by not blowing up and keeping steady splits.

Everything was on point.

That is, until the Pleurisy.

This crap has killed me. If I don’t recover soon, it might be a long shot for me to even make it to the starting line of the Boston Marathon, let alone finish it.

The dread and disappointment I feel over this right now actually brings tears to my eyes. I know that I’m being overly emotional during this suffering, but I was so looking forward to this event.

The hype.

The streets lined wall-to-wall with cheering fans from start to finish.

Heartbreak Hill.

Shoots, even just the chilled back lobster feasts with my bride, pre-race.

Now, it’s possible none of that will happen.

A dream that wasn’t a dream, until it became a reality, now looking not much like a reality at all.


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Christian — hope you’re feeling better. When your health is threatened, these races don’t seem very important. Can you believe I said that? :) . Really — take care of yourself first–then worry about Boston. Sending prayer, positive energy, healing thoughts. Feel better.



Sorry to hear about your illness. I know you worked hard for your BQ but it is just a race. You are young and will qualify again. Focus on fighting this, your life is way more important than Boston, it will be there waiting for you in 2013.. So get with your doctor and do what needs to be done to kick this thing. Keep us posted, keep the faith!


my aunt, or ant, is one of the coolest people i know. iIt must be dat NorCal vibe. Thanks for dat Sue.

@lori: dont worry. i cant sleep, either.

i dont have the energy to go back to the ER tonight. I just don’t.

i do appreciate your concern, tho. Everyone’s concern is uplifting. My peeps keep me thinking, and help show me what questions to ask tomorrow, and what to remember to tell them.

im just not good at it.

he’ll say, “so, whats wrong?”

and i’ll just say, “i dunno.”

Wondering and worrying does not empty tomorrow of the troubles or possibilities…it just empties today of its strength. So,keep it simple, Neph. Take care of the pleurisy NOW. Think about your tomorrows when they come. Somehow, this too shall pass and you’ll make it through…

Somewhat interesting the connection with The Glass Menagerie. My choice is to run Boston in 2013. See you there.

Ok, nag nag-here I go ’cause now I can’t sleep and that just pisses me off. You have a serious infection and if you are in antibiotics they are not working. I’ve watched people die of this shit and I’d sure hate to see you be one of them. I’d much rather hear about Boston in a few weeks-which is not completely out of the question unless you die. I’m going to pretend you did go to the ER or get in to a doctor today so I cam sleep. Keep us posted.

yay. abi.

@lori: first thing in the morning, im there

Get your ass to the doctor. This is not just pleurisy. I am a nurse practitioner and work acute care. Your body is begging for help.

Feel better Christian. Relax, completely rest (body AND mind), and let your body heal. I’ll be sending you positive thoughts.

Yeah, I had pluerisy right before MM Marathon. It hurt like hell. I was diagnosed 3 days before the race and was told I couldn’t run it. Which,yes, even though they were contemplating calling an ambulance for me because I couldn’t breathe I asked if, in 3 days, I could run a trail marathon. From my log it looks like I had been sick for a few weeeks but just kept running. The only reason I went to the doctor was because I had tried to run and couldn’t even run one mile at an 8:30 pace. I wrote that I didn’t know if I had fever since I had been taking so much Motrin for my ITBS flare up. Clearly, I was very smart. Anyway this is what I wrote about it in my log:
*********Okay so the reason I have been feeling so crappy is because I couldn’t breathe. I kept wondering why–after cutting back so much on my running– why I was so tired. I was particularly frustrated yesterday when everything I did seemed 100 times harder than it usually does. I was even puzzled about the spots I keep seeing but figured I was just making it up. Turns out I have bronchitis and the pain in my lungs is pleurisy.

The doctor gave me a shot of something to open up my lungs and 2 breathing treatments because after the first I still hadn’t improved. I finally got close to where I am suppose to be. It is a world of difference. I feel shakey from all the medication but it is so much easier to breathe and my coughing has greatly subsided. I feel like a completely different person. I guess I have jsut been so focused on my knee that I didn’t realize how sick I had gotten.

Anyway, a script for biaxin and a steroid pack and an inhaler. He said I should see a huge difference in 2 days but I am absolutely not to run the marathon. Though he said I could still train but to do nothing strenous until I am 100% and for at least a week. ******************
It looks like I was back running after a few days but I was also injured with ITBS at the same time. But the steriods and biaxin seemed to have done the trick. So my advice is go to the doctor. Go now. Take your meds. Boston may not be the 3:05 you trained for but I don’t think it is out of the question yet. I have definitely been in your shoes. Boston was subpar for me last year because of an injury but I still ran a decent race and I had an awesome time.
I hope you feel better.
PS Sorry for the monster reply.

Pleurisy sucks, but you have almost three weeks. Don’t write Boston off just yet! Take your meds, rest, hydrate and you might just surprise yourself.

I always enjoy reading your posts, Christian, because you never fail to entertain. I’m really sorry about this illness. I will send good thoughts your way along with the hope you’ll recover in time for the big day on April 16. I feel especially bad because it’ll be my 18th Boston – I wish I could trade places with you JUST so that you can run it. It really is as special as they say. Hang in there. Ultimately, your fans simply want you to make a full recovery ASAP.

Damn, boy! I am sorry.

Hope you get to feeling better. I really hope that you will let yourself get better, actually, knowing your OCD.

Well . . . we only go around once, right? Maybe.

Any chance you picked up something when you were out of the country? Sometimes that stuff takes a while to manifest.

Feel better. And don’t think about Boston. Because if you get well, your body might surprise you when you get there.

I have used this for years as a lung cleanse. Things like after flu and leftover junk in lungs, etc. Good vitamin stores have it in pill form / capsule blended with other good things.

Get better Christian!

@Tonya: could be a couple of days, weeks or month – its a very odd, ambiguous diagnosis. Depends on the severity of the infection, …and the source

Hope you get better soon, Christian! That really stinks! Did the doctor say how long it takes for this to go away?

Praying for you to heal and quickly recover. You’re strong enough to bounce back in time for Boston. No “Heartbreak” for you! See you at Sweetwater!!

I am sorry you are sick. Nat had pleurisy a couple of years back. It is no joke. I hope you and your doc can kick this in the pants.

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