April 27, 2015

An unexpected emergency room visit hours before the Boston Marathon

On Saturday April 18th, a sandwich eaten at lunch caused food poisoning and a trip to the Emergency Room at Tufts Medical Center on Saturday night.   While many scenarios had come to my mind about my trip to Boston and marathon Monday, my wildest dreams or nightmares never included a violent episode of illness less than 40 hours before the race start.

Back tracking a bit, we drove out to Needham on Saturday afternoon to visit with many of my family members and have dinner as a group of nine with my mother.  After a nice afternoon of relaxing and catching up, we headed to the dining room and sat down to eat.  After placing our orders, I had to excuse myself and go back to my mom's unit.  Within minutes of being back, I laid on the bed and then hit the bathroom for one of numerous episodes of being horribly ill.  When my family finally returned, my sister Alison offered to drive Tom and me back to our hotel with a stop at CVS pharmacy to pick up supplies.  At this point, I was feeling much better so Saltine crackers, Pedialyte and Ginger Ale sounded like a smart way to start refueling my body. After our hotel drop off, I had some of the items we purchased and then collapsed in the bed thinking that a good night sleep would put me in decent shape for the morning.  Turning out the lights at 9:45, and with no plans for Sunday, I was ready for a nice long sleep.

At 11:15, I awoke and headed straight for the bathroom and yet again I was horribly sick to my stomach from the food poisoning.  Tom was fast asleep, yet I got him out of bed and told him we needed to go to the emergency room immediately.  His response was, "What, Why?".  When I told him I was ill again, he dressed and within minutes we were in a taxi going to Tufts Medical Center emergency room which happened to be very close to our hotel.


After being admitted at 11:45, I was taken to a room, changed into a hospital gown and laid down on the bed.  Soon, a nurse named Jess came in and I answered lots of questions about my condition.  I explained that I was running the marathon on Monday and had to get well quickly.  Blood work was drawn, and an EKG test was run.  All my tests came back normal and within minutes they had me hooked up to an IV bag to replenish my fluids that had been lost during all the vomiting and diarrhea.  After a while, I was seen by not only a nurse practitioner, but also a doctor who is the assistant chief of emergency medicine.  I was in good hands.  When the doctor entered the room, he said something about how I had puked a lot!  This made me laugh because he also said, "you can run the marathon. you won't die, but it might not be pretty."  That was great news, no dying during the race.  After several hours had passed I was now pumped full of two IV bags.  My release papers were completed and included more information on how to prepare for Monday, including a Good Luck comment from the doctor!  We headed back to the hotel at 2:30 am on Sunday morning.  I had a little over 32 hours to get ready for my biggest race ever.

Carb loading!
All runners know that fueling the days leading up to a race is critical for your race day performance.  With a minimum amount of time and a stomach that was a mess from all the sickness, I spend much of Sunday drinking Gatorade and Ginger Ale, while dining on Saltine crackers.  Someone even joked with me that they should be blog sponsors since it was their fuel that got me through the marathon.  Most of all, I am so grateful that this happened on Saturday instead of Sunday and that we ended up in such a fantastic medical facility.  These medical professionals at Tufts did a remarkable job in a short period of time and I am forever grateful for the care I received.

Pam

40 comments:

  1. I still can't believe you went through all that and still ran a marathon-you rock!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Monica. Glad it ended up being a great marathon Monday!

      Delete
  2. This sounds horrible :( But you're right, much better that it didn't happen on Sunday! I'm glad that the hospital and treatment experience was good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would not have made it to the start line on Sunday.

      Delete
  3. So unbelievable that this happened to you and you still rocked the marathon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mindy. I did not exactly rock the marathon, but I did finish and I am proud of that.

      Delete
  4. You made an excellent call to not waste any time and get to the ER! It's great the medical staff was so understanding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think the Er visit during the night saved me and let me race Monday.

      Delete
  5. What a horrible experience to go through so close to your big race! But thank goodness for the great staff at the hospital who clearly understood how eager you were to still run on Monday. I love that they included "Good Luck" notes in your discharge paperwork!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathryn, they are incredible. So happy I went to that facility

      Delete
  6. OMG. How scary! I am glad you got better in time for your big race.

    ReplyDelete
  7. so scary! I am glad you were able to get the treatment you needed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was very fortunate to have such wonderful care at the hospital.

      Delete
  8. Glad you went to the ER and got fluids, that was your saving grace! I would have asked for a third bag :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hah, yes, maybe I should have asked for a third bag. Maybe then my time Monday would have been a bit better!

      Delete
  9. My sister is super-woman. I still have no idea how she was not only able to start but also finish the marathon. I know how much she had looked forward to this marathon in particular, and I'll always be in awe of her being able to cross the finish line. It was an incredibly gutsy run!

    Love, Alison

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks big sis, I could never have done it without you by my side.

      Delete
  10. So glad that you were able to make it through the race after all that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too Abby. Waiting a year for the race and then getting food poisoning was no joke.

      Delete
  11. Wow, I can't even imagine the anxiety you must have been feeling!! I'm sorry you got so sick, but I'm super happy you were able to cross that finish line! I followed you while I was at work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jamie. It was not how I planned the weekend, but luckily it all worked out for Alison and me.

      Delete
  12. Although, I am sad this had to happen to you. If it was going to happen, you're right it was better that it came Sat. instead of Sun.
    I think you were smart going to the hospital, they were able to replace the fluids and help you a long far better than you would have been able to do on your own.
    So happy you were able to get through this and still run an awesome race!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kristy. It was a really special race and I am so glad I got to run with my sister.

      Delete
  13. Wow. I guess you got to see a little bit more of Boston than you bargained for, being in the hospital! I'm so glad they were able to take good care of you and you were able to still run :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the care I received made the race possible for me Monday.

      Delete
  14. O dear, this was such a scary thing to have happen to you and not just on any weekend but on Boston Marathon weekend no less. We are both so glad everything turned out okay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. See you both next week in CA!

      Delete
  15. Sorry to hear how horrible you felt on Saturday. Sounds like the Tufts Medical staff had excellent bedside manner and I am glad they were able to provide you with the treatment you needed. So impressed you were able to run on Monday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was very lucky with the staff and care I received. It made Monday possible.

      Delete
  16. Whoa that's crazy! That's something I never thought about happening before a big race! I'm glad you were still able to run and you had enough time to recover!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will be really careful what I eat before NYC marathon this fall!

      Delete
  17. Crazy, crazy experience. I am just glad that if it was going to happen, it happened before the race, and not the day off, so you were able to try to recover a little, and I am just glad you finished, no matter the time, and you were ok! Definitely a memorable trip/race, no matter how you look at it! Congratulations, again, definitely the most covetted medal, in more ways than one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Maggie. It was a race like no other for so many reasons. I think having Alison race with me gave me the courage to start on Monday. I won't deny that I was very nervous.

      Delete
  18. This is something we ALL fear (especially when traveling for races and always having to rely on food that we may not have prepared ourselves), and I am soooo sorry it happened to you right before your race! Thank god it wasn't the night before the marathon, and I'm so glad you were able to recover quickly! Going through this and yet still finishing strong on Monday makes you even more of a badass!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jennifer. It has been a slower recovery, but that is to be expected based on what my body went through. Just glad the race ended happily!

      Delete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am glad you were in good hands and they helped you feel better!! I was SO worried for you when you posted the pic of the armband. I prayed like crazy for you that weekend....I'm glad everyone's prayers were answered!! :)
    The fact that the MD told you that you wouldn't die made me laugh a little bit...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Very smart call to go to the ER so you didn't end up too dehydrated! So glad you were well taken care of, I was worried about you!!

    ReplyDelete