Sadly my first blog will be about one of the most frustrating weeks of my life and to work as a warning to all the Gung Ho people out there ( Malaysians use the word Kiasu ? ) that working out hard is good but you have to take care of yourselves too !
This is what I looked like last week,
Now this wasn't due to an accident ( well not directly) , this was actually due to a blood infection that was not properly dealt with for nearly a month. Two days recovering in hospital, drugged up and given 2/3 syringes full of antibiotics twice a day.
How did all this happen? Well it all started out at a well known obstacle race ( I won't name it cos I dont want to attribute any blame to it or the organisers ). "Helping out" at one of the obstacles didn't really pan out too well and I ended up covered in cuts on my head, hands, arms and legs. These were all cut from stones in very muddy water. Alarm bells should have been ringing in my head but being stubborn, I carried on which allowed my wounds to continue to contaminate.
I washed off as best I could ( just washing away the mud ) and made my way home, where I got a rocket up the ass from my wife for not being more careful. Her "persistance" meant that we went straight to the clinic but being a Sunday our usual clinic wasn't open. Luckily ( or maybe not?) another clinic over the street was open so we headed there.
Now here was another alarm bell that should have gone off. People, if a doctor is busy reading his emails whilst he is diagnosing you .... nothing he says should be taking seriously as he is clearly not paying full attention to you. He told me my wounds were fine and that I cleaned them really well and just to leave them to heal ..and the usual " do you want painkillers ? " Due to the fact that I am not great at clinics , I just wanted to leave and took his blessing at face value.
This is how my hand looked on the first day .
My hand and my leg started to get worse, despite best efforts to clean, with iodine and covering it where possible. I stopped instructing bootcamp and training anywhere it would come into contamination. But I started to find puss collecting under my wounds. Again I just assumed it would be ok, kept trying to clean it where possible.
Fast forward 2 weeks and I had landed in the UK to visit my parents. Wounds still no where near healed and I noticed a small lump on the underside of my left arm. I figured while I was in the UK, it was best get it checked out again. One look from the Triage nurse and she instantly said, " You should have had stitches" ( referring to my leg) and "your hand is severely infected". A short course of antibiotics and more patches and off I went. The lump was advised to be monitored.
One week later flying back to Malaysia my hand was in agony during the flight and I felt something funny in my other arm which turned out to be another lump next to the inside of my right elbow. This one was softer and more painful. Another trip to the doctor was on the cards. My Doctor worked hard on my hand wound and leg, cleaning out the puss and applying iodine. More antibiotics prescribed. I showed her my lumps and again was told to "monitor".
My hand now looked like this !
Sleepless nights ( Jetlag I assumed ?) and training prep for my upcoming races meant i always felt tired but I put this down to still not being climatised again. The final straw came after after doing a session of should presses and push ups. Trying to get to sleep was more dificult than normal and I knew I had to as Interval training began at 5.20am the next day. My arm started feeling funny and the lump near the elbow and grown. I cancelled the running when I realised I would not get enough sleep at around 4am but then still could not sleep as my arm was now in constant agony.
Pottered around the condo until I literally fell asleep , woke up at 10 am and then promptly went back to the doctor. She now had a blank look and was sligthly lost for words. I knew it was serious when I went to the specialist on the same day and everything he said and wrote was surrounded by the word "URGENT " especially considering the constant fever I had been experiencing for the past few days.
I had what is called Septicimia or Sepsis, which had caused an infection at a lymph node in my arm. The infection fluid needed to be drained immediately.. here's my elbow before I went under ( notice the redness as well ?)
Admitted and operated on within a 12hr period. Elbow drained and hand "debrided" and stitched up to prevent further infection.
The incision on the elbow was left open to allow any excess puss to drain out, although this is advised to be the best approach, it will ultimately mean a slower recovery time as the hole is being kept open for longer :(
I am not normally a squimish person , I dont pass out or vomit at the sight of blood but when I saw my arm for the first time after the operation and then when the doctor pulled out gauze from inside my wound ( akin to a magician's hanky) I wanted to do both.
What has followed is almost a week of complete frustration. I'm not able to shower, shave, eat dress without some sort of assistance or pain. Training is and will be completely out of question for the next few weeks which considering I have 2 marathons, 3 Obstacle races and and throw in a few 10k, 15k races too is pretty heartbreaking for me.
So why am I writing this ? I guess venting helps ? Writing down what had happened I guess makes me come to terms and acknowledge where I am and accept the fact that I need to slow down and heal otherwise I may be out for longer than I need to.
The most frustrating part is that I could be training and getting excited about my first race on Sunday if I had not ignored the warnings, or exercised better judgement. The things that you don't see are the ones that you need to watch out for.
So my advice :
If you cut yourself somewhere where there is likely to be a large amount of contamination eg a muddy field, water, construction etc...... Do not carry on !! Stop as soon you can and get immediate medical attention. Wounds may look clean but best to get a professional to check it out ASAP. Do not ignore slow healing, this could be a symptom of something that is not quite right under the surface.
I have promised wifey that I will be more careful in the future and I guess I have to ... I dont want to sit on the side lines and watch the world go by on Facebook. Play hard but do not ignore your body when it needs you to listen !