It’s been amost two months since my last post and a lot has happened: the summer classes came to an end, I ran a marathon, I ran another marathon, I ran some races, had some fun, and the fall semester began. I had my first organic chemistry test (thumbs up!) and my first physics II exam (thumbs down!) and all things are good.
About those marathons I mentioned: the first was a spur-of-the-moment race out in Titusville, PA, the Drake Well Marathon. I ran with a pal of mine and we rocked twin sub-5 finishes. She’s training for JFK so she has a full calendar of marathons this fall in preparation; I just came along because I’m usually able to run a marathon now at any given time. Weird. The second race was The Yonkers Marathon, my only proper, registered race of the year that has an actual timing chip (unlike my beloved Holiday Marathons) that I cared about. I ran the race last year in a horrid 4:16 (due to excessive heat that day and general ignorance about electrolytes) with a 1:50 first half and 2:26 second half. I had to walk the last mile-and-a-half because my legs were totally cramped up. Fun. This year, I slayed that time and rocked a 3:32 with perfectly even 1:46 splits. I had plenty of s-caps, salt-loaded the week preceding with my meals and even then, I still felt I was in danger of seizing up at any given moment. But, I ran well.
That was ten days ago and I’d really been taking it easy the last few weeks; school has been kicking my ass so it was a good time to focus on my first few midterms as well; this was the reason I picked such an early race so I could get right into classes. Last night I attended a joint speedwork session hosted by the North Brooklyn Runners, our team‘s partner and kindred spirit; 6x800s at 5K was tough but I enjoyed the speed (shoutout to Marvin!); I had run 3 miles to McCarren Park as a warmup and the workout was great; we then celebrated birthdays at a nearby bar, one member of each team (shoutout to Chantel and Patricia, the lovely ladies of the evening!). While everyone was downing 32-oz styro cups of beer, I was having my signature water on the rocks and when it came time to leave, everyone piled into the subway or walked home while I decided to run back to the apartment that I am currently watching for a friend of mine on vacation.
The route is about 3 miles going straight down Bedford before hanging a right at Gates so I was just chugging along in the bike lane, going against traffic (my bad). It was late enough that there were very few bikers out; I was about 2 miles in when suddenly, I blanked out. No idea what happened just prior but when I came to, I was laying on the ground, there was a dude on the ground, his BMX sitting on the street, and an ambulance. This guy must have made a turn onto Bedford smacked into me and I had suffered an LOC incident (loss of consciousness). Being the tough guy that I was, I got up gingerly and saw I had a gash on my right shin and a little scrape, but I felt fine. The biker actually went over the low handlebars of his ride and had a real gash on his head. I played like I could just walk it home, just a couple of bumps but then the EMTs that arrived said that while they couldn’t force me into the ambulance, it was their professional opinion that I should get in with them.
So here I am, a prospective medical student: I should support the system that I am about to enter; I should not deny the professional opinion from these folks and just undergo the entire process, not just for my own health but also out of intellectual curiosity. I felt fine, I really did, but then, I also had a concussion; what I went home and lay my head down and never woke up? So I climbed in to the ambulance and we were taken to Kings County Hospital, the famous ER department that is so gully, the field surgeons of the Army have a residency at Kings County to do their combat trauma stimulation training.
By this time, it was after midnight but the ER was quiet. I was admitted, braceletted and checked out by some MS4 student on ER rotation as well as some residents. There was an attending on the overnight shift but I was in the care of the young people who I basically wanted to become. I shared with them that I was a post-bacc student and the young doctor who stitched me up had attended the same program five years ago! So we reminisced about the professors she had and it was a very cool experience. SUNY-Downstate is right across the street so the residents were associated with that academic hospital, some had attended medical school there as well. I’m asking all these questions with a busted lip; I still look like I’m holding a walnut in one cheek but thankfully, nothing serious. Some stitches to my left shin, an abrasion on the other as well as my right elbow, a big old hematoma on the back of my head, left side, but no open wound. CT-scan revealed no damage to my actual brain and x-rays on my sore left hand revealed no breaks as well.
They stitched my shin up with some dissolvable sutures and cleaned me up nice; I had a good conversation with the young woman working with me (shoutout to Ruby!) about medical school, rotations, residency; she loves the fast-paced random environment of emergency medicine, something that I’ve never considered as part of my future, but I can see the appeal; the care is hands-on and often, non-preventable, at least in the case of most trauma; I’m starting to formulate ideas in my head about the exact sort of medicine I want to practice and I consider last night’s experience to be part of that.
They released me at dawn and I made my way to my friend’s apartment where I passed out for six hours. I figured I should write this episode down for posterity and maybe restart the blog since the school year just started as well; I remember last semester it was a good release for me, so I will try to update this more often. But now, I’m gonna hit the couch again in this darkened apartment and just rest my head. After all, I’ve got over 30 miles of running planned for this coming weekend! (That’s another decision I need to make).