Rhabdo Update and WIAW

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!  It’s Wednesday but feels like Monday to me because I spent the last two days in the hospital with Brody.  Before I get to Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday, a quick update:

Brody’s CPK numbers continue to go down, and there is a very good chance he’ll be coming home tomorrow.  Last night, his CPK was at 54,000 and once they are below 30,000, he can come home!  I was able to come home yesterday because my kind, generous, amazing grandparents drove up to Antigo from Appleton, picked me up, brought me back to the Madison-area, and then drove back to Appleton.  Although I felt horrible leaving Brody up there, I needed to get back to work; with only a handful of instructional days left, I have a lot to do and teach still.  I will say it is strange to be in the house without the husband or dogs – it’s so quiet and lonely!  I’m excited for everyone to come home tomorrow.

Food.  I love it.  I don’t share a lot of my daily eats here, and that’s why I love participating in Jenn’s WIAW – thanks again Jenn!  Today I tried to focus on veggies and protein.  I think I succeeded – score!

As I got ready, I sipped on an iced coffee with coconut milk.  So refreshing!

The food portion of my breakfast included a bagel thin, half with cream cheese and fig butter and the other half with sunflower seed butter and homemade jam.  I polished off the fruit in the car during my drive.

I inhaled this yogurt and forgot to take a picture until it was in the trash.  There’s your proof: I ate a black cherry Chobani.

My mom had cooked up chicken and ground beef for nachos grande (basically loaded semi-healthy nachos) and sent all the leftovers home with me.  I made a salad with romaine lettuce, half a tomato, chicken, black beans, and salsa as the dressing.  It was yummy and very filling.  I also had an orange and a few mini-chocolate bars.

On my drove home, I ate red pepper strips (no picture: driving + eating + camera = accident).  At home I needed a little sumpthin-sumpthin to hold me over until dinner and ate the whites of a hard boiled egg.  This is unpictured because I forgot.  You all know what eggs look like, so it’s all good.
With Brody gone and no meal to cook, I decided to clean out the freezer and finish the meatless chicken strips.  They have decent stats: two strips (small, IMO) were 100 calories and 8 grams of protein.  I ate four with BBQ sauce and then one more with honey.  I picked up a bunch of veggies and roasted a red pepper, yellow squash, and onion.

I will definitely be having something sweet before I call it a night.  Whether it be more watermelon, a brownie cupcake (made by Mom), or both, my sweet tooth demands satisfaction.

Do you eat any meat substitutes?  How do you cook it?
What foods do you eat to satisfy your sweet tooth?  If you don’t have a sweet tooth, do you want to borrow mine?

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Not much about this situation is fun, but Brody and I have been able to find the positives and sometimes crack a joke or too.

1) Brody’s nurse right now is Joe Piskula’s mom! He played hockey for the Badgers when they won the national championship and now plays in the AHL up in Canada. Brody had fun talking hockey with her for a while.

2) Brody’s firm sent him a plant arrangement.


3) Best Brody quote today: “I don’t need any food but you can dump my urine.” Let me explain: the doctor is requiring the nurses to track the fluid going in and out of Brody. As for the food, hospital food has been a little unappetizing and Brody hasn’t been a very good eater. Luckily, I have been bringing him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and animal crackers.

4) I was able to figure out the details of rolling over a 403b and 401a from my previous job into a 403b I currently contribute to. Exciting stuff, people!

5) Brody has taken to calling his IV bags of fluid juice.

He has taken to calling the bottles he has to pee into his whizzle jugs. I will spare you a picture of those. You’re welcome.

6) As obvious from this second post of the day, I have had lots of time to blog and catch up on the blogs I follow. In particular, I enjoyed reading about the Reach the Beach relay race Monica and Tina participated in. I would love to do one of these one day!

7) The Langlade Hospital is brand new and the facilities show it. The rooms are spacious, modern, and clean. I have found refuge on this comfy recliner.


8) I have an amazing sub to take care of my classes while I am gone. She is a fabulous teacher and my students know her from when she subbed for me when we were in Maryland. Thanks again Joanna!

9) Our friend Bridget is hilarious: “So make a wish called back. They found out you were 30 and were gonna be okay and told me to go F myself. Sorry!” No offense to Make a Wish, which is an amazing organization that gives incredible opportunities to kids, but this made me laugh.

10) While Brody and I spent lots of time at the hospital, Moose and Frankie were able to take advantage of the cottage. With my mom up there, they roamed around, helped my mom landscape (i.e. chewed on wood chips), and went fishing (Moose, not Frankie). The cottage is probably their favorite place ever.

Brody’s CPK numbers have went up again. Boooo!!! Sunday night they were at 298,000; this morning they were down to 114,000; they are up again to 140,000. The doctor isn’t concerned but thinks it is just part of the flushing process. Considering they admit people with a count of 50,000, Brody’s are still ridiculously high. As I said before, a normal person is anywhere from 50 to 200.

This whole experience has been so surreal. This may top our story of our hot water heater starting on fire. That is a story for another time.

Goodnight folks!

Brody’s Rhabdo and My Marathon

When I last filled you all in, Brody and I had no idea he’d still be in the hospital. Although he had read about people needing to stay for days, he assumed he’d be in and out. Not so much.

This was taken before he knew he’d be here for two or more nights. I don’t think I could get him to smile again like this now.

Doctors do not mess around with rhabdo, and rightfully so. Without treatment and monitoring, it can lead to renal failure (aka kidney failure), which may require dialysis. Brody has had great care at Langlade Hospital in Antigo with fantastic nurses. It’s rarely ever fun to be in a hospital (the only happy situation I could think of would be a birth), but they have made it a lot easier to tolerate.

After the initial urine and blood tests and the rhabdo diagnosis, they set up Brody on an IV drip. The treatment plan is to flush his system with fluids to work all of the enzymes out. The first few bags went through quickly (on purpose) and included sodium bicarbonate. I tried to look up how adding this helps, and I would probably butcher it in my summary, so here’s where it explains it. He’s had well over ten bags of fluid pumped into his body since being admitted on Saturday afternoon and continues to drink water like a fish. Other than having Popeye-like arms, swollen from the fluid, he feels normal…just bored.

His room has a nice flat screen; here you can see Brody is watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures.
I have learned a lot about muscle damage. For instance, when you work out and become sore, there is a chance you could have a very slight case of rhabdo. When you work your muscles, they release enzymes, such as one called CPK. Normally your kidney is able to handle this enzyme, but when you have rhabdo, your body produces too much of it. A normal person has a CPK count of 175; Brody’s count when he came in was over 100,000, then it went up, and is now down again. Also, the muscle breakdown creates lots of myoglobin, and this causes the discolored urine. Brody’s count of myoglobin continues to go down – yeah! We find out if he’ll be going home today or staying another night shortly.

On a possible related note, the Green Bay marathon was yesterday, or it was supposed to be yesterday. After three hours of heat, humidity, and hospitalizations (how’s that for alliteration!), officials called the race at 9:30am. Of course I have no idea if anyone will now be suffering from rhabdo, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was. Rhabdo can come on when exercising in extreme heat and humidity.

This made me extremely nervous for my race next weekend: what if it’s hot, humid, or sunny? Yeah, I dislike running in the sun. If the same thing were to happen next weekend as it did in Green Bay, I would find another marathon to do in the next few weeks. Considering I don’t know if I will ever do another marathon, I can not imagine just throwing away all of the training I’ve done. As of now, the weather says it will be mostly sunny with a high of 89 and low of 59. Please, please, PLEASE let that be wrong.

My final long training run that I did yesterday also made me nervous. This run sucked, big time. Chalk it up to hills, heat, humidity (my cottage is only an hour or so from Green Bay, so I was running in similar conditions), or stress from Brody being in the hospital, I took lots of walk breaks. I couldn’t get my breathing under control, especially after running up hills. My chest felt tight and I may have had a mini-meltdown around mile four. I have reminded myself of my days in ballet and dance: we always had crappy rehearsals right before a great performance. I am keeping my fingers crossed that’s what will happen with my race.

Whoa, I had a lot to say today. If you gave up and x-ed out a few paragraphs ago, I totally understand. But then if you’re reading this, you’re not one of those people. Thanks for hanging with me and following my normally normal life! I appreciate you guys and gals!

What exercise-related injuries have you dealt with?
What are your ideal running conditions?
What do you tell yourself after crappy workouts?

Detour to the ER

This is not where we expected to be on the warmest day of May.

Brody had a tough Crossfit workout on Wednesday night and woke up Thursday with swollen biceps. Many of his shirts didn’t fit. Then, last night we stopped at Chipotle in Appleton for dinner and he noticed his urine was dark brown. This morning it was still cola-colored, so Brody decided to play doctor and Google his symptoms (like I suggested he do last night).

Dr. Brody came back with Rhabdomyolysis. Basically, he strained his muscles so badly, they are breaking down, and the myoglobin is being released, coming out in his urine. This can potentially lead to kidney failure.

Scary stuff.

I called my friend, Rena, who is a nurse, who then called her boyfriend’s brother who is a doctor. He said we should not mess around with kidneys and to get to an ER ASAP. Unfortunately, we were over three hours from home, and the thought of being admitted to a hospital so far from home sucked. However, the thought of Brody’s kidneys failing sucked even more.

We first headed to the small clinic in downtown Lakewood. They confirmed that we needed to get to a hospital, so off to Antigo we went. Meantime, the dogs were back at the cottage pouting because the lake was just within sight.

We’ve been at the Antigo hospital since 10:30ish. A nurse took his vitals; then, he peed in a cup, took his blood, and now he’s hooked up to an IV.

The doctor said he does have rhabdomyolysis, which has been known to happen to people who do Crossfit. It can happen to marathon runners and really anyone who overexerts him or herself.

Despite the unexpected detour, I am happy he is getting better and that the IV is flushing the extra myoglobin out of his system. Sadly, message boards about this condition say your muscles are a lot weaker afterwards. Brody will likely take a break from Crossfit and focus on biking for a while. He has been a trooper, though, and is ironically flipping between the 2011 Crossfit Games on ESPN and a hockey game. Prepared for anything, I brought snacks, a book, and my iPad (which is how I’m able to write and post).

Brody gave me the ok to write about this. While rhabdomyolysis isn’t very common, I think it’s important to know that you can push your body too hard and that noticing when things aren’t right. A lot of people self-diagnose themselves using WedMD and other message boards and can make themselves paranoid, but luckily for us, we had access to the Internet and were able to determine that what was happening to Brody could be serious.

Rhabdo (its nickname) sucks.