February 24, 2007

The Memory of Pizza

I didn't exercise today. Or yesterday. Or the day before that. I won't exercise tomorrow either.

You wanna know why I haven't exercised this week?
Bad genes.
Yep. It's my parents fault.

Let me tell you the story. But first, let me confess that I'm flying high on some generic version of Vicodin right now so I can't be held responsible for anything I say. According to this little yellow label, apparently I may suddenly fall asleep and start drooling on the computer keyboard. I can't be held responsible for that either. In fact, now seems just about as good a time as any to void myself of any and all responsibility whatsoever. I hereby declare myself irresponsible. Ah, the freedom. I feel like I'm becoming one with my inner-two-year old.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's get back to the story.

It's all kind of a blur, but the one thing I remember most is the fishing hook. It kept coming in and out of my mouth, attached to that long black string. Or at least I thought it was a fishing hook. Through the fuzzy filter of my hazy vision and blurred consciousness, it sure looked a lot like a fishing hook. I soon figured out that this hook was stitching the long black string into my mouth, but I couldn't feel anything. I'm not sure I could feel anything anywhere on my body, I was that far out of it. This, of course, was probably a result of the enormously long needle that had been poked around my mouth, injecting what seems to have been an elephant tranquilizer into my face.

I'm jumping all around, aren't I? OK, OK... let me go back to the beginning...

My parents gave me quite a few things. They gave me a runners body and an endurance racer's mindset. They gave me a love for reading, a sickening addiction to crossword puzzles and a drive to be the best that I can be. They gave me an Amazon gift certificate for my birthday. And they gave me a receding gum-line. Why don't you guess which one of those had me in surgery this week. I'll give you a hint, it has nothing to do with Jeff Bezos.

I've been postponing the surgery for the better part of a year but I figured now was as good a time as any to get it done. After all, I still have nearly two months before my first race of the season and well over 5 months before any race that I really care about.

Like other similar minor-but-not-that-minor surgeries, I'd have to take at least a week off from training. Once I actually start exercising again, I'd undoubtedly have to take it very slowly while getting back into the flow of it all. On top of that, the mouth surgery meant that I would be relegated to a diet of liquids for at least one week, maybe more. There goes any hope of maintaining strength.

Naturally, like any good triathlete, I really focused on some quality carbo-loading prior to the surgery. I guess you can say that I had a one week taper in preparation for going under the knife. Hell, if I was going to be relegated to sipping my meals out of a straw for the next forseeable future, I wanted to get as many scrump-dili-icious carbo-filled treats into my system as quickly as possible. If I couldn't get the taste, I at least wanted the memory of pizza to get me through these dark days.

The moment I showed up in El Doctore's office for the surgery, they had me down four white pills. What are these? I asked as they silently slipped down my esophagus. Halcion, Nurse Rosie told me without bothering to even look up and acknowledge my existence.

Halcyon? I replied with a smile and my best "pay attention to me" voice. You mean, like the halcyon days of youth? That sounds like fun.

Nurse Rosie looked up from the folders she was filing and stared at me. If looks could slap someone across the face, consider me slapped. Why don't you go sit down and relax, she said right before she turned her back on me.

OK, then. I see the way it is. A guy just tries to be a little nice every once in a while and this is what he gets? A visual slap in the face? Harrumph.

I turned around, sat down in one of the waiting room chairs and began to read my book.

Twenty minutes later I had just begun to relax when another nurse came by and called my name. Come with me, she said. How are you feeling? A little tired?

Is this supposed to make me tired? I questioned with all honesty while I put down my book and stood up from the chair. As I began to walk over to the Nurse who was graciously holding the door open for me, the halcyon days of youth kicked in and I wobbled my way across the waiting room, nearly slamming into the wall right next to the door. I quickly pulled myself together and tried to act normal. I looked at the carpet behind me as if it was the floors fault, and I mumbled some inaudible mumbo-jumbo about new shoes and sticky carpets.

As I mentioned before, the rest of the day was a bit of a blur. Apparently this halcion stuff has got a real kick to it. I remember very little from the actual surgery. About five minutes after I was placed in the fancy surgery chair, the doctor walked in and I vaguely remember having a conversation with him about Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. It seems a bit ridiculous now but it all made such perfect sense back then.

At some point I put on my iPod to relax me during the two hour procedure. I have no recollection of anything that I actually listened to on my iPod. Truth be told, I'm not even sure I remembered to turn the darn thing on. Fast forward what seemed like a couple of seconds and I start coming back to reality and noticing this fish hook coming in and out of my mouth.

Next thing I know I'm sitting in the waiting room reading my book and waiting for Catherine to pick me up. I don't remember reading my book. In fact, I don't remember how I got to the waiting room. I don't even remember Catherine driving me home. Yet somehow I got back here, where I am right now laying on the couch and typing this, three bottles of very colorful pills by my side.

The day after the surgery I woke up with that part of a hangover that has you trying to piece together the previous day's activities with a fair bit of fear and trepidation - knowing full well that you've embarrassed yourself but searching the corners of your mind to figure out how much and how badly. I remember speaking on the phone with a few people but have no recollection as to what I said. I vaguely recall a friend of mine stopping by for a couple of seconds and looking at me like I had fallen off the loony side of the sanity barrier, but I don't remember much beyond that.

For some reason that whole Ben Franklin conversation seems to be continually haunting me.

Meanwhile, here I am with my mouth pain. I'm relegated to sipping on yogurt, cold soup and smoothies for the next week or so. I suppose this is a pretty good diet, had I actually needed to lose weight. I weighed myself this morning and already lost 3 pounds. (In case you're wondering, yes, my ab still looks like jello.) My body is a bit tired as it strives to recover from the surgery with very little nutritional help. I haven't yet looked into my mouth because, frankly, I don't want to see what's going on in there. It hurts and I can feel the stitches, that's all I need to know.

I am counting the days until I can exercise again. I got a green light to do a light workout on Sunday. That said, I went for a walk up the street today and it damn near tuckered me out so I don't really have high expectations for Sunday's so-called "light workout".

On my little jaunt today, I walked by the Starbucks and the Wild Oats supermarket. My mouth started watering. But it wasn't until I stood outside the local restaurant and watched all the patrons eating their salads and sandwiches that life got a bit more difficult. I longed for a bite of bread, a breast of chicken. A measly little corn chip would do.

I suppose this is what it's like to get old. Remind me to call my parents and thank them for all this.


TriJack said...

Wishes for a speedy recovery,

pb said...

Watch out with the powerbars zhen you get back into training... Maybe stick to gels for a while ;-)
Hope you're recovering well!

triathlonmom said...

you poor thing! THanks for sharing.