Friday, November 11, 2011

IMFL: The aftermath

When you finishing an Ironman there are volunteers who act as "catchers" to walk you through the maze after the finish line. I was immediately grabbed, they put a medal around my neck and a hat (not a visor) on my head, wrapped me in foil and were walking me over to take my finisher picture. I saw my family on the other side of the fence so I went over for a hug and a kiss from them. We took this picture. Then my catcher took me to a food (pizza) area, gave me a water bottle, and asked me to sit down. I may have forgotten to thank her but my brain was fried.

I almost missed the chair.

I had two slices (not pieces) while I listened to the remaining finishers come down the chute. The crowd was in a frenzy. I felt a pain in my side that I blamed on Florida pizza not being the same as New York pizza and we decided to head back to the hotel. When I got up I was very wobbly and my feet were killing me. We made it back to the room intact.

I was debating to take a shower or not but after I looked at my feet I thought I should. My feet had really bad blisters covering the front half of both feet (and I wear size 14EEE). Walking barefoot was concerning but I got to the shower and was amazed that I still had sand on me from during the swim. I was debating cold shower vs. warm shower but did it somewhere in the middle. When I got out I immediately got the shivers and couldn't stop. I limped back to the bed and when I dove under the covers my shivers stopped. I fell asleep about 1:30.

I woke up before 4AM wired. My family had to leave on Sunday due to the kids not being able to miss school (sometimes I wish my wife and I wouldn't care about education so much) but we ate breakfast before they left. Walking was an issue and even standing was an issue. None the less, I had to get my finisher stuff - my badges of honor so I waiting on line and bought some stuff because, well, you have to. I checked my bike back in with TriBike and was in the room resting when Fran called and said he found a place with an all you can eat lunch special.

We put on an eating clinic. IronTim and IronFran went for seafood and I went for prime rib. I had 4 steaks and I think they had more food than I did. The waitress was amazed. We decided not to ask for the dessert menu.

They dropped me off back at my hotel and by now I couldn't walk at all. The amazing part was that except for the bottoms of my feet I was fine. I rested, packed up all my stuff by crawling around the room on my stomach. My wife called and said that they landed safely but she was really not feeling well. It was a quiet night but not with a lot of sleep.

Monday morning my wife called and said she was feeling so bad that she had to see a doctor. She had a rash and her glands were swollen. She said that she really didn't feel great while the race was happening but she wasn't going to tell me how watching an Ironman was really tiring for her. IronTim and Deb picked me up in the rental car and we went to the airport. I was walking very, very slow as it felt that I was walking on broken glass.

Our flight had a change over in Orlando. Once I landed my wife texted me that the doctor told her she had shingles and wanted her to see a specialist to make sure her eyes were ok (the rash was near her eye). I decided to call the foot doctor to see if there was an appointment available just it case it got worse. The office said they would stay late for me.

It got worse. When I landed in NY my wife told me that her eyes were clear, good news. I was walking in the airport like a cripple to the point where one of the airport people asked if I needed a wheelchair. I declined (but probably should have taken them up). Deb's car was at the airport and she drove me home rather than having my sick wife come to pick me up. When we got to my house it was really hard to walk up the driveway.

I didn't know if I could drive. My wife demanded that she drive me to the doctor and she wasn't in so good shape herself. When we got there he looked at my left foot and asked me how I could walk. Then he looked at my right foot which was worse. He commented that I always seem to make him think and I only call if things were really bad which was why he said he would stay late and he wasn't disappointed. He said that people with blisters like I have on one foot really can't walk for about 3 weeks. Since I had it on both feet, he predicted a month. He gave me some surgical boots to wear in case I couldn't fit my feet into shoes and gave me some drugs to fight potential infections. He had nothing for the pain besides saying it was really going to hurt for a while. Oh, goody. He also recommended that I stay home from work the following day (which I did).

Now we are almost a week later. I am still walking slow but am improving. My wife is getting better very slowly (shingles is very painful). What a pair we are.


Caratunk Girl said...

Oh no!! That sucks, I hear shingles are the worst!! She must have been in such pain on Sat!

And your feet! Holy crap. That just sounds like all kind of bad!!

Again, congrats Ironman!

Ewa said...

I think I am feeling sympathy pains.
I am glad though you did not post pictures of your blisters. :)
Heal fast and thank you for this amazing report.
So when is your next IM? ;-)

Karen said...

You two are quite the pair - ouch! Those blisters are like nothing I have ever heard of before. My goodness... Hope you and your wife get better soon!

TriMOEngr said...

Hope you both feel better very soon. I can't imagine! Poor thing with shingles. Poor you with the blisters! Glad everything else feels good though. Just imagine walking on glass with tight hamstrings, quads, glutes, etc.

Unknown said...

wow-sounds like some killer blisters!! pictures man, you gotta take pictures!!!

sorry to hear about your wife, that's not fun :(

Unknown said...

Uggggh. Your poor wife and shingles. Shingles sucks. Had that earlier this year.

And your blisters. Oh my gosh!!!!

Kate Geisen said...

Oh, my gosh. Your poor feet. That's awful. And your wife...what a trooper. I hope you're both all cleared up very soon.

Kathleen said...

OUCH!! Makes me cringe reading about your poor feet. I hope your wife is feeling better. I know that Shingles are really painful.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

That sucks, I hope both of you get better soon

Unknown said...

That sounds brutal! I hope both you and your wife are feeling better quickly!

Big Clyde said...

I am so impressed with you, IronMan, yet I would not want to be you at this point. By now, I hope you are feeling better and that your wife's diagnosis improves.

Well done, Joe.

Teamarcia said...

Oh geez your wife has shingles? Very painful indeed. I'm sorry to hear that.
Thanks for sharing the aftermath of your epic adventure. I can only imagine. Congrats again!

Unknown said...

I'm just catching up on your posts from IM. They have been great!

I'm so hoping that you and your wife are both feeling better. You poor things... shingles are horrible and I can't imagine the blisters. Ugh... you paid for that Ironman finish, didn't you? :)

Shelly said...

Hope your wife is feeling better..... (shingles is not pleasant). Take some time to appreciate your family, rest up.