DAY ONE: As everyone in the Boston area knows, Friday we awoke to a Nor'easter--pouring rains and whipping winds--not the best day for a 20 mile walk. Andy drove me to Framingham where we picked up Tracy. Once we arrived at the start, we had to drop off our luggage and then walk back to Opening Ceremonies, through the pouring rain and puddles. We were soaked to the core before the walk even started. It was also freezing to boot! After an emotional Opening Ceremonies, we were on our way. It was 3.3 miles to the first pit stop--no problem. Other than the rain, we were doing fabulous. The rest of the morning continued without event--easy walking, more rain. The forecast said that it would stop by 9 or 10AM, but it didn't until around 2ish. We walked out of Framingham, through Wellesley and past the first cheering station. There was hardly anyone there. Again, the rain. By the time we reached lunch in Newton, I was feeling good. I had changed my socks twice and the rain was really letting up. After Tracy and I finished eating, she said to meet her at the beverage tent. I headed over there, and there was no Tracy. I start looking all around--still no Tracy. Where is she? Did I get the location wrong? I decided to call her. Thank God for cell phones. She answers her phone, "I'm in the Medical tent. I'm fine, just a little dehydrated. Don't worry." OMG! She was fine when I left her. What happened? When I got to the tent she told me that when she stood up she didn't feel well. She walked over to the beverage tent and asked for some Gatorade. As she talked, she realized she was slurring her words. She was smart enough to walk right over to Medical. How could Tracy be dehydrated? She was drinking. She laid down on a cot and had something to drink. After resting for a few, she felt much better and was back on route. Crisis momentarily averted.
Shortly after we came upon the next cheering station where my dear friend and former colleague Margery was waiting. Margery was like my Mom-At-Work before she retired. She was a sounding board, and a truly supportive friend. It meant tons to me that she came out to cheer us on. Thanks Margery! Tracy's family was there as well. One of the best things about this station was that some our Connections students, many of whom have significant special needs, made us a stupendous sign. The kids were there themselves, but because we were later than expected arriving at the cheering station, they had to leave. Nicky, one of the Connections Facilitators was also there with her daughter and two huge pink ribbon balloons. It was just the boost we needed to finish our last 7 miles.
I forgot to mention that during the 3Day there are 18 flags that are carried throughout the entire route. They say things like, My Mother, My Wife, My Sister, Friends, Celebrations, Anniversaries, Love, Commitment, Joy, and there are many others. Last year it was very difficult to get a flag. This year I was able to get several. On Day 1 I was able to carry the Love flag. I asked Tracy if she wanted it after and she said, "No way! I did my share of carrying flags in the color guard."
After lunch, the weather finally started to break. We had passed through Newton and were headed into Waltham. We were doing well. Tracy's legs were still a little crampy, but she was feeling better. We found out that morning that we were camping at Gann Academy in Waltham. It is a private Jewish high school, with a gorgeous facility. I can't imagine how much it costs to go there. Of course, Gann is located at the top of a hill--an almost mile long hill.
Tracy was starting to feel worse again, but she was such a trooper. She made it all 19.7 miles into camp. This is when everything started to go downhill.
After coming out of the restroom Tracy said she needed to lay down. I asked her if she wanted to go to Medical. She insisted that she was fine and just needed a few minutes. I told her I would go get our gear and the tent. I came back to check on her and she was still not feeling well. She said she needed a few more minutes and that she still did not need to go to Medical. That Tracy is a stubborn one! I told her I would set up the tent and be back in a few. When I returned she looked worse and I told her she needed to see someone. She finally agreed, but was not able to walk over. I went and got someone and they came over with a golf cart. They immediately started an IV and brought her over to the Medical tent. They told me that I could go over with her. Before I joined her, I went back and decorated the tent. I knew that the tent decorating was important to her, and it didn't look like she was going to be able to do it. Plus I thought seeing a picture might cheer her up. The tent came out awesome and everyone kept telling me that night that we were going to win the tent decorating contest. That would really help to boost Tracy up.
When I arrived back at Medical, Tracy was on her second bag of fluid. Her blood pressure was low and all of her stats were out of whack. She was drinking during the day so it was confusing to everyone why she was so dehydrated. Looking back it may have been her gall bladder, and she was also on an antibiotic. Her body was just not in its usual state.
I had to eat so I grabbed my dinner and brought it back to eat with her. Before I finished my spaghetti she was onto her third bag of fluid and had developed the shakes; she was starting to go into shock. It was time. They had to take her to the ER. This meant that she would be "red-carded." Red-carded is when they take your credentials away and place a red card in it's place. This means you are no longer allowed to walk. They told Tracy once she was released from the ER, she would need to be cleared by the 3Day Medical Team and then she would be able to walk again. They told her she would probably not be able to walk on Saturday. In true Tracy fashion, her primary concern was me walking alone. Did she not know that there are 1599 other people on the route? I assured her that I would be fine and that she needed to get better for Sunday, because that was the day that mattered. I really wanted her crossing that finish line with me. She was so strong and her smile never left her face, even as she was being wheeled out on a gurney.
Once Tracy was gone I finally went to shower. At this point it was after 7 and I had to wait over an hour. The good thing about it is that I met some great women, many of which asked me to walk with them. That is the thing about the 3Day. I think you need to be a special kind of person to sacrifice the amount of time and energy it takes to complete something like this. Everyone is so friendly and caring.
After showering I got my mail, read it, cried, and called Tracy to check on her. She was released from the ER at 9:30 after 3.5 liters of fluid. Holy cow! Tomorrow was going to be a new day.
Ta-Ta for now!