So I dragged my exhausted butt off of my
air mattress and out of my tent. As I arrived at Medical, everything was
dark, and there was a sign written on a clipboard, "If you need medical
assistance, wake one of us up. That is what we are here for. :)"
Really? I have to wake someone up? Maybe I'll just turn around and go
back to my tent. I sat there for what felt like ten minutes, but in
actuality was more like one. Across the large tent I saw someone stir. I
guess it was her lucky day! I walked over and explained that I was feeling
dehydrated. I defend myself and tell her that I am not a newbie, and I
did everything that I was supposed to. I am "Safety Spice" after all.
I described my symptoms and continued to explain that I
know my body and that I am dehydrated. As I am speaking, two more women
wake up. One was Dr. Michelle, and the other was Tigger who was Crew
Captain for Medical. Luckily I knew Tigger from Get Started Meetings,
so I already felt better having her in my corner. As the doctor took my vitals, she saw that my blood pressure was elevated. Even though I was drinking Vitamin Water, the more I spoke to her, the more my mouth felt like something had died in it. She determined that fluids would help, and planned to start an iv. Anyone that knows me, understands that things cannot be that simple. I had terrible veins even before chemo. Now they are just shot. In addition, I only have one arm to use because I had lymph nodes removed. Dr. Michelle assured me that she found a vein. It seemed too good to be true. She poked and prodded my arm. I thought Tigger was going to have a fit. She hates needles. Me, they don't really phase me. After 4 attempts she decided it would be better to have me go to the hospital. I honestly thought about telling them I would be okay and to just let me go back to my tent, but I knew they wouldn't have it. I tried to beg Tigger to drive me to the hospital. It was a no go. I said I would go if they could promise me a cute EMT. Dr. Michelle couldn't guarantee it, but in my heart I knew I had to do it. She took my credentials out of my lanyard and handed me the dreaded "red card." I never in a million years thought I would ever get one of those. She then proceeded to hand me two new pins. For those of you unfamiliar with the 3-Day, you earn Legacy Pins for all different accomplishments--raising certain amounts of money, being a survivor, being a team captain, and many other things. These were two pins I had never seen before. One said, "Got Cot?" and the other said "I got carded." Okay, so here was something to add to my souvenirs. It's not all bad. Before leaving I asked to grab my cell phone, so Tigger walked me back to my tent. Along the way we giggled as we passed some seriously loud snorers, but as we came closer to my tent, all became quiet as we witnessed the rows of candles for Emma. Going to the hospital was nothing compared to what that little girl has been thorough.
I don't know how many of you have ridden in the back of an ambulance before, but it is not like what you see on television. I was tossed back and forth and side to side. When they asked if I felt nauseous, I told the tech that I probably would after the ride to the hospital. They even had the siren on. Really? It was 12:30AM, and it wasn't like I was in grave danger.
I arrived at Newton-Wellesley Hospital around 15 minutes later. I hadn't been there since I gave birth to the twins. Luckily they still had all my information. The crazy thing is that on your 3-Day credential you write your insurance information down on the back; however, when you are red-carded they take your credentials away. What is the point of writing down this information if you don't have it with you when you are at the hospital?
The staff at Newton-Wellesley was awesome. I saw Dr. Peterson, and right way she congratulated me on my accomplishment. She also listened to everything that I had to say, and I think she understood that I know my body. After lots of blood work and an EKG, they immediately started me on some fluid. Shortly after, my blood pressure began to come down, and my heart was not racing as frequently. I looked up at the television and saw that a replay of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies was on. As much as I wanted to watch it, I knew I needed some sleep. It was almost 2:30AM. A while later, I was woken up as they gave me another liter of fluid. Slowly I felt my mouth becoming less dry. At 4AM the nurse came in and told me that Dr. Peterson had signed my discharge papers. My direct instructions were to not drink Nuun. She said to get me some Gatorade! She also said that if I wanted to stay and get some sleep, I could. I knew my team would be worried when they woke in a short while, so I decided to go home.
I took out my 800 number for the 3-Day and before long, Tigger was outside the hospital picking me up. She drove me back to camp and said to meet her at Medical at 8AM. She said that I would most likely be cleared to walk after lunch. I would be spending the morning with her.
Back at my tent, most of my team was minutes away from getting up to start their day. As they got up, I had to explain my story time and time again. No one expected to hear this, I seemed fine when we went to bed. I was always the one telling everyone to drink, drink, drink!
It was really difficult saying goodbye to the Princesses that morning. I was in a position I never thought I would be in. I was exhausted and knew that I should sleep, but there really wasn't time. I wanted to be part of my team. I tried to rest for a few before Bridget came around telling everyone that camp would be closing in 20 minutes. She was shocked when our friend Meredith told her what had happened. This is generally something that happens to a first time walker, not a veteran.
While I was sad, it was great to see the walk from a whole new perspective. I was able to really watch the walkers come in and help motivate them to continue further. After the first pit, we drove up Belmont Hill (definitely a part of the walk I did not miss!) toward the next cheering station. As we started to drive by, I yelled to Tigger to stop, and she did! Right in the middle of the road! Across the street were Michele G. and Gretchen, who walked last year. They had beach chairs set up with large signs on them asking people to pray for Emma. In addition, there were tea lights lining the walkway along the chairs. It was really cool. So many people stopped and told us that they were following Emma on facebook.
From there Tigger and I drove to the next pit stop, but needed to make a quick stop at Stop & Shop. Here I got a phone call from Andy. I was hoping Tigger would give me the okay to hang with AZ for the rest of the day. She was resistant because she knows me well. She told me that she wouldn't release me until she saw Andy. She thought the minute she turned her back I would be on the route. Believe me, I did entertain the idea, but I thought better of it. After some serious coaxing, she allowed me to meet up with him.
AZ drove me to the TWP cheering station, but not before grabbing me a hazelnut iced coffee--my fav! When we arrived, Kaitlyn, my former student and TWP was there to greet me and the rest of the team. She is always so thoughtful and brought me gifts--completely unnecessary, but appreciated nonetheless. One was a Komen Christmas tree ornament, (She has decorated the majority of my tree!) and the other was a breast cancer wine glass! She totally knows me. Christmas and wine, two of my favorite things! With Kaitlyn's help, we began setting up. Our stop was at McCue's Garden Center, and they are so incredible. They had watermelon, chocolate, and drinks for the walkers. Once again, AZ brought Big Papi to help "save second base." Many walkers took advantage of some great photo ops. I want to give a big shout-out to Judy Dodier and Rita Keil, two of our TWP who came in to cheer us on. (Remember, you don't have to walk to be a member of TWP!) It meant a lot to everyone to have them there.
Shortly after, my teammates started to arrive, some looking a bit better than others. Blisters and knee injuries were already making an appearance. The heat that day had started to take its toll. It made me question whether I should walk after lunch. The stretch between Woburn and Lexington is just BRUTAL! It is all gradual hills, up and down, none of them seem too big, but it always feels like you are walking at a slight incline. Also, there is NO shade. It has always been my least favorite part of the walk.
After chatting a bit with all the TWP relaxing in their lawn chairs eating lunch, I asked AZ to drive me the mile to lunch so that I could check in at Medical to get my credential back. I had already decided that I would not be walking the rest of the day. I wanted to make sure that I was good to go on Day 3. It was super hot, and I had only gotten the smallest amount of sleep. I figured if I got back to camp early, I could take a shower and catch a few zzzzz's under a tree. When I checked in with Dr. Michelle she told me that I looked much better. She checked my blood pressure, my heart rate, and then handed me back my coveted credentials. I asked if I could keep the "red card" for my scrap book, but she said if I kept it I couldn't have my credentials back. No thank you!
AZ then drove me and Sandy back to camp. (Her knee was shot.) I quickly showered and tried to take a little snooze under a tree. I would just start to fall asleep only to be woken up by small little ants tickling my arms and legs. Totally gross! It was not very restful. When I decided that I had enough, I got up, and turned around to face the most ominous of skies. Holy cow! We were in for a doozie of a storm. The next thing I know is that I see numerous volunteers running around securing tents for the impending storm. Sandy comes running back saying that Bridget says we may need to be relocated. All I can think of is 2008, my first walk, when we ended up inside Stoughton High School for the night because of horrific thunderstorms. I quickly threw some necessities in a bag in case we were told to go inside, and then walked over to the dining tent to await further instructions.
They ended up opening dinner early. Fearful of a relocation, we all ate. There were still a few people on route, and there was talk that they would be closing it. Little by little we were seeing more of our friends come in. Then the rain came, and I mean came. It was torrential. We were still missing Maurine and her sister. Maurine was such a trooper. It was Day 2, and I think she had already walked more miles than she had all of last year! Someone got a text from her saying she was being transported back to camp. In the meantime, we decided to make the best of the conditions. Of course, our resident free-spirit, Alexa, went running around in the rain until her mom made her stop. Oh, to be young again. There were also several men who decided this was a great opportunity to strip down in front of a thousand women and use the yoga mats as a "slip and slide." It was pretty funny.
Luckily for us, we didn't end up getting relocated. It continued to pour, and they opened up the school for a bit. They even offered to move tents over to the turf, but most of us didn't take them up on it. Our tent was dry, and the rain actually soothed us to sleep. By midnight, it was over. I think it was the best I have ever slept on the 3-Day. I actually know so because I didn't even hear everyone packing up around me. I rolled over and looked at my phone. It was 6:00AM! Yikes! I need to get packing!