12 September 2014

The mighty YT50: Flashback Friday

In one week, I will be driving the overpass from Jackson Hole, WY to Driggs, ID in preparation for the Yellowstone Teton 50-miler, race no. 5 in the series. The race is run by Dreamchaser Events, owned by my dear friends Lisa Smith-Batchen & Jay Batchen. (You may recognize her name from an earlier blog post or the article in Runner's World about her recent Quad Badwater.) The 50 and 100 mile-races go through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, ending in the foothills of the Tetons in Idaho.

I will post more about the race this weekend, there are some fun facts about the course and the area that I'd like to share but today is Flashback Friday! One of my WRRC buds asked me last weekend why I do a FBF rather than a TBT; the primary reason is that because I have flashbacks, of the clinical sort, with respect to my injuries (Pts. One and Two) and the resulting trauma.

During the four days of internal bleeding/open abdomen, although I was given drugs to assist in "erasing" the memory of what I was going through, my mind was still operating quite diligently. How do I know this? When I finally awoke and had regained some of my faculties, K. showed me notecards and sheets of paper on which I had asked questions regarding what was happening, where our daughter was, whether I would fly again, where the family was and what my odds of survival were. I asked 50/50?.  (For the record, the doctors gave me much worse odds and my CO at the time briefed his staff for casualty assistance prep and the aftermath).

In case you are unfamiliar, if a person is intubated (or has other tubes inserted into their bodies), the normal reaction of the body is to remove the object; so, despite being sedated, I would have reached to pull out all my tubes, one of which went directly to my heart, so my wrists were strapped down. K. noticed me waving my hand around and initially thought I wanted to hold his hand, but when I started using my index finger to write, he got a Sharpie and some paper. I thus communicated with him throughout the ordeal, recognizing voices and asking who was there, even as they kept me "unconscious". The most harrowing moment for him came after one of the last pulmonary failures when they brought me back.

I asked, "Am I alive?"

So, even though I wasn't supposed to remember, I do. And it has caused some seriously difficult moments. I have been through a run of prescription drugs which did nothing but impair my daily functioning and the sleeping drugs just increased the nightmares. I have weaned myself off the drugs and have been working to rewire how my brain reacts when a flashback occurs and part of it is replacing the horrific memory with a positive one, even if it's completely unrelated. Part of that is my FBF post, to remember moments of happiness, and kickstart my brain to focus on those moments rather than spiral into the abyss. Does it always work? No. Is it infinitely better than being drugged out and losing who I am to erase a trauma? Yes.

Your pics for today are seriously old school, trips to Central Park with my sister when we were but young'uns. The last pic is the Bubbaloo and I'm just gonna throw out that I see some family resemblence. Have a great Friday!

Me and my sister doing who knows what but getting a kick out of it!
Feeding the geese and ducks, of course!
Carriage ride!
The Bubbaloo this summer!
Yep, he's mine alright...

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