Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reached the halfway point, but it also was my breaking point

I constantly seem to run myself physically into the ground with exhaustion. It takes me about 2-3 months of constantly over doing it and then I hit the wall. Today may have been my wall.

Today is the day I rode 52.2 miles in the rain, hail, and lots of wind. Last weekend's ride seems a faint much more pleasant memory. I mean yes it was 50 miles but looking back it wasn't horrible. I wasn't terribly sore and I actually did have an enjoyable experience overall (that being 3/4 of the ride, 1/4 was an ugly hill that I had to channel a much higher power in order to overcome). One of the differences between the two rides seems to be my mind, forget the bad weather.

I worked the past 4 days, 12 hour shifts.....48 hours of 96 hours were at work. I worked hard physically but a lot more mentally. I took care of a women in her 50' who suffered a cardiac arrest. Her sister did her best with CPR but after more than 4 minutes without oxygen to your brain it gets damaged. She was without a pulse for 5-10 min's. I cared for her optimistically hoping for a miracle for the last two days of my shift.
Please wake up, please wake up, please wake up.... chiming in my head. It takes time after an event like this to know for sure if someone has suffered brain damage or if their brain will recover. So for the past two days I worked with doctors and did everything I could to increase her odds of recovery. And waited. And waited. I have seen this scenario go both directions. The miracle, as well as the horrible devastating ending.
Her kids are my age and were just as much my patients the past two days. When they cried I would try to comfort them, I wanted her to wake up as much as they did.
An hour before I was leaving work for my stretch off, my patient began to have a seizure. A significant sign that her brain is in fact severely damaged. And over last night, it was confirmed she was too severely brain damaged to recover.
Now back to exhaustion and my bike ride......I think the emotional drain of all of this, physically left me with nothing for my ride today. I gave everything I had over the past two days to my patient and her family. I held it in trying not to affect my personal life, trying to keep it separate.
This is a constant challenge, but I am only human.
I try to use biking and running to get past things like this experience. But I think I am learning the hard way that I still over do it when I have work situations that hurt. I overdo it by trying to just jump on a bike and push through. Instead of taking time out to let it hurt and rest.
I know I can ride 50miles, probably further. But when my mind is overloaded with "I wonder how her kids are?" my energy seems gone before I start.
I think ultimately this is why the last 5 miles I wanted to cry. I was miserable every single mile. And nothing could shake my bad attitude of wanting to quit, but I did finish against my mind and body trying to stop.
The weather was horrible, I was so tired, and overall not mentally there for most of the ride.
So today I had a good cry, drank a lot of water and vegged out on the sofa with my puppies for the afternoon. I thought about her family and friends, and how I know I will not ever understand the rhyme or reason for things like this happening. But I do know I can't push through them, and somedays you just aren't mentally stable enough to ride 52 miles on a bike without a serious struggle....making it feel more like 200 miles.


  1. Yep, you must take care of your emotions and mental state as well as your body. Hard to remember that sometimes though. Hitting a punching bag in times of emotional exhaustion also helps rid yourself of the anger and hurt. Doesn't take all of it away but does give some relief so that you gain more strength for the next flare up.

  2. You are very caring person. Any patient would be very lucky to have you as their nurse. I have been in a cardiac critical care unit following heart surgery and was lucky to have great nurses. Thank you (and all nurses) for all you do. Most people probably think that you erase your mind when you finish your shift. .

  3. It's the struggling that helps us define our character. Don't forget that! Because if it were easy, everyone would do it. The fact that you were beaten down and continued, that's a great accomplishment!

    I don't know if you've tried it.. but recently (last 2 months) I've gotten into Yoga. It has really helped me mentally get into a good place.

  4. Well put! I'll be rooting for you and hope to help support you along the way!

    Blog post about your ride:

    Good luck!!!!!!


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