Charlie Falls Ill

Posted Thursday, February 28, 2013

While shoveling snow on Wednesday morning, I (Charlie) felt something go “yoink” in my lower back, on the right side. I knew instantly that this was trouble. I’ve injured a muscle there before, but never this bad. Carefully, slowly, I finished shoveling and hoped all would be well. Boy, was I wrong! The pain persisted throughout the day. Breakfast didn’t settle well in my stomach, but I wasn’t really sick yet.

Lunch settled okay but not perfectly. Hoping to loosen things up a bit, I went running that afternoon (4.58 miles). The run actually felt good, despite the snow, the wind, and the lingering back pain. It was after the run that everything turned for the worse.

First I became lightheaded and dizzy. I used to get this during longer runs last fall, when I had just started running, but never after this distance. Soon I became nauseous. Wendi called some close friends who took me to Dean Urgent Care. I could hardly walk, let alone drive a car. What a strange turn of events it was to find Wendi walking into the clinic, pushing me in a wheelchair!

I was examined by a P.A. (physician assistant) who asked a few questions during the examination. Every time I would move to a different position the nausea would return, so she quickly diagnosed me with vertigo, saying that it was likely caused by a virus and should go away in two or three days. She prescribed Zofran, an anti-nausea drug, and told me to use ibuprofen for the pain (which I was already doing). We picked up the prescription at Walgreen’s, then went home.

The car ride jostled my tummy around, and the moment we arrived home, I vomited up my entire stomach contents; until now I hadn’t vomited at all. Immediately I felt somewhat better, though by now I was weak from lack of nutrition (I didn’t eat dinner after my run). I went to bed, had a terrible time getting comfortable to sleep, but then slept fairly well.

This morning (Thursday) I woke up very weak and sore but with less nausea. At first, however, the pain was horrible. Wendi called my regular doctor, and I was able to see him at 11:20. Upon examination, I had minimal pain except when lifting the right leg, which produced pain in the right lower back. The doctor said the injured muscle group is most likely the iliopsoas, which is one of the major hip flexors. He recommended heat, massage and ibuprofen for the pain, and this would “allow Mother Nature to heal you normally.”

However, since the examination wasn’t fully consistent with muscle strain (I felt some pain also in the front of the hip), I should watch for two other possible causes: kidney stones and shingles. If blood appears in the urine, or a rash develops, I need to call the doctor immediately.

UPDATE: Recovery was fairly speedy. I was able to resume running by March 7 and 8, and I completed a run of over 10 miles on March 22.