Mexico- Whitehorse- Vancouver: Part 3

I don’t know why I am taking 10 years to write about my injury. I am going to speed this whole injury re-cap process up because I want to post about happier subjects like recovery and new goals. Also, I get really emotional thinking about it and that’s not fun. I also get really emotional during The Amazing Race (the dad and son team!!) and The Biggest Loser (don’t even look at me when Bob is telling a contestant how amazing they are) so maybe I am just overly sensitive lately.

Let’s break it DOWN.

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– Went back to the resort with my ‘muscle spasms’ after the Mexico hospital and everyone gave me advice on what to do. Felt like huge wimp because a pulled back muscle was causing me so much pain.

– Forced myself to lay out and try swimming to ‘loosen’ up.

– Tried pain killers, herbal meds, muscle relaxers, ice, creams, (ice cream, har har) EVERYTHING! I would think for a minute that maybe it was helping but it wasn’t.

– 2 days later, we head out. Sitting in a plane for 4+ hours was not fun. I just tried to knock myself out with pain meds so I could sleep.  I knew something was really wrong when I had left my family and was on my way back to Whitehorse and couldn’t stand up anymore. My luggage was also over-weight so that was fun.

– Arrive home  at 1am and collapse in bed. The next morning, Manuel takes me to the ER.

– When the doctor looked at my x-rays from Mexico, right away he said that it looked like it was broken. I went and took more x-rays and afterwards the doctor told me to lay down and not move at all. My back was severely broken.

– I was stuck in this strange spinal board since the other boards were being used.It was like a cone that clipped underneath. It kept pinching me!

–  I was given a CAT scan. When the doctor came back with the results he asked me if I was ready to see it. Umm ya, sure?! My vertebrae was shattered and there were bone fragments everywhere.

– So now I can’t stop crying. Even though I could walk this whole time when the doctor told me I may become paralyzed I was so scared. All my doctors and nurses were so, so kind and sweet to me. This was the first time I had ever broken anything/ been in the hospital for an extended period and I cannot say enough good things about these people.

– Then, I was medevac to Vancouver. The only thing I can really remember about that was that my butt was too big for the spinal board and it was a very uncomfortable 3.5 hour flight.

– I hung out in the ER for a while with my family (so lucky they live in Vancouver) and had a lot of tests done. Lots of movement and circulation tests were done. Push your foot up, now down, etc. Then I got to sleep on the spinal floor with really comfy pillows.

– First thing, Monday morning I had surgery. My doctors were AMAZING. My head doctor was a neurologist and spinal surgeon. He fused together the 2 vertebrae above and below T7 so that it was secure.  IMG_2862

– I’ve been told so many times how lucky I am and I really feel that way. My bone had been shattered and there were little bone flakes everywhere.  The fact that they didn’t cut into my spinal cord and cause neurological damage is amazing.

– Also, I have the best friends and family in.the.world. I can’t get over how lucky I am.

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So that is what I went through 3+ months ago! Now it’s recovery time.

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San Jose Hospital: Part 2

Wow, it takes a long time for me to recap something that happened 3 months ago.

Continuing on…

So, how I broke my back was pretty un-climatic but my story doesn’t end there. The guys from Edmonton who rescued me, thought I was just having muscle spasms because when they touched my back i didn’t feel any extra pain. I have had muscle spasms before and I know they are painful (but not like this) but I just went with it. When the EMS arrived, they felt up and down my spine and didn’t think it was broken either. I don’t think anyone knew how much pain I was in.  Since the EMS didn’t think it was broken, they were not that gentle putting me on the spinal board!

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My sister and I rode together to the hospital. She was really helpful and took pictures. Memories!! Thanks sissy.

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At the hospital, I was placed in a room (duh) with another man who had the grossest story. He had ulcers inside his body  and they had burst and he started bleeding out of everything!! He also owned a really nice restaurant and knew our good friend, George Clooney and Ange and had been Princess Diane’s private chef. So that made up for the gross story he told us. Even when in pain, I love me some celebrity gossip. Another thing he told us, was that this was the best hospital in Mexico… umm foreshadowing… I think that was a lie.

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Anyway, I get wheeled away and into the x-ray room where they have to move me onto the x-ray table. I think there were only 3 people working that day, one being an 80 pound girl. That was a struggle. They would go away, come back, lift an arm, take an x-ray and leave. Finally, the x-ray technician (I think) came back and told me not to worry. My back wasn’t broken. Yay! I was very relieved. They wheeled me back into the room with my main man, Princess Diane’s Chef (who was having a freak-out because he needed to use his computer, probably to email George). The doctor came in and told me that I was just having muscle spasms and I would be back on the beach tomorrow. (!!!???) He put me on an IV of muscle relaxant and pain killers. The IV drip was SO slow, I was there for 6+ hours.  During this time, my poor cousin  her new husband came rushing to the hospital because Paige had called the hotel trying to find someone to tell. Not the best way to spend the day after your wedding, love you guys! My parents eventually came  (they had snorkelled in Cabos) and hung out with me while I watched the IV drip, so slowly. I wanted them to jack that thing up!

Eventually it was time to go, I knew when I sat up (with a lot of help) that this wasn’t  just a muscle spasm… (This story is so not suspenseful at all.)

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How I Broke My Back In Mexico: Part 1

They say that everyone has one moment in their lives that changes them forever and they are never the same. (That sounds super dramatic but that’s what ‘they’ say. PS: No idea who ‘they’ is.) So far in my life, I think the moment by back hit the sand on the beaches of Los Cabos was my moment. Here is my story for anyone who cares or wonders why I had so many friends telling me to get better on Facebook. (You guys are the best!)

I was with my family in Mexico for my beautiful cousin’s wedding. Luckily, the wedding was earlier in the week and I got to enjoy the majority of the celebration before I hurt myself.

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We stayed at Dreams Los Cabos and weren’t allowed to swim on the beach in front of our hotel. I went to an information session about the resort and a worker mentioned that it was just recommended that we don’t swim but if we were strong swimmers we would probably be fine. Me, being the ex-swimmer that I am totally commented that I could swim there, ha. Famous last words. I didn’t end up swimming at our resort but I’m sure if someone had suggested it, I would have.

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On Friday, my sister and I walked down the beach because George Clooney was staying 400m away!! Stalkers in da house.

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After a quick dip with George, we continued on our way to go swimming.

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I am just kidding. We didn’t swim with George. We didn’t even seem him or Stace. Next time, Gerogie Poo. Kiss, kiss.

So, there was a section of the beach about 20 mins away that was safe for swimming. The waves were big but not crazy scary and it was fun to ride them in. I actually hate riding waves all the way to the shore because all the sand gets in your bathing suit and it hurts. I end up finding sand for days! Anyway, we are getting hungry and it was tequila-o-clock so I decided to ride one more wave in. It was huge and I caught the break at the perfect time, I switched over to ride in on my back to prevent sand chafing and flashing my lady bits to the beach and my timing was off. I turned onto my back as the wave was crashing and slammed down onto the sand. I remember feeling a crack and then bouncing into the shore. Little did I know. vertebrae #7= Shattered.

The scariest part was that I couldn’t breathe at all. I was waving one hand, trying to get someone’s attention but I looked like I was coughing up water. I couldn’t move out of cat’s pose. My sister and a couple of guys came to help me since I was still in the surf. I couldn’t straighten my body so the guys had the idea to put me on a boogie board and carry me up to a beach chair.  I remember wishing that I could just pass out because the pain was so strong. I also remember telling my sister that I thought my back was broken but being really happy I could move my legs. I’m so lucky they were there and I could hold my sister’s hand. The EMS came and put me on a spinal board and we headed to the hospital in San Jose. That was the opposite of fun.

Where do I begin?

Where do I begin when I have not blogged for 2+ months?

I could begin at the Harbin Winter Ice Festival in January where I acted like a Russians and witnessed some of the biggest and best ice sculptures ever.

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 But then my flight was delayed and I spent 12 hours getting back to Tongxiang and ended up being dropped on the side of the highway to catch a taxi… at 2am.  (Hi Mom and Dad!)

 

 I could begin with the NIGHT BEFORE I left for holiday where I proceeded to lose my purse with my wallet, cell phone, credit card, keys and all my money for traveling.

But it turns out you don’t really need a credit card to travel. And I am really good at breaking into my apartment. Hey! It’s not an Amelia holiday if things go smoothly.

 

I could begin with my 3 week trip to Thailand where Linds and I hit up 5 islands on the South and West coast…

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The best of Thailand included scuba diving, tanning, eating, hiking, a massage a day and beautiful, beautiful places and faces.

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The worst hilarious parts of Thailand included a hair dye job gone very wrong, rain, anytime we had to take a night bus, anytime we had to leave an island, getting lost, fireworks, lady boys, ear wax, sunburns, protests, bugs and bug nets and Black Moon Party. Seriously. I have a whole post reserved for the hippies of Thailand.

But I came home, my tan faded, my dark roots appeared and I had a lot of work to do.

 

I could begin with my return back to running.

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I could begin by telling you that Chinese medicine is amazing, acupuncture cures everything and a deep tissue massage will fix any injury. 

But it turns out the real cure is rest.

 

I could begin by sharing the story of a 10km walk I took with 1000 grade 10 students to the biggest silk factory in the world.

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But students started passing out on the side of the road. It was torture. And silk factories are not exciting.

However, I think the company really understands Canadians.

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I could begin with my experience strawberry picking in China.

IMG_2661 But I ate 5 pounds in 2 days and my stomach still hurts.

 

I could begin by teaching you all how to be English geniuses.

Repeat after me: I. Am. An. English. Genius.

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But I think it’s a cult.

 

What I will begin What I will end with is my experience running the Old Shanghai Half on Sunday. When I say old, I mean I was one of the youngest people by a good 45 years. The run was held by the Nanjing Road Running Club which is the oldest in Shanghai. The race was really, really small and you could choose how many 4.4 loops you wanted to do.  It felt more like a tempo long run than a race and I finished in 1:42. It felt surprisingly good for only running 20km once since Christmas. 

Inspiration= running beside an 80 year old woman carrying an umbrella. If she can still get out there and run, anyone can.

Old Shanghai Run

 

I have a race every weekend in April. It’s running season! Good Luck everyone!!

A long way to go for 12km…

4:30am– Alarm goes off.  Didn’t get very much sleep last night because I was so excited about the prospect of a running buddy, new route and long run. (Ok- just re-read that and realized how weird I am.)

4:45– Leave apartment. It’s pitch dark out. Hear a cat being mauled to death.  Seriously, the worst noise I have ever heard. I was so scared!  Care– you would have died.

4:47– Ask security guards to call me a taxi. (Actually, that’s a lie. I can’t even pronounce the name of the city I live in properly. I  just pointed to a piece of paper that said Jiaxing train station and hoped they got the message.)

4:50– No dice. But I did get to listen to some awesome Chinese pop on their cell phones…

5:00– Walk to the rotary in hopes of finding a cab.

5:15– We are off! Since I don’t have my passport right now I can’t take the bus. I had to take a 1/2 hour taxi ride to a nearby city to catch a train.

5:45– Arrive at the train station. So confusing. There are no places to buy tickets. I just start walking with people. Oh- this train is going to Hangzhou and the one on the other side of the track is going to Shanghai…and there it goes.

5:50– No worries. The internet said another train leaves at 6:17. I will catch that.

7:00– The internet lied. Over an hour of hanging out in a Chinese train station is not pleasant my friends. I think 5 people spit on my feet. Not on purpose but still!

7:17– There is a mad dash to line-up. I get swept into it. Grandmothers are leaping over chairs and butting in front of people. I wish I had my camera because there are no words to describe the insanity. People are intense about getting in line. We are all going to get on the train, relax.

7:18– Realize everyone in line has a ticket. Umm, oops? So maybe I’m the one who won’t be getting on the train…

7:20– Play the foreigner card and quickly sneak past the women collecting tickets. “What? Tickets? I don’t understand… we don’t use those in Canada.”

7:22– Realize that now I don’t have a seat on the train. Debate hanging out in the bathroom but then look in and see poop stuck in the squatter…

7:30– Wander up and down the train. Dammit, I am the only white person. Being sneaky is hard.

7:33– See a seat next to a guy that is creeping out  two Chinese girls. (In truth, I have no idea what he was saying but felt like he was creepy and by me sitting there I was helping them by taking some of the creepiness off them and onto me.)

7:35– No idea if the train I am on takes 45 minutes to get to Shanghai or 2 hours. Close my eyes and take deep breaths.

8:17– Yay! I arrived! Boo! I was supposed to meet my running friend at 8:00. Park is 45 minutes away…

8:20– Wander around the train station. It is Expo madness. Subway or taxi? Hmm… actually, I was just looking for a Starbucks.

8:30– MacDonald’s coffee will do. Hop in a taxi.

9:00– Still in taxi. Living in constant fear of being stuck in a 9 day traffic jam.

9:30– Arrive at park! Running friend is long gone. Pay 10rmb to enter the park. wth?

9:35– Good news- Don’t have to hide my change of clothes in a bush, the office will keep it.

9:40– Start running!!! It feels so good! Going pretty quickly too. 4:35-4:40/km pace.

10:00– Still loving the park. Goal is to do 3 reps of the 6km park loop.

10:25– 8km in and I start to die.

10:30– Stop. Uugh. Walk break.

10:40– Amelia, you didn’t come all this way to run 8km. Suck it up!!

10:45– Start running again. This time slowly. Oh- it’s way easier to run when you go slow. Hm..this isn’t so bad.

11:05– 4 more km’s. Annnd that’s all she wrote. Right hip and knee started to really hurt. Hope it was just because the pathway was cobblestone and uneven?!

11:15– Creep people out because I am soaking wet on the subway.

11:30– Meet friend and shop and eat delicious food!! Love Shanghai!

All in all,  I’m glad I got the work-out in even though it wasn’t as long as I wanted it to be and it was a journey and a half getting there.  I hope my running friend won’t be too upset I bailed and want to run with me again. I’m also excited of the prospect of running in this park. It was really pretty! Could definitely have used a little dose of the babe patrol to help with the running… and more importantly, the eating and shopping afterwards! 😉

Sunday, Monday

What up Queenie!
Sunday’s Long Run was the second time I ran up Queen Elizabeth hill this week-I guess with the Queen visiting the country – it’s only fitting I pay my respect my running “her” hill twice.

The run was fairly hilly but once you get to the top it’s only about 4km downhill back to the store. Nnot a bad route at all. The weather was perfect for running  but I never really got into the grove. When I first started running my leg felt so sore. I was favoring one leg and it felt like I was limping when I ran. After about 5km I loosened up a bit. 
This is where I hurt. I believe it is my left abductor.  Someone fix me?
The route was 16km long and average pace for Sunday’s run was 5:23/km.
Monday, I rook Keiran along one of my favorite routes. It’s about a 10km loop around the seawall and back over Burrard bridge.
Average pace= 5:25/km.  My leg felt pretty good and the run was very comfortable. I think it only hurts in the mornings when I wake up and am stiff. Wow, I am aging at an incredible fast rate.
There are so many awesome running routes in Vancouver that I do with the Running Room that I never really have to think of my own. However, if you want to find a new and pretty run near where you live (ahem, Mom and Dad) or just want to plan out a new route http://www.mapmyrun.com/ is a good website to check out.