You know things like a hot cup of coffee, clean clothes, music . . . peeing. Yes, you read that right. There is severe risk of TMI with this post so if that offends you move on to the Olympics, Pokemon go, or the Presidential race. Okay, talking about bodily functions is still better than that last one.
About a week or so ago I started dealing with some very slight discomfort “down there”. (I’m trying to be media friendly here.) Mostly some itching. This time of year, that is not all that unusual. If you hadn’t noticed, it is summer and it has been hot. Any given day I typically do 2 or more workouts including biking and running. There is a lot of sweat and wet clothing associated with these workouts. Things get irritated. It happens. Usually some carefully placed lotion and/or gold bond powder does the trick.
But as the week progressed, itching turned to irritation, and irritation turned to burning and pain when peeing. What had been a bit of an annoyance now had my undivided attention. I did what anyone these days would do when health concerns arise and turned to Google. The most obvious cause, according to Google, was some form of STD. Once that is ruled out . . well . . Google didn’t have much to say otherwise except for vague references to any number of bacterial infections that they didn’t want to discuss. I guess STDs are more interesting.
By Thursday the pain and burning associated with using the restroom was alarming. I found myself mentally trying to convince myself that I really didn’t have to “go”. It occurred to me that this was no longer something I could deal with on my own so I called my primary care doctor’s office. They could get me in for an appointment on September 2nd. “Pardon me”!? That was a full month away. The suggestion was to go to the Emergency Room. That thought had crossed my mind knowing that if I couldn’t go at all I have a real problem. But I hadn’t reached that point yet. After soliciting the advice of a trusted friend in the medical profession, I made the decision to make a trip to Patient First.
Patient First is a relative newcomer to the burgeoning Urgent Care world but also offers Primary Care services and features a full set of onsite diagnostics including, lab and imaging equipment. They also have an inexpensive on-site pharmacy so you can leave with the needed medications in hand. My first exposure was a couple years ago when dealing with a debilitating back injury. They offer speedy check in, and truly caring providers. I made the decision to visit the closest branch to work on Friday morning.
After my Friday morning group run, and subsequently finding a quiet restroom where nobody could see me cringing in pain at the urinal, I showered and headed to the nearest Patient First location. I was the first patient of the day and the nurse took me back immediately to collect vital signs. My blood pressure was slightly elevated for some reason. They collected appropriate specimens for lab work and then I waited for the doctor.
Naturally, the doctor was not a middle-aged or older male but rather young, female, and very pretty. Go figure. But she was very bright and very on-the-ball. Patient First really seems to find great staffers. She very professionally and delicately handled a quick examination, talked through the STD possibilities, and then we moved on to the much more likely idea of some sort of urinary tract infection. The lab results and physical symptoms supported this. After discussing my workout regimens and lifestyle we concluded the likely cause was the hot, humid conditions with tight fitting workout clothes. Irritation leads to exposure. Heat, moisture and bacteria thrive together.
I did a bit of reading last night scouring the internet for similar stories. It seems this sort of infection (or similar problems) is not that uncommon especially among cyclists who spend long hours in tight, sweaty clothing. I had never given this much thought since switching compression clothing for nearly all my running and workout apparel. But it makes sense. I plan to diversify my wardrobe a bit to have more loose fitting shorts for hotter conditions, and also plan to make it a point to change out of wet, sweaty clothes immediately post run or ride. Sitting around in sweaty soaked shorts to drink coffee or drive home only gives bacteria more of a chance to grow and spread.
But that is all preventative. I was still at Patient First and needed a curative. For that the good Doctor prescribed a 10-day course of antibiotics. I was able to pay $15.00 at the cashier window and walk out with them. I made another painful restroom stop on the way out and hustled to the car to pop my first pill thinking “Please work fast”!
Despite being able to swim, bike, and run this week, not knowing how long before the antibiotics have an effect or if they will work, I made the executive decision to defer my planned Rev3 Pocono event until 2017. That event is tomorrow and would have required a bit of travel last night and some work today I wasn’t prepared to do. Mentally it is surprisingly tough to think about racing (or work, or much else) when you are just hoping to be able to pee the next time you get the urge. Or wondering if you may have to rush to the nearest ER for a catheter before you burst.
I am scheduled for Steelman Olympic next week. My “A” race this year was supposed to be these back-to-back Olympic events. Oh well . . sometimes life happens but hopefully I’ll get on the road to recovery and be able to make Steelman since it is one of my favorite events.