Monday, August 30, 2010


"I just can't breathe." Roc shook his head and looked at me with imploring eyes. "It's like no matter how good I get at this, I still end up wheezing and it takes me a really long time to recover. Maybe I'm just totally out of shape."
"Spare me, you're not that out of shape." This had become an ongoing conversation between us. I was not only beginning to get tired of it, I was really beginning to get concerned. This wasn't the first time he said he couldn't breathe. "Maybe you should go see a doctor."
I cringed even as I made the suggestion...knowing full well that when you tell a man to go see a doctor...well, it's almost like suggesting he cut off an appendage.
"And what are they going to tell me?" He began the forecasted rant. "They're not going to tell me anything. I think I'm just totally out of shape. I suck at this. I hate running."
I sighed. I don't remember pushing the envelope that particular day, but as time went on and he kept repeating the very same refrain, I began to insist.
Finally, I made an appointment with my doctor for him.
"You're going, in fact, I'm going with you." I could put my foot down when I needed to, and this time I knew I was right. He went reluctantly. We sat there in the Doctor's office together and told the tale of what we were both going through at the time. She ordered up a battery of tests and we waited. He ended up having to go to the hospital for another round of tests. Breathing tests, heart tests, all kinds of tests.
We were both right: the tests didn't show very much of anything. There wasn't anything they could do for him. But the doctor suggested something anyway: stress-induced asthma. I concurred. She ordered up an inhaler for him, just in case. The only problem was that every time he knew he had to run, he would begin to get stressed. And then it would escalate throughout the run, until he just about collapsed, wheezing and sweating his ass off. I tried to remind him that everyone he was running with had about ten years on him; that he was never going to run at that level. It didn't matter. He was frustrated and tired, and now he could barely breathe.

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