It would have been "fun" to run in that temp, just to say I did (it would definitely have been my coldest run ever), but there was SO MUCH SNOW that I honestly couldn't. So, unfortunately, I had to run my long run on the treadmill for the third week in a row. I wasn't dreading it, though, because it was only eight miles today. I was actually looking forward to watching another episode of Medium.
It ended up being a terrible run, though. Ever since I started strength training, my shoulders hurt when I run, and today it was awful. The only way to get relief was to hold the handrails of the treadmill, but I didn't want to throw off my form, so I only did it once in a while. I wanted to quit early so badly because I was in a lot of pain, but I just pushed through and finished it out. If I had been aiming for 12 miles, there is no way that I would have finished today.
I finished running eight miles, and then got ready to go see Mark. I decided to take my kids with me today, and I figured we'd keep the visit short so that they wouldn't get bored. I just really wanted them to see him, because I knew it'd be a good learning experience. I even promised we'd stop at McDonald's for lunch (something we NEVER do); I wanted to get Mark a strawberry shake anyway.
After we ate lunch (I got a Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad, which wasn't too bad), we went down the road to the nursing home. I'd called before we left home to make sure that Mark would be done with his radiation; I didn't want to get there and have to sit around and wait with the kids. They told me to come after 12:00 to be safe, and we got there at 12:30.
When we went to his room, Mark wasn't there. He'd already done his physical therapy, and they took him to the hospital at 10:00 for his radiation (the treatment takes five minutes, tops--transportation is another story). The nurse told us we could sit in his room and wait, so that's what we did. We waited. And waited. And waited. I had driven 45 minutes to get there, and I didn't want to leave without seeing him, but I felt bad for the kids! They were being angels, though, probably because they knew how much it meant to me to see him.
I asked one of the nurses if I could have some tape, so that I could tape some of Mark's cards around his room. That helped pass the time a little, and I liked that it didn't look so bare in there.
A doctor came in, and I told him who I was. He said he'd been hoping to speak with Mark's family about the benefits of an organic, whole foods diet, and how it can increase longevity. He gave me a list of foods to avoid and foods Mark should eat--basically, all organic fruits, vegetables, organic free-range meats, etc. I know he meant well, and if Mark's cancer wasn't at Stage IV, maybe I wouldn't bring him so much junk. But the one thing Mark can really enjoy and look forward to right now is junk food! I could never take away his one pleasure. When I'm on my deathbed, I certainly hope I'm not eating organic this or that instead of ice cream! ;)
Finally, Mark ended up arriving at around 2:45--two hours and fifteen minutes after we arrived! He loved what I did with the cards, and he was really upbeat and happy today. He was telling me about his physical therapy, how he scored "85" on his "bad" hand--I'm not sure what the 85 means, but he's definitely able to grip much better than he was before. From what the doctor told me, that probably means the radiation shrank the tumor on his brain, so it's not causing the numbness so much. I'm hoping that the radiation on his spine will relieve the pain in his legs next.
He got a few packages today (some of his beloved junk food, which he was thrilled to see; a book about old cars, something he's interested in and knows quite a bit about; and a package from Hawaii with cookies and a medal. Seeing the medal and reading the card made me get teary-eyed. Someone had run the Honolulu Marathon last month and sent Mark the finisher's medal, saying that "Mark deserves it more for being such a wonderful guy".
|Mark with his medal|
Mark chatted quite a bit about his past today, and it's always interesting to learn about him. I had always assumed he was born with special needs, but his nephew recently told my dad that Mark was born very healthy. When he was seven years old, he was run over by a car, and suffered brain damage. Today, Mark said he didn't remember accident, but that the driver "took off like a bat out of hell". I asked him if he has any memories of his parents, and he said they went to the state fair one time. It was his first time going on a ride, and he ended up throwing up! It was fun to listen to him tell the story.
I ended up leaving at 4:30, and I was so proud of both of the kids for being so patient. They never complained or asked to leave, even though I knew they were bored. The day went by SO fast, between my long run and the visit with Mark. I'm thinking of going to visit again on Sunday, but we'll see what this weather does. We're supposed to get 10 more inches of snow this weekend!!