The day I’ll never forget (because I can’t)

Well, the radio silence is over.

I know what you’re thinking.  “How did I ever make it two weeks without this silly fitness blog?”

But it’s okay, I’m back.

Where have I been?  Well, sit back and I shall tell you a tale.

Fair warning – you will learn less than nothing about nutrition or exercise from this post.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I just got back from a 10-day trip celebrating my two-year wedding anniversary.  My wife (Sara) and I decided to travel back to one of our favorite places – Kauai.

Something important I learned about sunblock from this trip, from the mouth of someone who lives there: “I recommend the lotion.”

Let me back up for a minute.

If you don’t know, I’m very northern European.  That’s my fancy way of saying I’m pale and the skin of my ancestors knew not the kiss of the sun (okay, maybe that’s the fancy way of saying it).  I’m not a sun-worshipper, and I had the SPF 85 ready to roll when I went into the water to do some body surfing (I’m being very generous when I call it “body surfing” – “letting waves throw me to the beach” might be more appropriate).

Back to that advice from the locals.  “I recommend the lotion.”  This advice came well after the fact, so I had to learn this lesson the hard way.

If you’ve never been to Hawaii, they experience what are called “trade winds.”  These are prevailing winds that are almost always blowing across the islands.  They are, evidently, strong enough to have an effect on one’s ability to use spray-on sunblock.  In case you’ve never used spray-on sunblock, you’re supposed to spray from about six inches away from the skin.  It’s this six-inch window that cost me big on day one of my vacation.

After about two hours of bodysurfing, Sara and I went back to the condo where we were staying.  It was here that I looked at my shoulders.  What I saw were about five dots representing the initial spray of sunscreen, then a sea of red where the spray failed to make it to my skin.

I kept a shirt on for some touristy things the following day (Monday), and the burn didn’t feel too bad.  By Tuesday evening, after the sun had set, I thought it felt well enough to jump in the pool.  I was in the clear and back in the water!

For about a half hour.

Once I got out of the pool, the fun truly began.

The high levels of chlorine in the pool had started to dry out my skin, causing a histamine reaction with my sunburn.

I’ve experienced my fair share of physical maladies.  Breaks, sprains, strains, cuts, etc.  None of them can hold a candle to this reaction.

Several coats of aloe and a couple Benedryl later, I was able to at least get to sleep.

The next day, we resumed the treatment regimen before getting ready to head out.  I rinsed the aloe off in the shower so I could put on my shirt, and it was time for The Reaction: Part Two.  It was at this point that Sara decided that we needed to go to the ER.

A prescription for some pain and anxiety medication later (the anxiety medication is to prevent the downward mental and emotional spiral that happens when it feels like your back is literally on fire), we went on a really wonderful sunset dinner cruise up the Na Pali Coast.  We got to see an amazing sunset with beautiful cliffs and were greeted during the ride home by some dolphins jumping around the boat.  Awesome!

But back to my personal hell for a minute…

The next morning, apparently before I started thinking clearly, I decided I’d get ahead of any discomfort to come by taking my meds right away.  This included Benadryl, ibuprofen, Vicodin and Ativan (the pain and anxiety meds).  You may be asking, “Isn’t that a lot of medication to take before eating anything?”  Why, yes it is.

If you’ve never experienced anterograde amnesia (the loss of ability to create new memories) before, it’s not as fun as it sounds.  Especially when it lasts all day long.  There are about four snapshots in my brain from that day, one of which is throwing up (Sara says I did that two other times, as well, but I couldn’t tell you whether or not this is true).  Hooray for vacation!

Anyhow, long story short, the vacation took a decided turn for the better the next day though the remainder of the trip.  I bought a rash guard (a UV protecting swim/surf shirt) to take sunblock out of the equation and was able to return to the ocean for some more “body surfing.”  We had some very romantic dinners, went golfing, and were able to enjoy the beautiful island that is Kauai.

Sara always says vacations are made better by the things that go wrong – it gives you better stories to tell.

Though I would probably rather not go through the same sunburn/reaction again, I’d have to say I agree.

Well, there you have it – the reason for my absence.

You can now look forward to more posts where you’ll learn the ins and outs of exercise and nutrition while continuing to be bombarded by my predilection for multisyllabic vocabulary, questionable analogies and gratuitous use of parentheses.

‘Til next time!



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3 responses to “The day I’ll never forget (because I can’t)

  1. Ginny

    I haven’t been to the other islands yet but I learn a very similar one within days of being on Oahu. My culprit was wanting to get the history of the USS Arizona . Still have the battle marks from that one. Happy belated anniversary ( yours is the same day as ours but we have 5 years on you). Remember for next time lotion up . Hadn’t thought about the trade winds . I normally get the kids all protected before we hit the sunshine. Here’s to a speedy recovery 🙂

  2. Kim L

    That may have not been a fitness-related post, but it made me laugh out loud. Glad you are able to see the humorous side of things – and Sara’s right, stories like that make vacations memorable – even if you can’t remember anything yourself!
    Cheers, Kim

  3. Amber Fischer

    Brian and I loved the story!! : ) We are glad y’all are back and that you are back to normal, Mark!….and hopefully off the heavy meds!

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