marathon medicine

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Heat Takes Marathoners By Surprise

It was hotter than expected on Marathon Monday, and there may have been more charity or first-time runners than usual. Both these things could help explain why almost 4,000 runners and a few spectators walked or were wheeled into a medical tent along the course.

The Mecca Of Marathon Medicine

As temperatures rose above 70 degrees and the sun blazed, Clyde Dickey, from Rockwall, Texas, said he downed too much Gatorade.

“I just threw up a little bit, and I felt faint” as I crossed the finish line, Dickey said. “I thought I had heat exhaustion. I gave [the race] all I had, but the heat just got to me.”

Clyde Dickey from Texas tried for a personal record, pushed too hard and was treated for heat exhaustion. (Martha Bebinger/WBUR)

Clyde Dickey from Texas tried for a personal record, pushed too hard and was treated for heat exhaustion. (Martha Bebinger/WBUR)

Dickey was underground, waiting for the T when the bombs went off last year and regrets that he wasn’t able to help those wounded. He added Boston TV stations to his cable package so he could watch all the specials in the year since.

“I love coming here,” Dickey said. “This is the mecca of marathons.”

And perhaps the mecca of marathon medicine. So when a guy from Michigan, who trained all winter in 20-degree weather, collapsed at the finish line, a volunteer scooped him into a wheelchair and had him on a cot with an IV in his arms within minutes. Another volunteer caught a woman from Washington, D.C., who started spinning as she slowed down.

“I wasn’t quite expecting it but today we saw quite a bit of hyperthermia, people overheating,”
said Dr. Pierre d’Hemecourt, one of the marathon’s medical directors. He said the tents, which were larger with more staff and equipment than last year, were busy most of the day.

“Most of [the activity] being relatively minor, dehydration, things like musculoskeletal complaints,” d’Hemecourt said. “So overall it’s been a pretty good day.”

Which, in contrast to last year, was a relief for many of the doctors, nurses and other volunteers who staffed the medical tents. Continue reading

Boston Newlyweds Face Amputation Rehab — Together

Only the most seriously injured of the 188 marathon bombing patients remain hospitalized.  Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky Downes are among them.  The couple was cheering runners near the finish line Monday when the explosions threw them apart. Patrick and Jessica both lost the lower part of their left leg.

Patrick and Jessica Kensky Downes from Jessica's Facebook page

Patrick and Jessica Kensky Downes from Jessica’s Facebook page

Friends are having a hard time reconciling this news with memories of the joyful pair who married just last August.  Smiles in photos of Jessica and Patrick jump off the screen.

“But that’s not just a photograph,” says Leslie Kelly, who watched Jessica grow up just outside Sacramento.  “Those two are the happiest, most optimistic, wonderful people,” continues Kelly, which provides “a real good foundation for both of them going forward.”

Jessica’s right foot was also badly damaged in the blast, but the family has told friends it looks like she’ll be able to keep it. And Patrick’s third surgery went well. Family members declined requests for an interview, but a few friends are sharing their story.

“When Patrick came to, he asked if the Red Sox had won,” says Boston College buddy Tom Treacy. “It sounded like they were certainly in good spirits.”

Friends and strangers have donated more than $500,000 in four days to help the couple cope with whatever comes next.

Continue reading