About a month ago, I committed one of the most common mistakes people can make while exercising: I chose to ignore warning signs that I should get some recovery time in. One evening, after running 4+ miles and a enjoyable game of ultimate Frisbee with friends, I had a nice case of Hematuria. That is a nice, fancy way of saying there was blood in my pee!

Kidney_Injury-1Being a part of the Internet generation, I quickly consulted the medical-advice websites and went through much dismay upon being diagnosed with three different types of cancer, two different broken bones, and a whole host of other bacterial-infection possibilities. If I didn’t experience much symptoms before, I surely had all of them now. After a few more minutes of psychosis, I decided that I had most likely just bruised my kidney . . . and that, despite what the Internet stated, my life would in fact go on. Sure enough, after twenty-four hours or so, and many glasses of water later, everything cleared up fine.

The mistake came later. Instead of taking it easy and letting whatever I did to myself heal and completely clear out, I stupidly didn’t cut back much at all. A few 5Ks, a 6 miler, and several more weeks of Frisbee later, I’m still right where I started, with nagging side pain that just won’t quit.

I finally let my doctor know, got an ultrasound and a kidney-specialist appointment, and was diagnosed with what I expected: a bruised kidney. The only real treatment is plenty of rest, which I find rather annoying. I hate being sidelined, especially as my Dad is crushing the AFP leader board week after week. Someone surely needs to put him in his place!

I wanted to share this story with everyone not because of the “woe is me” aspect, but because I hope that the take-home message will be listened to. If you do experience pain or abnormal symptoms, don’t be stupid with it. Get it checked out and taken care of as soon as possible (rather than waiting for weeks), or otherwise you might be sidelined far longer than you need to be. When you first start working out after being inactive, there will be soreness that is normal. But if you feel anything you think is atypical, stop what you are doing and get it cleared. It’s not worth goofing yourself up longer than you have to be.