47. The Marathon


‘Can you believe it?’ Jax said to me in the morning while we drank our usual coffee. ‘We are almost second-years.’

        ‘Crazy, right?’ 

        Intern year was almost over and I couldn’t believe it. I had been so exhausted most of the time that I didn’t even notice the year going by.

‘Totally.’ He sipped his orange juice. ‘We should do something to celebrate.’ He smiled while looking at the newspaper and I knew he was up to something.

‘Like what, Jackson?’

‘Well, I don’t know...’ He put his hands in his chin like he was thinking. ‘Maybe something like running the NYC half marathon!’

I burst out laughing. Jax had been talking about running a marathon since we were in college, but he never even got close to running one.

‘I have never seen you run, Jax. Not even to catch the subway.’

‘You don’t run either, and that’s why we both should go. We need to do some exercise.’

        ‘There’s a huge difference between “some exercise” and a freaking marathon!’

        ‘It’s a half marathon, and we can do it!’

        Suffice to say Jax convinced me after a 20-minute discussion that left me so tired I decided to just let him win. We ended up signing up for the marathon that same day.

        A few weeks later there we were: me, Jax and Peter. Yes, Jax invited him as well. He also didn’t really work out so we were all feeling awkward in our sports outfit that we hadn’t worn in years. We did plan to practice a bit in those weeks before the marathon but we just didn’t have the time. Anyway, we were both ready to go and Meg was there to cheer us on. She was immune to Jax’s convincing skills.

        ‘We are not gonna make it.’ I turned to Jax.

        ‘Sure you are!’ A stranger smiled at us in the line. He was a tall blond guy that really looked like he was supposed to be there.

        ‘See? He believes in us.’ Jax waved his hand to say hi. He was always so friendly, I was honestly impressed. ‘I am Jax, nice to meet you!’

        ‘I’m Joshua, good to meet you too!’

        Jax introduced me and Peter and they chatted for a while. Joshua was a young guy, in his twenties. He said he was going to run because of a bet with a friend. He ran occasionally but he had never run such a long race. Even so, he was in phenomenal shape, so we had no doubt he would make it.

        A few miles in and the three of us were already pretty tired. Joshua was probably far ahead and we stopped to drink some water.

        ‘I told you we couldn’t do it.’ I said while trying to catch my breath.

        ‘We’re gonna make it.’ Peter said. ‘Now that we are here we’re gonna make it. Especially you, Diaz. You seem pretty competitive.’

        ‘She is definitely the competitive type.’ Jax teased me. And damn by then I really wanted to finish it.

        We got back and to our surprise, we found Joshua a couple of miles ahead laying down on the sidewalk.

        ‘Hey man, what happened?’ Jax asked.

        ‘I am not sure, I think I passed out!’

        ‘Wow, have you been drinking enough water?’ Peter asked while I took his pulse and Jax felt his temperature with his hands. I guess doctors are doctors everywhere. ‘Did you eat before coming?’

        ‘He doesn’t look too hot.’ Jax said. 

        ‘Not dehydrated either.’ I completed looking at his mucosa.

        ‘Are you guys doctors or something?’ Joshua asked.

        ‘Yes.’ We answered together and started laughing.

        ‘Are you feeling better?’ Peter asked while Joshua tried to get up.

        ‘Yes, I really don’t know what happened, it was so sudden.’ He took a sip of water from his bottle.

        ‘Even so, I think you need to get that checked up.’ Peter said.

We took him to the paramedics that were not far from where he fell and we left him there after he insisted we should go and finish the race. Jax gave him our phone numbers so he could call in case he needed anything.

Jax, Peter and I finished the race and went to a local bar nearby. Meg met us there and we had a surprisingly fun night.

‘You can say I was right, Lisa, it was fun.’

‘It was.’ I said reluctantly. ‘We were probably the last ones, and I am pretty sure I won’t be able to move tomorrow, but I am honestly impressed that we finished it.’

‘And if we think about it, we beat Joshua.’ Peter laughed.

‘Right! How come he didn’t finish and we did? It’s definitely going to rain today.’ I said. ‘I hope he got better.’

A few hours later Jax got a text from Joshua and he met us there at the bar. It turns out the medical team asked him some questions and found out that Joshua’s dad had a sudden cardiac death at 29 years old, so they examined him and found a murmur that increased while standing. He made an appointment the following week when they confirmed Joshua had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and that’s why he passed out. The doctor told him he was lucky because that syncope could’ve been a sudden cardiac death.

        How crazy is that? He was so thankful to us for helping and for taking him to the medical station, and we didn’t even do anything. ‘If I was alone at the race, I would’ve probably kept on running. Next round is on me.’

Want to read more about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy?


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Clinical Board
AD: autosomal dominant; SCD: sudden cardiac death; Echo: echocardiogram; CCB: calcium channel blockers; ICD: implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.


  1. I loved this Chapter! Well done, TMN team!

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