Kris has been home for a few days now, and things are starting to look up. Yesterday he called his doctor and described his symptoms at length. His nasal passaged have been sore - he’s had to clear his throat quite a lot (though he hasn’t developed a bad cough) and he’s had consistent headaches. After discussing the possibility of a CAT-scan to check for a sinus infection (I wasn’t aware you could do that!) the doc suggested that Kris try an over-the-counter nasal spray to try to treat sinus inflammation. The result was immediate and dramatic. His heart rates dropped 15 beats, both at rest and skiing. His headache disappeared. He feels like himself.
Kris’s sinuses have always been a weak point. In January of ‘99 I rented a house at US Nationals, and had Kris and Justin staying there, among others. Kris woke me up in the middle of the night before one the second race because of sinus pain. We dug up something - maybe just some ibuprofen - to get him back to sleep, and went to see the race doctor the next morning. That was the first time I encountered Kris’s tendency to get sinus infections. After confirming that he was going to make the World Junior team Kris sat out the remaining race, and we packed up to go to Europe - I was a coach on that trip. After a disastrous 30K at World Juniors Kris got really sick - you’ll have to ask him how. A bunch of the team was headed to OPA cup races in Switzerland and Kris was along, but by the time we got there he was so bad that we quarantined him in his own room. I hauled him off to a local doctor and we managed to get a course of zythromax for him. For the rest of the trip Ethan Foster took care of rolling a can of Fanta in his door once a day, and periodically shoved a lightly used magazine under the door.
OK - that was a bit of a detour. Back to the present. It’s hard to imagine a 15 beat drop in heart rates due to some nasal spray. Kris had been reluctant to call what he was feeling “illness” during and after Nationals. The symptoms weren’t that bad until they were put into perspective by immediate relief. There’s nothing in this nasal spray that should suppress heart rate - the only way to interpret this is that the sinus inflammation that Kris was suffering was taking a real toll on his body. He’s not out of the woods yet. He can only take this stuff for six days before he risks developing a dependence on it. He’s hoping that a break in the cycle of inflammation will give the tissue a chance to heal. In the meantime, he’s going skiing.
Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at http://www.krisfreeman.net/. Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman