It’s race over before it’s began for Australia’s Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS) at Thüringen Rundfahrt. The 24-year-old experienced a severe allergic reaction overnight and ended up in hospital where she received treatment for anaphylactic shock. In Mel’s absence, we have Tayler Wiles (Velocio-SRAM) queued up for the daily diaries – but before we turn things over to Tayler, we have one last story from Mel to share with you.
The reaction began with gastro symptoms the night before Mel travelled to Germany, and despite the nausea and diarrhea, she was determined to start the seven-day stage race.
The early symptoms
I finished my last track session on Wednesday afternoon, and I went with Georgia Baker to the airport hotel in Amsterdam. She’s racing here with the Australian National Team. I ended up being very lucky to have here there with me.
We checked into the hotel and then decided to head over to the airport for dinner. They have this health buffet that’s really good. We ate and we had a bit of a walk around. There is nothing I ate that night for dinner that I hadn’t eaten previously.
Just before 2 a.m. on Thursday, I wake-up with full-blown gastro. I spent all night in the bathroom until Georgia woke-up She had a nausea pill with her, so she gave that me. The pill temporarily halted some of my symptoms and allowed me to get on the flight.
I got sick again on the flight, but I managed to make it through. My swanny Russ [Lenhoff] was picking us both up, but got caught in a six-hour long traffic jam – which meant we were stuck waiting at the airport. Every 10-15 minutes, I had to head to the toilet. Georgia was great. She watched over all our stuff, and she tried to take my mind off everything, but I was pretty miserable.
Right before Russ came, I had another massive bout of symptoms. At that point, I still had every intention to race as long as the symptoms subsided.
Better then Worse
I began to feel a little bit better, so I had a nice, plain dinner with every intention of starting the race on Friday. I knew it would be difficult to get through the stage, but I was confident if I could survive the first day, I would find a way to survive the rest.
I went to bed early – since I hadn’t slept much the previous night – and I slept for two hours. I woke up very sick and things went downhill quite quickly.
I had another massive bout of stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. I broke out in a rash everywhere – which had happened in the morning but this time it was much worse. Then my eyes started to swell and close over. It was really scary.
I had messaged Doc Fischer in the morning when I first got the rash, and he suggested that it was maybe an allergic reaction, but the rash subsided quickly, so I didn’t worry about it. I thought maybe it was a reaction to the nausea pill I had taken. This time the welts were everywhere – all over my hands, stomach and side.
I rung Russ twice – the first time to give me Imodium so that I could try to get some sleep. I threw that back up and then the rash started, and that’s when I knew I was really in trouble. I hadn’t slept. I was completely empty. I was covered in a rash. My eyes were swollen shut. I messaged Russ a second time at that point and told I needed to go hospital.
He didn’t tell me this at the time, but he told me that when he saw me, he thought: “Holy shit!” I guess I looked as bad as I felt.
I was a bit out of it at this point, so things are pretty fuzzy. I got worse and worse. When we arrived at the hospital, they put me on a table straight away, and I passed out. They put me on a drip. I went into anaphylactic shock, and I had to be medicated to deal with all that.
I was in the medical room receiving treatment for about three hours before they shifted me up to the ward. I stayed there for the rest of the night for observation, and I came out at lunch today.
The emotional impact
Honestly, it was pretty scary. I’ve had food poisoning before, but this was different, and it went on for a lot longer. I was broken. I had no energy. Even now, if I get up to walk somewhere and then come back, I’m completely spent. I had nothing in me all day.
I was in a foreign country. I don’t speak the language. My teammates were all asleep. My family was all asleep in Australia. My boyfriend Rohan [Dennis] was asleep. He’s on a Grand Tour, so I didn’t even want to message him to tell him what was happening. I can’t say: “I’m in hospital” and have him wake up to use the toilet in the middle of night and see a message like that. It’s not fair to him.
It’s scary going through something like that without my support system. It’s also scary not knowing what caused it. I’m going to have some allergy tests done to see if we can figure it out. I ate absolutely nothing new, so maybe it was a bad mushroom or something like that. If I had eaten something new, I would understand – but this? I’m a bit stumped to what it was and what caused it, so that’s a bit scary. I don’t want to go through that again.
I was discharged around lunchtime. [Sport director] Marv Barras brought me back to the team hotel. I’m spending some quality time here trying to recover and sleep. I’m already much better today than I was last night, and if I’m better again tomorrow, I’ll stay here in Germany and start training when the doctor gives me clearance.
All the medical reports were in German, so I haven’t been able to read them. We sent them through to Doc Fischer, and Marv has been in touch with him about the reports. Doc is who I got in touch with when I first started to get sick, so he’s been through this with me from start to finish.
We think it will be one or two days until I can get back on the bike. It all depends on how quickly my strength returns. The goal is to be able to get back to training and be ready to race La Course next weekend.
On not racing
If I had kept my dinner down last night, I think I would have been ok. It would still be a challenge, but I’m so close to the end of the season, and I really wanted to finish things off as planned. As soon as I threw up last night, I knew it was all over. That’s why I had no hesitation about going to the hospital. You have to be realistic sometimes. It’s just another bike race. As much as I was looking forward to it, it’s just another bike race. My health is the most important thing.
This was my last stage race of the season. I had never done it. The terrain suits me and the team. I know we can get a good result without me, but I would have loved to have been a part of it. It’s going to be an awesome race for the team, I think, and I hope that I can stay here and support them that way.
My dad used to always tell me: “Get up. Get over it. Get on with it.” That’s what I’m going to do. I will make the last two races of the season count before my focus shifts back to the track again.
Follow Mel Hoskins and Orica-AIS from the Giro Rosa:
Follow Thüringen Rundfahrt
Thüringen Rundfahrt garners less media attention than Giro Rosa or Aviva Women’s Tour, so it may not be quite as easy for women’s cycling fans to follow this race as the last two stage races we’ve covered. Here are the resources we have so far – and we’ll add to this section on subsequent days as we know more.
Velocio-SRAM and Bigla both provided great live updates out of Giro Rosa, so hopefully we’ll get some information from their respective Twitter channels during the German stage race, too. Velofocus will be on location, and we’re looking forward to perusing his photo galleries nightly.
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