It Takes My Breath Away

I was getting out of the shower when I was asked why was I breathing so hard; I thought I was moving around too fast. I was walking up the stairs and I had shortness of breath; I thought I was just overweight. I was sitting watching football when I still had shortness of breath but now had tightness in my chest and thought I felt tingling in my left arm. I messaged my sister on Facebook. A few seconds later, she called and told me to get myself to the ER. A dear friend drove me there and waited until they sent me to Coronary Care Observation. I still had shortness of breath and tightness in my chest. I went for testing and found that I didn’t nor ever have had any coronary issues. I still had shortness of breath and tightness in my chest. They were planning on sending me home then out of no where a doctor came in and checked my legs then let me know they were going to do a quick test for blood clots. Before I knew it, I was taken away to have a CT scan. It was then that I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolism. I liked the way that sounded but didn’t like the reality of having large blood clots in each lung.

I was taken up to a room and told I was not to walk. They began anti-coagulants both orally and by injection. The daily blood tests, injections and medications became a routine. One morning I woke at 8:30. When the phlebotomist came in later that day, she said at 6:00am I just put my arm out and they took my blood – I was not fully awake. After one week in the hospital, I was sent home with Warafrin and medication to be self-injected. That started the process of twice a week blood tests for the level of Warafrin – the first blood test out of the hospital showed a high level. One good thing is that it meant no more self-injections! Medication then as now has to be monitored and adjusted.

In the hospital they tried to find the origin of the clots. A vascular study showed no residual evidence of why the large clots were found in my lungs. Of course they are a result of deep vein thrombosis – clots in the legs that traveled, in my case, to the lungs. The clots could take an additional course. A clot or a piece could have gone to my brain and caused a stroke or gone to my heart and killed me – that is like kill me.

It has taken 3 weeks for the seriousness of this to set in. The first week out of the hospital it was as if the experience was happening inside a snow globe and I was staring at with all of my attention. Then, although I knew the seriousness my health experience, those around me weren’t on board. Finally, this week it has hit me – I could have died.

I again have been reminded me of the preciousness of life, the importance of a moment, the appreciation of another day. It only takes a second. I feel it is important to tell those that I love that I love them – the words being said. I look at issues differently – what is really important, what is worth stress?

Don’t let a health crisis bring you to a point of celebrating life and those in it.


About Cheryl

By day, I am a social worker for people with disabilities. In time not working I am a dreamer of dreams, lover of cats, singer of songs and believer in hope. Like many, I have thoughts running around my head all the time. Sometimes I capture the random thoughts and weave them into a tale.
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