I'll Never Look at PE the Same Way Again

I'll Never Look at PE the Same Way Again

They said "PE." No kidding. Well, I'll never look at PE quite the same way again.

For me, 'PE' used to mean 'Physical Education.' Not the best memories. In grade school and high school I was the skinny kid and always next to last in being chosen for team games or sports. However, it got better in college because I could run. I ran cross country. Running felt great...just me and the air and breathing in and breathing out.

Now 'PE' has a whole 'nother meaning and it, too, is all about breathing. 

Pulmonary Embolism is a blood clot somewhere in the lungs. Lungs are twitchy fellows who don't much care for things messing with their system. I'd heard of other people having clots in their lungs but I didn't dream of this being the case for myself. 

Went to the doctor towards the end of May because breathing was becoming problematic. Okay, it was getting to be a marathon sport just to walk down the sidewalk to check the mailbox. Forget about mowing the lawn in the backyard...which is something I love to do!

I had pneumonia last winter and thought maybe I had another infection. Or maybe a bacterial thing. Or maybe sudden onset asthma. In no scenario I came up with did I draw a picture of a life-threatening blood clot. So I put off seeing the doctor for five days. I didn't want to go to Urgent Care and 5 days was the soonest to get in to see the doctor.

Day came. It took all I had to get to the office and had to rest before announcing myself at the counter. They got me into an exam room right away. The doctor came in, spent five minutes and sent me directly do-not-pass-go to the hospital. And there I stayed for nine days.

Here's my message in a nutshell: breathing means living. Don't put off getting a breathing problem checked out. 

Has life changed for me? Sure it has. I'm still processing this because I got home from the hospital only last week; I'm having to do the whole 'blood thinner' thing probably for a minimum of six months, more likely a year; and the scans have revealed that my lungs may have yet more going on than 'just' a clot. It is still unknown what kinds of lifestyle changes are in the future except that right now I have to be careful and not get cuts or bruises. 

Oh, well. It is what it is. Everyone has something, as my grandma used to say. I'm just grateful beyond words that 1) I live in this century...were it not for drugs like Warfarin, I would not have survived; 2) I received such competent and compassionate care in the hospital; 3) there is an awesome anticoagulant clinic here in my community. I'm also a person of Faith and this assures me that everything has a purpose under the sun.

And, here's the good news: I still get to go to BlogHer '14 in San Jose! I will enjoy it more than ever now. 

Linda C Smith, Artist and Writer



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