The near-death experience (part two).

Read part one here.

Before I came to, I remember that I was having a dream. I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but it was a pleasant dream.

When I woke up, I was laying on the floor of the lobby. My shoes were off; I never did figure out why. There were a few people standing above me. I felt better – not as short of breath.

I was, however, missing a contact lens. It must have flown out of my eye when I did the face-plant into the glass wall. I also realized that I had peed myself while I was passed out, which was somewhat embarrassing…but when you’re lying on the floor of an ER lobby and you don’t know what is wrong with you, you tend not to care about that kind of thing.

The nurse asked me if I could stand up. I felt OK, so I did. They put me in a wheelchair, and took me to a triage room. They asked me a thousand questions: Why were you coming to the hospital? I told them about my shortness of breath and racing heartbeat. Had I been sick recently? Nope. Do you have a history of syncope (fainting)? Nope. Had I taken any long flights or car trips lately? Nope.

Was I on birth control pills? Yes. (More on why that fact was so important later.)

That one question really got things moving. Apparently I was dehydrated, so I was given a saline IV and taken for an MRI. They also started me on blood thinner, based on a hunch from the doctor. I never experienced such fast service at a hospital. If you ever need attention at an ER fast – just pass out in their lobby. That’ll get you taken care of pretty damn quick.

About a half an hour after the MRI, the doctor came back in with the results. I had never seen MRI results come back that quickly. I will never forget his words as long as I live: “You need to know that this is a life-threatening situation.”

It turns out that I had massive blood clots in my lungs – “bilateral pulmonary embolisms”, if you want to be technical. What had started in my leg as a blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), had traveled up from my leg and through my heart, which responded to the clots by beating like crazy to try and move them through, hence the shortness of breath. The doctor said that, while I had probably knocked the clots loose from my heart when I passed out and hit the floor like a ton of bricks, the situation was very, very serious because these giant blood clots were now hanging out in my lungs, and you definitely don’t want giant blood clots hanging out in your lungs.

The thing was – aside from missing a contact lens, having wet pants, and a slight headache from my face-plant – I felt fine physically.

But although I felt fine, I was totally scared shitless. I was in the ER being told that I was in a life-threatening situation and my parents were 2 hours away. I had given the hospital my parent’s phone number, and the doctor called to tell them what had happened. I knew I couldn’t talk to them or I would start crying, and I didn’t want to make anything worse.

I felt like my parents got to the hospital in no time at all. I remember the doctor coming and talking to us about how normally they would give me a “clot-busting” drug that would make the giant clots in my lungs go away almost immediately, but because I had hit my head pretty hard before I passed out, they were afraid that I could bleed into my brain, which could kill me. So, instead, they would just pump me full of IV blood thinners so that the clots could dissolve slowly on their own.

That night, my parents and I sat in the ER and watched the finale of American Idol; it was the year David Cook won. My parents called my boss and my friends to let them know what happened and that I was going to be out of commission for awhile. There would be no Memorial Day weekend celebration, and I would not be attending any baby showers.

Not long after, I was wheeled up to Intensive Care. INTENSIVE CARE. Those two words really did it for me. You only went to Intensive Care if you were really, really sick.

This really WAS bad.


2 Responses to “The near-death experience (part two).”

  1. Becca Says:

    I’m really glad that you are sharing this story and I’m EVEN MORE glad that you are OK today and are so willing to share it. I’m anticipating part three, you must have been so scared with all of this going on, I can only imagine.

  2. Jill Says:

    I do recently had pulomary emboli. i had small clots in both of my lungs, not long after having my gall bladder out. i am too young. i’m 25.Blood clots do not discriminate and can happen to anyone

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