Sunday, November 9, 2014

11/8/14 - The day I almost died

So . . . I'm on 'vacation' at St. Luke's . . . Unfortunately, this isn't an island in the Carribean. Instead, it's perhaps the best heart hospital in the world (where the first heart transplant was done).  The staff here is great, but I've told my wife that I don't think we should book this 'resort' next year!

But there's a good reason I'm here. Saturday morning, I was in bed, trying to recover from the flu, when suddenly my wife alerted me that one of our cats - the adventurous Japanese bobtail, Priscilla - had escaped through the bathroom window.  So, of course I jumped up, and ran outside to catch her.  It was a quick and easy retrieval, and in no time, I had her back in our bedroom .  . .

But as soon as I did, my heart suddenly felt 'out of control' I was big-time panicked . .  . I couldn' t breathe right and I was light headed.  I tried to focus my mind on getting my heart back to normal.  I didn't know it at the time, but the right side of my heart was desparately trying to push blood past a major 'saddle' pulmonary embolism.

Thankfully, my heart eventually won this little battle, and instead of failing (heart attack), it finally managed to push the blood through the blockage.  So, at that point, being a stupid, stubborn man, I thought, It's over, I'm okay.

My wife, being a brilliant and protective woman, suggested that we go to the ER. But of course, I said, "It's over now, I'm okay". But I'm curious by nature, and I kinda wondered what the hell had happened to me. So after thinking about it a little longer, I said, "Let's go ahead and go to the hospital so they can run tests and maybe tell us what the heck that was . . . "

Came to St. Luke's ER and they were great, took me right in . . . This the hospital where the first heart transplant was done . . . THE place to be in my situation. They asked a bunch of questions and did tests. As soon as I got back fron the CT Scan, the ER Doc came running into my little room and said, "I don't want to scare you, but the radiologist just called me and said,"is he still breathing?"  ER doc said, "You have multiple pulmonary embellisms . . . In both lungs and a major one in the 'saddle' (the split between right and left lungs).  You're lucky to be alive! A lot of people die from just one embollism and your lungs are full of them!" The attention level went up right away, and I got a 'free room upgrade' (to ICU) . . .

Since then we've found out that I have a "very long" blood clot in my left thigh that apparently broke off a piece, which ended up lodging in the 'saddle' between lungs, and then pieces broke off into each lung.

The current plan is that at about 6:00 tonight, they will operate  and infuse TPA, which should dissolve the clots.  Vitals are good, outlook is good. I will be receiving TPA for 24-48 hrs, and blood thinner for 6 months to the rest of my life.

I know the headline was a little dramatic . . . Believe me, when an ER doctor says, "You're lucky to be alive", it FEELS a little dramatic!

So, wish me luck . . . If you've actually read this far, thanks for caring, and I love you all!


  1. Jeff, By the time you read this, you will already be recovering from your surgery. I hope all went well and will say a prayer for a speedy recovery. It was not your time to go young man! You need to stay here, and entertain the likes of us a little longer! Fee better soon! Hugs...

  2. Wow! So glad that you came to your senses and acquiesced to your wife's intelligent decision. I will continue to pray for you.

  3. I don't know you, but I care. God bless you!

  4. So glad you went to make sure all was fine, saved your life! God still has plans for you! How are you doing now?

    1. Much better, thank you!
      Sorry, I posted a link to this on Facebook and I've been updating there . . . I didn't even think that people would respond directly here!
      More updates:
      Thank you!