I can identify at least three other times in my life when I really ought to have ended up dead, but didn't ... so now that's up to four.
I've been in Northwestern Hospital since Tuesday afternoon, with Pulmonary Embolism.
On Sunday, coming back from the Newberry Library Book Fair, I had to stop (in the middle of a 3-block walk) to catch my breath ... I simply could not get any air. Now, being that I'm in not great physical shape, and it was hot, and muggy, and the air was thick with various spores and pollens, I notched this up to some aggressive allergic reaction. I was out and about the rest of the afternoon, and had no other problems.
Monday morning, however, I found myself having to pause about once per block (I have a 4-block walk to the subway, and a 2-3 block walk from the subway to work) to catch my breath. I was still thinking that it was just some allergy thing that would go away with the first thunderstorm. However, on the way home on Monday, I opted to take the El one stop further down to get to a stop with an elevator to street level where I could grab a bus home.
Tuesday morning was Hell, as I was having to stop, gasping for breath, wheezing, about every 30-40 feet of the 4-block walk to and 3-block walk from the subway. I really had to be in on Tuesday, for a 4-hour meeting with the clients for 3 major projects, but I'd called and made an appointment with my doctor back downtown for 3:30 ... which probably saved my life!
I made it through the meeting, got a ride to the El stop in Evanston, and got downtown (even spending money to take a cab from the El rather than wait for a bus). I was gasping and wheezing just from the walk in from the curb to my doctor's office. He listened to my chest, said my heart was racing, and hooked me up to an EKG machine. As soon as he saw the print-out from that he said "You're going into the hospital" and had his staff call an ambulance.
So, there I am, in the E.R., around 4:30pm, and they're trying to figure out what's wrong ... blood tests, chest x-rays, and eventually a CAT scan are run, with the latter showing "massive, multiple, bilateral" clots in my lungs, aka Pulmonary Embolism. When the head E.R. doctor came in to brief me on this he had a look on his face that said "Dude, you ought to be dead!", but he simply pointed out how fortunate I was, as a substantial percentage of folks would have just dropped dead in the street with episode on Sunday!
Anyway, got transferred up the ICU floor on Tuesday, spent Wednesday there, and then got transferred to the regular floors (where, conveniently, my Internist works) Wednesday night. I'm still hooked up to a heart monitor, and they're being pretty aggressive with "taking my vitals" (my blood pressure has been all over the chart), so I don't know when I'm getting out ... possibly tomorrow, with hypodermics to keep up my blood thinning meds until the pill version will kick in (it takes about a week to build up a functional level).
My boss came by to see me today and brought in a laptop for me to use, so I'm able to be on-line now.
The weird thing is that I'm feeling 95% fine, no pain, no dizziness, nothing "broken", nothing out of the ordinary unless I try to exert myself physically (at which point I get short of breath), so it's a strange sort of hospital stay!
Anyway, thought I'd update folks ... more details later.