Disclaimer...... some of this post is past information that many of my readers know, by I am explaining again here for posterity's sake. Towards the end is newer information and an update.
Six and a half years ago, we had quite a shock. My husband Aaron was 26 years old and was in a serious car accident. Though the car was totaled, he was fortunate to walk away with seemingly no injuries. Several weeks later, he started having pain in his upper thigh. We both assumed it was a pulled muscle. At his young age, why would it be anything else?? However, it got worse instead of better. He was working on Friday January 2nd, 2004- one of the very few in his office that day. Most were still off for the holiday, but he wasn't able to. He called the doctor to make an appointment but he couldn't get in until Monday. He stood up out of his chair and tried to stretch the "pulled muscle" and immediately felt intense pain travel up through his body. He suddenly couldn't breath right and passed out at work. There was only one coworker who was even near him who heard him breathing funny and came to check on him and called the squad. That person saved his life that day! It turns out, he had had a huge blood clot brewing in his thigh and it was now a pulmonary embolism as a chunk of it had broken off and traveled to his lungs-many small pieces blocking most of his airways. He spent a week in the hospital and was lucky to have lived- we have known personally older people who have died of this! After leaving the hospital, he had to take Coumadin for 1 1/2 years to keep his blood thin to prevent any more clots or embolisms, but he was able to stop. He was young and otherwise healthy and so it was assumed it was caused by the trauma of the car accident. We even tried (though unsuccessfully) to go after the person at fault in the accident legally.
Fast forward 6 1/2 years.
Over the last several weeks, Aaron has been getting progressively short of breath. At first, he thought it was remnants of a cold and wasn't too concerned. But, as it progressively worsened, he went to see our family doctor 2 weeks ago. They did a lung x-ray, which came back clear, and the doctor felt that he had developed a "persistent seasonal allergy" and put him on an oral steroid, Claritin, and an inhaler. After that he had a few good days, but then it kept getting worse.
Saturday morning, he got up at 6 am to go to the bathroom and came right back to bed sounding like he had just been on a long walk- he could barely catch his breath. We decided something wasn't right and he would go back to the doctor on Monday. Sunday morning, we got up to get ready for church and he got in the shower. He got so short of breath, he started coughing like crazy and it was all he could do t0 finish his shower standing up. We knew this was bad. So, I took him to the ER. I think I was expecting they would find pnuemonia or something, maybe give him anti-biotics or something and send us on our way.
Ya, that would have been nice.
His blood oxygen level was about 90% and his resting heart rate over 100 bpm and his resting respitory rate around 30/min. They did another lung x-ray and this time DID find significant pnuemonia- but in a very atypical place for someone his age and otherwise good health. The doctor did a CAT scan because of his history with the previous pulmonary embolism. The doctor seemed quite surprised when he came back and told us he found "MULTIPLE BLOOD CLOTS in each lung!" So, basically the same thing all over again. He said the "pnuemonia" was either exactly that- caused from the clots being in there- OR it could be a certain kind of lung damage from the clots being in there- but either way, he got a couple doses of IV antibiotics at that point.
We didn't recognize the "signs" because they are so different from before. Before, he had gradually increasing pain caused by sudden shortness of breath and then blacking out. This time, there was no pain but a gradual increase of shortness of breath.
So, of course, we was admitted to the hospital and is being treated for the blood clots. He is on a heparin drip and taking Coumadin orally. They have taken multiple vials of blood to check for a clotting disorder and we are still waiting on the results, but it likely means he will be on Coumadin for the rest of his life. Though that is a little discouraging, if taking a pill a day means I get to keep my husband, then we will take it!!! The doctor came in today on rounds and was talking about how extensive the clots in his lungs are and that "if he were older, he probably wouldn't be here" now! They did a doppler scan on his legs to find the source of the clots, but all they found was the "old clot" from before-which is not a danger. But, the doctor said sometimes there is "new clot" mixed in with old that can be hard to see.
He said today that with how extensive the clots are, he is in no hurry to send him home. At this point, it may be Thursday or likely by Friday. I hope so! Our 12th anniversary is on Thursday!
And, as if this wasn't crazy enough- on Sunday evening, my dad picked up my kids and took them to his house in our van so I could stay with Aaron. When he got on the freeway, the tire blew out!! Luckily, he stayed safe and didn't get in an accident. He limped it to a nearby shop who put the spare on for him for FREE!! Yesterday, I took it to get a new tire on and that all worked well. It just felt weird to do myself because Aaron is our resident car expert and would normally deal with that. It was killing him sitting in the hospital unable to do it!
I seriously can not believe we are going through this again! Nor can I believe he has survived this twice when so many die from it- for that I feel so lucky and blessed and, despite this challenge, my prayers have been full of gratitude that he was spared once again. I told Aaron that God must have a reason for sparing him and that he must have a big mission to fulfill still!!!
Many have asked what we need and what they can do to help. The thoughts and prayers have been a huge help! We are doing okay and I think the biggest thing I have needed is help with childcare so I can be with him. I have been so fortunate to have so many generous family members and friends who have been helping me with this!
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