Most everyone has heard about blood clots in the body going to the heart, causing a heart attack and death. Also blood clots in the body going to the brain causing a stroke and possibly death.
I need to do a disclaimer first before I go much further. This informational post is about a very serious illness that is happening to my husband. He is not contributing to my blog – other than being the one suffering with this illness – so I may get carried away and lose focus on the important stuff with bits of drama.
How does a person even get Pulmonary Embolism? It is not like the flu or cold. It is not contagious. It is a “lifestyle” issue. Fit and active or fat and inactive this can be a problem for anyone. We both fall in the fat and inactive sector. According to all the things I’ve been reading, and it has been quite a lot, PE can be caused by any one or more of the following.
- Any type of surgery followed by lengthy bed rest.
- Air flights longer than four (4) hours.
- Driving a vehicle for eight (8) or more hours without periods of stopping and walking.
- Severe altitude changes. Living in a low altitude environment then traveling to a much higher altitude environment and back down again.
- Having a job or lifestyle that is always sitting with no periods of walking or exercise.
- Being diagnosed with DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis. This is blood clots in the legs with swelling.
- Taking certain birth control pills.
Of the items listed above #7 would be least of our worries. On the other hand, if Joe felt it necessary and prudent to take birth control pills during our married life I would be concerned for his mental health. And while I’m on this jag….when Joe gets a new medicine to take I always read the information supplied from the pharmacy regarding the medication. I particularly pay close attention to the side effect section. In the past I have told Joe there is one side effect he needs to pay particular attention to and alert me when it happens so we can get immediate medical attention. What is that side effect you may ask. Vaginal bleeding.
The two internet sources I have found most helpful are: The Mayo Clinic; and Wikipedia. Each has good information to help understand what PE is. Each person has their own different onset of symptoms. One thing also to know is that blood clotting is a hereditary factor. In our case, Joe’s middle son was in the hospital last year for blood clots in his lungs so Joe inherited it from Curtis 😀
I’ll take the numbered items above and relate how they are contributors to Joe’s Pulmonary Embolism.
- Any type of surgery followed by lengthy bed rest. In 2005 Joe was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. That was a scare. Hearing that my Joe has cancer was not the best news I could have had. The treatment research fell to me and I scoured the internet. The best option, as far as Joe was concerned, was the DaVinci robotic surgery. I’ll leave a link to this just in case someone might be looking for information – just click on the DaVinci link. The surgery was scheduled for December 2007. There were some complications with the DaVinci method which meant the regular surgery was performed as well.
- Air flights longer than four (4) hours. Joe was a crop duster for over 25 years. He doesn’t fly airplanes because he doesn’t trust the pilots. This one doesn’t apply.
- Driving a vehicle for eight (8) hours or more without periods of stopping and walking. Our job is just that. The only exercise we get while working is during the 1-1/2 to 2 hours of hookup and unhook, walking from the fuel islands to the fuel desk to pay, parking at the hotels and walking to our rooms. Other than maybe a quick run into the truck stop for food or being able to stop at a regular restaurant in our deadheading, we sit all the time. The long hours of sitting with little or no movement is not good for any person. Sitting in a vehicle causes the blood in the legs and feet to work harder on the return trip to the heart. This is generally where blood clots begin to form.
- Severe altitude changes. Living in a low altitude environment then traveling to a much higher altitude environment and back down again. June and July we had our share of drastic altitude changes. Being in Colorado for work a couple times in those months was a contributing factor to Joe’s recent problem.
- Having a job or lifestyle that is always sitting with no periods of walking or exercise. All we do in our jobs is sit. Once we get the trucks hooked up we sit for a couple days for transport then delivery. We sit for long periods of time in our pickup doing the deadheading to new work. What do we do when we get home? Sit.
- Being diagnosed with DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis. This is blood clots in the legs with swelling. Our family doctor has been concerned with the swelling of Joe’s left foot and leg for about four years. He has had Joe on a daily aspirin regimen for a long time to thin his blood and help with the swelling in that leg and foot.
- Taking certain birth control pills. I wouldn’t have to work another day in my life if this item were the case 😀
As you can tell, five of the seven (7) most common factors of Pulmonary Embolism have contributed to what Joe is going through now.
Joe is now on a Warfarin treatment, which he has taken to calling “Rat Poison” pills. The common name of this drug is Coumadin. It is a blood thinner which will allow Joe’s body to breakdown the blood clots and dissolve them within his own system.
I’ll end today’s post with a breakfast recipe that is good for anyone taking Coumadin/Warfarin. It is for oatmeal and Joe has given an approval rating of 3 *’s out of 5. Mostly because the raisins were put in last and they were too chewy for him AND he couldn’t have half a stick of butter melting in the hot oatmeal nor swimming in milk.
Healthy Toasted Oatmeal. Check out the website if you are on a gluten free diet, are a diabetic, have GERD or acid reflux disease, or are lactose intolerant. Each recipe comes with a dietary fact box for calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins. Vitamin K and the Sodium content are the two things I have to watch closely now for the care and feeding of Joe.
I’ll not inundate you with tons of information about PE. I’ll give it to you in bits and pieces 😀
Hope you have a fantastic day. Get up and walk for three minutes. Right now – go do it. I don’t want you to be the next casualty to PE.