Pleurisy as an indicator of Pulomnary Embolism

Man, the days have flown past and I can’t keep up with them nor the events.  Last Sunday (August 12th) we left for Denver from home to go get the pickup we left for our daughter to use.  The pickup crapped out on her often enough she had to get reliable transportation.  This was the first chance we had to go get it.  Over the weekend, in Denver, Joe was feeling a bit odd.  He had some bouts of vertigo and was really wasted from the trip.  We got home really late Tuesday night (August 14th) and Joe was having some difficulty getting a deep breath.

Thursday (August 16th) Joe began to complain of pain in his right side just under his breast and that he couldn’t breathe.  He kept telling me he felt like he had cracked a rib. Trying to take a deep breath was extremely painful to him and he said his lungs felt like they couldn’t get air.  Joe had shortness of breath just getting out of his chair and standing up.  Taking a few steps to head in the direction of the bathroom was extremely difficult.  Not just with the pain but not being able to get air.  Joe said he kind of felt like he was drowning but that he wasn’t.

While in Denver he crawled around under our old pickup to disconnect the driveline and he really had trouble with it so I finished the job for him.  Joe and I talked for a while about what he could have done to hurt himself and neither one of us could figure it out.

Friday afternoon (August 17th) Joe was really complaining about his right side hurting.  I suggested we go to the doctor and get some x-rays done but he was not interested in doing that.  Sometime around 8:00 p.m. he was feeling worse.  I suggested a trip to the emergency room and was shot down.  Not knowing what else to do I began searching online for causes of chest pain in the rib area.  One of the search sites had a reference to Pleurisy.  I’d never heard of that before and had to go take a look.  Here is the link to Pleurisy if you want to know what it is.  By 9:30 that night Joe had taken as much as he could and finally called our Family Physician to make an appointment for the next morning.  The pain and not being able to breath was scaring the fool out of him and me.

Our Family Physician, Dr. Carlisle, is the best.  He’s an “old school” doctor that keeps up with all the new fangled stuff and has a network of other doctors that he works with and does referrals to specialists.  Dr. Carlisle had Joe sit up in a chair and he began pushing and prodding in the area where Joe hurt on the front and on the back.  If it were, in fact, a cracked rib then Joe would have yelped from the pain.  Our doctor couldn’t find the source of Joe’s pain.  I happened to have a look at Dr. Carlisle’s face while he was examining Joe and the concern there was getting me a bit panicked.

Joe had some really odd smelling breath.  Not like someone with bad teeth, you know, that kind of sickly sweet smell of an infection.  Joe’s breath had a coppery smell to it.  Kind of like he had blood in his mouth.  When I mentioned that to our doctor he said he noticed it also.  The breath smell and the chest pain were enough indicators for Dr. Carlisle to give me strict instructions to get Joe to a local heart hospital.  Our doctor called ahead to alert them we were coming and to have one of the doctors he knows get a look at Joe.

Once at the hospital the tests began.  Blood was drawn, or attempts had been made.  Joe is a “Bad Stick”, which means that Joe’s veins are not only hard to find, they have a tendency to move around once one is found.  After four attempts, both arms and both hands, the nurse had to make a call to the “Big Kahuna”.  This young man came to the room with a sonogram machine of sorts.  It is ultrasound in nature but is meant to find the blood veins and arteries.

Watching the screen while the young man moved the wand around Joe’s arm was a trip.  The screen image looked like the surface of the ocean with waves coming in.  As the wand was held in a particular area a black hole would appear.  Moving the wand a bit more there would be another black hole that would open and close.  At a different angle the hole would turn into a winking eye.  Take a look at the video link and you will see what I saw.

Once the IV catheter was in a chest x-ray was taken.  After that was accomplished Joe was taken to a room where he would be for the next four days.  The next round of testing would be an ultrasound of Joe’s legs.  His heart specialist wanted to have this done to see if there were any blood clots in Joe’s legs.  It was suspected that he might have some.

Ultrasound on Joe's legs

After this procedure was done the next was a CT scan of Joe’s chest and lungs.  A contrast (die) was injected into Joe’s arm through the catheter to aid in seeing the blood clots and where they were located in Joe’s lungs.  The radiation tech wheeled Joe out of the room, after administering the contrast, and about 20 minutes later Joe was back.

The blood drawn earlier Saturday morning was in the lab.  There were proteins in Joe’s blood that did indicate blood clots.  The ultrasound results were that Joe didn’t have clots in his legs, and the CT scan did clearly show (according to the doctor) blood clots in both of Joe’s lungs.  We learned this on Sunday (August 19th).

If you, or a family member, have any of these symptoms – pain in the chest that won’t go away and difficulty breathing – don’t mess around.  Get your butt to the doctor.  Seriously!  This is nothing to play around with.  Blood clots in the lungs can be dislodged and moved into the heart causing a heart attack that could prove fatal.  If a blood clot in the lungs is dislodged and makes its way to the brain this will ensure a stroke that could be life threatening.

I’m not trying to scare anyone with this post.  I’m trying to educate you in this matter and give you the best information I can for your doctor to diagnosis your symptoms and start proper treatment.  Tomorrow I’ll go into the blood thinners used to treat the blood clots.

One bit of general information I have learned in all of this concerns your prescription drugs and the vitamins you take.  If your prescription drugs are taken once a day, take them in the morning on an empty stomach – unless you have some drugs that require food.  Take  your vitamins at night before you go to bed with a little bit of something to eat.  Your body will break down only about 3/4 of the vitamins and the rest will leave in waste.  If you take your vitamins in the morning you won’t get the potency you need for a healthy body.  You will excrete the vitamin benefits during the day in your urine.  Taking the vitamins at night, before going to bed, will enable them to remain in your system longer and benefit you more.  This is ONLY with vitamins you take.  Take your prescription drugs as indicated by your doctor.

I think this is enough for one sitting.  I’ll give you some more tomorrow.  Aren’t you just so excited by that prospect?!

Chicken Cacciatore recipe from is linked {here}.

Chicken Cacciatore

Onions, green peppers, and dried herbs make this pretty tasty

The pasta noodles are those nasty things that are more fiber and better for us.  They are tough and chewy even after 12 minutes of cooking time.  That is the only drawback to this recipe.  Joe didn’t even notice the lack of salt used in his food.



About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

4 responses to “Pleurisy as an indicator of Pulomnary Embolism

  • gardenpinks

    I have never tried Chicken Cacciatore but have done a beef one using minced (ground) beef and bacon. We always serve ours with rice as Rod is not partial to pasta, so try brown rice next time Leslie.
    We rarely take vitamin tablets as we have quite a good balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables – yuk!! Do dislike veggies but eat what is necessary 🙂
    Rod has to take meds for hypertension and one of the meds is for fluid retention which drives him nuts; if he takes his meds at night then he spends most of the night getting up to pee so disturbing his sleep and if he takes them during the day he is constantly in and out of the bathroom which is a pain when he is up a ladder trying to replace the guttering! Getting old comes with quite an inconvenience tag!!

    Forgot to say in reply to your last post that Joan will have to take the warfarin for the rest of her days but bless her she is now in her 80s.

    Love and hugs to you both
    Lynn xxxx

    • Message In A Fold

      I will try rice with the Chicken Cacciatore the next time. The real stuff uses the dark meat of chicken. Legs and thighs. I’m not a fan of dark meat and used one large breast instead. It was pretty good with all the spices and herbs.

      I think I lean more toward the vegetarian side of the scale than the omnivore. There are some meats that I just won’t do, at all.

      Poor Rod and his diuretics. I saw a quote a couple years back, can’t remember who said it. “Getting old ain’t for sissies!” Ask him if he would like a writing assignment. Maybe a short poem or essay on his bladder adventures. I bet it would be awesome. I may have to go empty mine before reading it though 😀

      Your friend, Joan, probably gets sick of her visits to the doctors to get blood drawn. The rest of her days could be quite a lengthy time. Good for her that she has kept going all these years.

      Love you – Leslie

      • gardenpinks

        Now I am very much a carnivore 🙂 If I don’t have meat then I haven’t had a meal but wish I could like more vegetables. I quite like most vegetables in soups and in the winter I make a lot of soup. The daft thing is with Rod’s meds is that the two that he has to take for hypertension both contain diuretics, so he is hit by a double whammy! I shall put it to him about writing a funny poem! Love and hugs Lynn xx

      • Message In A Fold

        Poor Rod! He must have a path worn right round your house, up the steps, and through the house. :-(. I bet trips away from home involve routes with either dense foliage or public restrooms within an easy drive. Poor soul.

        How are you fairing after the heavy gardening you have been doing. I hope you are not over sore. Has Rod been able to tackle the maintenance work he’s set for himself?

        When your estate agent works up a sales brochure for your home will one be posted online? If so, please send me a link to it.

        Love you – Leslie

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