I’m an artist, and I was editing and spending long hours working with few breaks. In addition, I didn’t get up on my last flight from Washington, DC to Los Angeles.
Prior to traveling, I noticed swelling in one leg, but I ignored it. Upon my return, I took a one-mile walk that normally takes 15-20 minutes. It took over 40 minutes because I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. Doing simple daily tasks made me feel like my lungs were about to explode, and I had heart palpitations. Yet, I ignored the signs and attributed it to my age.
Eventually, I could barely make it up the stairs. I shared this with a friend who I happened to be on the phone with at the time. I told him my breathing had quickly deteriorated upon my return from DC.
He could hear the distress in my voice and encouraged me to call the doctor because he thought it sounded very much like a blood clot in the lungs.
I agreed, and 40 minutes later, I was in the ER receiving life-saving treatment. My heart was in distress, my breathing had declined and, according to the doctors who helped me, I was critical, and they were glad I came in.
I was given blood thinner injections in my belly. I am so grateful to be alive and to have had a conversation with my friend, who remembered the symptoms of a blood clot from his army days.
Now, I move every hour. I also use compression socks and listen to my body.
Artists have a tendency to get in our zone and ignore the value of exercising. I often would work from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. the next day. No project is worth losing your life over. It’s OK to take a break and come back to a project with a renewed focus. And don’t ignore your body’s cry for help.