I had abdominal surgery in July 2020 and had a difficult recovery. I could barely move. On Sunday, October 18, 2020, I woke and showered. I was home alone — my wife was visiting her brother. While climbing the stairs back to our bedroom, I became extremely short of breath.
Despite that, I made my way to the basement to do one last load of laundry. Again, while climbing the stairs, I couldn’t breathe. I called my wife and she told me not to wait for her as she was still two hours away. I called 9-1-1 and the medics began treating me for a cardiac issue.
Once in the ER, the doctor decided to do a chest CAT scan. By this time, my wife had arrived. The doctor came into the room with a very strange look. She informed us that they knew what was wrong. I was thinking COVID or pneumonia. But she told us that I should be dead because I had bilateral pulmonary emboli that were overflowing. My right heart ventricular was swollen and not functioning.
I was immediately placed on a stroke protocol. Twenty-four hours later, I was sent to the cath lab and underwent an EKOS procedure to dissolve the clots. I awoke in the cardiac ICU and was released three days later.
I have since had an additional PE and have been diagnosed with two factor V markers. I am now on blood thinners for life.
In addition to my clotting disorder, my abdominal surgery and hospitalization are believed to have been contributing factors. My family members are scheduling appointments to be genetically tested.
My advice to others is to take action when you have unusual symptoms following a surgical procedure. Also, please make sure you move around, as hard as it may be. Move.