In January 2021, I woke up in the middle of a Sunday night feeling like I needed to put ice water on my body. As I carried the glass of ice water back to bed, I suddenly found myself struggling to make it to the couch. What seemed like minutes later, I woke up with glass everywhere and my foot bleeding.
I had never passed out before, so I wasn’t quite sure what had happened. After returning to bed, I became winded as if I had run a marathon. The next day, I assumed I had COVID. I immediately drove to urgent care but tested negative.
After two more days of passing out, coughing, and feeling winded, I returned to urgent care. I thought I must have COVID and perhaps I tested too soon. But I was told my oxygen levels were too low and I needed to go to the hospital immediately.
At the ER, I was diagnosed with pulmonary emboli (PE). A doctor told me I had massive clots throughout both of my lungs. The doctors administered a “blaster” to break it up. I remember the physicians staring at me in amazement, stating that it was a miracle I survived all the syncopal (fainting) episodes.
But what they didn’t know is that I am a survivor and it just wasn’t my time. I was prescribed apixaban (Eliquis) for one year. Today, I take an aspirin daily. I am forever grateful for the breath of life because having it snatched just for a moment is humbling.
In terms of risk factors, doctors found a mass on my uterus while I was being treated for the PE, which may have been the cause. I had a hysterectomy three months later.
Now, I walk almost daily and I’m very conscious of my diet. Although I am asymptomatic, I have learned to listen to my body. Reading other stories has helped me. Also, I’ve made sure not to let the PTSD of the experience control me.