Gnarly Old Guy Body Wrapper

Acute Pulmonary Embolism


That’s what the Doctor said, “Blood clot in your lung, lower right lobe.  I’m moving you to a bed in the Emergency Room until we can get you to a room on one of the floors.”


We’d already been sitting in one of the triage rooms since midnight, the initial triage had been done by a Nurse Practitioner and I didn’t follow what she had been saying, or was I in denial?  Gina would tell me later that the Nurse Practitioner pretty much nailed it without all of the tests, sounds like a blood clot.  She went to tell the Doctor.

He came right in, I was stunned, I thought there was a clause in the Doctors Union manual about delayed attention to patients.  He looked me over quickly, asked a few questions and then ordered a blood test, EKG, chest x-rays and potentially a CT Scan.  He asked, “Have you taken any medication?’

“Yes, a hydrocodone 500 at 11:00pm.  The reason we’re here is it didn’t help with the pain, it felt like someone was stabbing me when I tried to lie down in bed.”  It was starting to take affect now though.

He had a quizzical look on his face, you know the one dogs get when they look at you and tilt their head to the side, I swear he tilted his head. “What?”

“I’m sorry, a hydrocodone 5-500.”

“Oh, that’s makes more sense.  I’m going to give you some other medications right away.”

Off he went to order the procedures and order the meds for the nurse to dispense.  I start to drift off to sleep sitting in the chair next to Gina, leaning against her.  She nudges me awake as the nurse walks back in.  The nurse hands me a little cup with pills, I don’t recall how many now, but she mentions pain killer and I’m all over that.  The clown with the knife is still jabbing me, just not quite so energetically now.  I gulp the pills down and quickly drift back to sleep. Someone comes in and takes a blood draw for testing.

The EKG tech walks in and directs me to a gurney in the room. I lie down and he puts all the sticky pads on me in the places designated by his training, hooks me to the machine and runs it for about 30 seconds.  He removes everything and he’s off.

Next the X-ray tech come in, asks if I’m ready to take a walk and we’re off to the x-ray room.  He takes 2 full frontal chest shots and a side chest shot and I’m back to the triage room.  This time I move right to the gurney and lie down, within seconds I’m out cold asleep.  Gina tells me later that this was not a good time for her, my breathing was ragged and shallow.

GnarlyOldGuy on a gurney
It’s Not Pretty

The Doctor comes back to the room, Gina wakes me and the doctor tells me the blood test showed positive for a blood clot.  They needed to do the CT Scan now to confirm.

At some point the nurse comes back into the room and wakes me, time to put in an IV.  She stretches out my right arm, taps me on the inside of my elbow and says, “Great veins.” I’ve won a prize!  She inserts the IV and she’s off.

Next the CT Scan tech comes in and we take a long walk to the CT Scan room.  He puts me in the machine and asks me if I’ve ever had a CT Scan with contrast? I tell him yes, but he explains what to expect anyway and we are off.  He starts the machine whirling about and then begins the contrast solution.  I really have a dislike for CT Scans with contrast, the feeling you get as the contrast solution moves through your body creeps me out and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  We finish the procedure and I’m back to the triage room once again.

Shortly the Doctor enters and gives the final diagnosis.  I’m stunned, what’s beyond stunned?  I’m there.

I don’t remember how I made the transition from the triage room to the bed in the Emergency Room, did I walk, did they bring in a wheelchair?  I’m standing beside the bed taking off my shirt and putting on one of those stupid hospital gowns with more openings than a book of short stories.  The staff nurse lets me keep my pants on, thanks goodness.  Absolutely no one wants to see old man butt or the other items located within, I was appreciative.

So now I’m in a bed, I’m being admitted for the second time this year!?!?  That’s a story for later perhaps.

Gina is right there next to me the entire time, holding my hand, letting me lean on her, talking to me, helping keep me calm, because right now I’m wigged out.  Later that morning I realize, my wife saved my life.  Despite my stubbornness she put me in the car and drove me to the ER, I’m alive today due to her action and lovingly applied pressure to move.  I owe her everything above and beyond my love.

To be continued . . .

My name is David Briley and this is my blog.  The original intention was to do a lifestyle blog some time ago.  I love telling stories, and my wife, some of my friends and former employees told me I should step into this.  The above event and the follow up has motivated me to finally do it.  I’m beginning this by sharing a life changing event in my life.  An event that happened at the ripe old age of 61.  My intention is to share what happened, what followed and my plan for recovery.  After that, if you’re still with me, and I hope you’ll stay around, I’ll share other stories from my life.

I’ll also be sharing other things as well.  I love cigars but have never really taken the time to learn much about them, this one will have to wait, but once I completely recover I’ll be sharing about what I learn, sources for the learning and impressions of the cigars I smoke.

I also like good quality liquor, in mixed drinks as well as single ingredient.  Again, my knowledge level is basic at best, but I plan on enhancing that over time and sharing my journey there as well as what I am currently enjoying.

I’m sure as I move this forward there will be other things I will share with you my readers.

Please stay tuned for the next installment in Surviving an Acute Pulmonary Embolism.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you come back for more.

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