Still Alive

Here I am, almost a year out from my Bi-Lateral Saddle Pulmonary Embolism that, if left untreated, could have taken my life. I spent a month in the hospital (26 days actually, to be exact), from ICU to medical floors, transferred to two hospitals, here I am, that girl; the friend, the daughter, the horsewoman, the dog lover, the writer, the artist, the person who is beginning to not only recovering from a life altering medical emergency but one who is finding herself through it.


I have a multifaceted case (well, let’s start this out with: who doesn’t) of PTSD. Not only trauma based childhood stuff, but complex relationship with medical uncertainties. Tying into my OCD, the genuine fear that something is wrong surges adrenaline through my system, kicking that OCD into gear—If you do X then Y won’t happen. If you do A, B won’t happen. Largely, this has followed suit of me obsessing over small health issues that, because of such life threatening ones I’ve experienced, manifest into obsessive compulsions to fix the situation. Generally, it goes like this:


Something feels wrong. FEELS wrong. I have a multitude of health issues as it is, including a very intricate, incredibly rare Areterious Venus Malformation (AVM) of my left femoral artery, transversing the femur bone, which takes up much of my left thigh. They believe that this, paired with the recent port placement I had, lead to the pulmonary embolism. Amidst the leg issue, I have an autonomic nervous system dysfunction where my body cannot regulate its heart rate and blood pressure, often ending in me passing out or falling. Oh, and while we’re on falling, lest us not forget the two TBI I have sustained, one while riding my horse, fracturing my occipital (back of the skull) and the other, with a migraine, splitting open the side of my head as I fell into a door passing out. So, it is not without reason for my deep fear of death and dying, or at least, having a medical complication arise that is completely out of my control.


But, one may ask, especially after reading much of this blog—have you not spent so much of your life trying to take it? Well, yes, I suppose. On my terms, though, and in some weird way that makes it all different. I will say, being on a vent and waking up from it changed me. I never want to get to that place again, for fear of truly being gone, and leaving all my loved ones behind to clean up the mess that I so thoroughly fought to make.

The OCD/PTSD manifested itself in becoming the most frequent of flyers at the local trauma center emergency department—I’m known by my first name as soon as I walk in the door, nothing to be proud of, in fact, I’m so ashamed each time I enter, but the shame I feel is nominal compared to that of the distress I’m experiencing, and I sometimes, often times, wish I could express this to those who treat me. That I don’t WANT to be in their ED, but the fear is so strong it overrides any shame I have in being there.



Bilateral Pulmonary Embolism

On July 1st, 2017, I was once again (I say once again as you’ll learn later about prior health conditions) plagued by tachycardia (fast heart rate) of a sort that made my body tremor. 250 bmp. Unbelievable. I didn’t think it could be true and watched my pulse ox steadily flash its bright red numbers. I laid down in hopes to lower my heart rate but it’d drop into the low 30’s. I couldn’t win.

I knew something was very wrong. I felt like I was going 100mph in my car on the freeway and then, out of nowhere, a cliff lay just feet ahead and try as I might to sink my foot into the break peddle, the car would skid and screech and twist but it continued to approach the cliff at alarming speeds. Or as others note- “impending sense of doom”. I was convinced the world was going to end soon.

Sharp pain severed my side and sudden intense shortness of breath hit me like someone had beaten my stomach. Then vomiting came with the intense pain. Now, the car was so close to falling off that cliff.

I finally managed to grab someone’s attention (re: I live in an assisted living environment with adults, most of which are conserved, who struggle with their mental health. I, though not conserved, struggle immensely with an all encompassing depression and anxiety, PTSD flashbacks and severe suicidal thoughts and previous attempts and self injurious behavior). Slowly, we got into the van and headed to the hospital for the FIFTH time, though now per request of my doctor we are going to a different hospital.

I walked in, sheer panic written across my face. I was seen in triage immediately. I could not sit I was in so much pain, riddled by such overwhelming anxiety, tears plummeting down my face, writhing in my seat– car was inches away from doom.

They quickly put me in a room, sent me to CT, gave me dilaudid for the pain, zofran for the nausea, and I started to get a little color back and come back to life

“Room 2 has a PE” I heard through the bustle of monitors and busy emergency room noises. I prayed I was not in room 2. I was tired. So tired. I wanted to go home.

The doctor walked in. I was in room 2. “Do you know what a PE is?” The doctor asked? To his surprise I said yes. I am familiar with PE’s only  because I was made familiar with DVT’s per a pre-existing congenital condition – an AVM (Arterial Venus Malformation) of my femoral artery that transverses the femoral bone. That was discovered about 2 1/2 years ago, and for another post entirely…… however, was worth an honorable mention here.

Bilateral pulmonary embolism. 26 days later and I’m home on Eloquis. Scary.  The hospital was difficult yet I learned so much about who I am during my near one month stay there, and I can’t wait to write more about it!


Ps here’s a neat article shared on one of my support groups about Pulmonary Embolisms


Blog at

Up ↑