Well, on the Positive Side

I’m alive.

I was sprung from the hospital yesterday afternoon. My brain wanted to dance but the rest of me wanted nothing of it.

As I was about to leave, one of my cadres of doctors (I lost track at six), came into my room and told me I needed to have an MRI. “We can do it on an outpatient basis.” She explained what it was for, but my brain was already out the door. Apparently something on the last CT scan of my gut came back abnormal. My guess is they are looking for cancer. Twenty percent of blood clots are detected in people with cancer.

We’re having fun now!

I’ll blow the cancer bridge up if I come to it. For now I am focused on getting back to something approaching normality.

It was wonderful to see the house. It brought to mind the time my father, riddled with cancer, was driven to the emergency room over a decade ago. He looked out of the car window as it was backing out of the driveway. His face said, “this is the last time I’ll see my family and my house.”

He died a month later. In the house.

Once inside I played with my sprirometer. Basically, its a gauge that measures lung capacity in milliliters. I am supposed to be able to hit and hold the indicator at 3,250. I can barely sustain 2,000. I have a long, long way to go. My right lung is all effed up.

I took a shower. A glorious, long, hot shower. Before I got in, I took off the last of the gauze and tape from where blood was drawn on my arms. My right arm was one long, ugly series of bruises. The thinners are working, apparently. (The bruises don’t hurt at all, by the way.)

The doctors make its sound like this will happen.

Image result for dark knight monty python

Hasn’t happened. Yet anyway.

Last night my wife and kids and I went to see the Washington Wizards game. We slowly walked three blocks from the garage to the arena, then around the arena, and up a flight of stairs. By the time I was at my seat, I was huffing and puffing. Tears welled in my eyes. I still couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I felt like I was 85 years old.

The game was a welcome diversion. I forgot about my troubles for a few hours. The Wizards won in a romp.

The walk back to the car was much easier. I even drove home.

I slept in my own bed.

When I was in the hospital I was thinking that I’d be back on my feet in a matter of a few weeks, maybe 3 months. That’s probably really optimistic, even if the MRI comes back negative. And I think the prospect of getting off the blood thinners is out the window two. The doctors are assuming that I am a two time loser. That means I am at very high risk of recurrence if I don’t stay on the medication. There are worse fates.

One day at a time.

For now, I am super grateful to be at home for Christmas with my wife and kids.

Thanks again for all the well wishes.

Final note: Very, very big thanks to Chris Markiewitz, a friend from my Boston days who called me to tell me about his experience with pulmonary embolism. He said my experience is uncannily like his. “Give it time. It will get better. The blood thinner you are on does a great job of letting you get back to normal activity.” I can’t thank you enough for your call, Chris.




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