Somber.I Thought It Was Getting Better?
Last Update: May 20, 2016
Today, history repeated itself and I wanted to write this as a tribute to one of my patients that passed away yesterday...
It was approximately 9 years ago. I was treating a patient in the home setting focused on cardiac rehabilitation after he had heart bypass surgery. He went to his final cardiac surgeon appointment earlier in the morning and received a "clean bill of health." In celebration, he and one of his sons went to eat a pancake breakfast before returning home for me to complete his discharge Physical Therapy visit with recommendation for the next level of cardiac rehab in an outpatient setting.
We had an excellent visit. We walked around outdoors--the weather was brisky as Thanksgiving was in about 1 week--and he even picked a white rose off his rose bush for me before we went indoors. Upon returning indoors, he said, "Hey, go ahead and start writing my discharge note. I am going to go blow my nose and will be back in a second." Taking longer than I expected, I went to check on him as he was walking around the corner. He smiled, his face went blank, his eyes literally went lifeless, and he collapsed on me as I caught him. I immediately initiated CPR while his wife activated the emergency response system. Within 4 minutes the ambulance, sheriff department and fire department were all in place. However, despite all efforts, my patient was gone...Literally gone in a matter of seconds. Later on, the wife called and informed me that he had an undetected blood clot in his lungs (pulmonary thrombosis) that dislodged (embolized) and went to his heart.
I was called by my patient's family today stating, "Shawna after you left yesterday. He had the best day ever. He was getting into his wheelchair with very little help, he got to sit out on the porch twice to enjoy the rainy weather, ate homemade soup, and was doing really good. Then around 7:30 pm he looked like he was going into cardiac arrest. I have never seen anyone have a heart attack, but he was gone in seconds. When EMS arrived, they told me he most likely suffered a pulmonary embolism (PE)."
I am not writing this to be a Debbie Downer. I am writing this to inform caregivers about pulmonary embolisms because the loved one called me and was devastated with feelings of regret and believing she had done something wrong. Blood clots can be undetectable or they can have symptoms--especially if they are in the legs. Blood clots that are attached and not traveling are called thrombi or thrombosis. However, blood clots "on the move" are termed an emboli or embolsis. Blood clots on the move are lethal when they enter the lungs, heart, and brain. It is scary, but like the EMS personnel informed the family, it would not have mattered if we were RIGHT HERE when the PE hit...he was gone before he hit the ground.
I pray you or your loved ones NEVER witness this kind of situation. However, please do not play the blame game--Neither you nor anyone here on Earth, can change or save someone from PE. Second, PE's are deadly and it only takes seconds--one second life is there and the next second it is gone with no warning and no PAIN. Third, life is precious so don't take it for granted because it can be gone in the blink of an eye. Live life to the fullest--You only get one life to live!
I wish you the best of life, abundant health, and blessed moments.
If you are interested in learning more about blood clots or my experience with the signs and symptoms of dying, please stay tuned for my upcoming blog. I realize these are not fun topics, but I want to help and prepare anyone facing these possible situations with some advice and support.
Shawna,thanks for sharing this experience with us,it's a well written and heartfelt post,and we should all be grateful to have you as a member of our community.Your website is a great example of what Kyle and Carson are teaching us about helping people find solutions to the problems they are facing.
I am so grateful for your kind words and support. I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for your service as I noticed you have 3 websites and 1 is highlighting veterans. I can't possibly thank you enough for your sacrifice, discipline and service. My cup overflows with your warm words. From the bottom of my heart, thank you again, ~Shawna
Shawna, your article brought tears to my eyes!
My grandma that I've never had a chance to meet died from a stroke but they said it was a PE that caused it. She went for a massage that day, and we believe that triggered it.
I hate getting a massage. I only like scalp massage and reflexology.
I am not enjoying getting a massage because in my subconscious mind I go back in time, and I blame it. My grandma died two months before I was born and she has been waiting to see me with great joy as I would have been her first girl grandchild.....
My dear friend, I feel for you. Thank you for your story and your warm response. I am so proud of you for knowing your GMom is waiting for you! Bless you friend. I have not tried reflexology but it is on my bucket list to try at least once. I want to thank you again for sharing.
My deepest regards and prayers go to you and your loved ones, ~Shawna
Shawna ~ You are an amazing woman with a beautiful heart and soul. It is always difficult to lose someone that you know and care about. I know how difficult it is seeing my mother pass away only one month ago. Take care ~ hugs
Oh my I extend my condolences to you for your mom. I greatly appreciate you sharing your loss with me. I'm truly honored. Thank you so much for the virtual hugs--I am extending hugs to you as well. Hang in there friend! Thank you again for sharing, ~Shawna
This is important information. Thanks for sharing. Also thanks for being a great caregiver.
Thank you for your beautiful compliment. It really touches my heart. I love helping and sometimes our loses lead to the greatest blessing. Hard to feel that way initially but I am gradually smiling again. Thank you again, ~ Shawna
Sorry for the loss of your patient but thanks for being there for them Shawna and for this valuable info on PE.
End of life situations affect most of us at one time or another and trying to make sense of things (and take blame for them) isn't productive to the spirit nor one's mental health.
Isn't it nice to know that someone's last moments and thoughts were happy? That has to be a blessing.
Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and your warm condolences. Even through our dreariest moments sunshine pierces through. I hope I can help through my experience, success and even losses. I greatly appreciate your comments and support. With sincere gratitude I wish you a great weekend, ~Shawna
Thanks for sharing this important info, Shawna, and your experience!
Don't know if it helps imminently, but as a preventative measure drinking enough fluids and excercising daily can keep the blood thin enough and flowing.....
And of course, watching that cholesteral.....vital thing in our modern dieting.....
Great message, much appreciated.....
Hello dear friend, thank you for your encouragement and wonderful advice. I highly recommend daily mobility and proper hydration/nutrition because our ability to walk is a use it or lose it situation. God has a greater plan and takes us home without warning. I just need a warm reminder sometimes and you provided me with what I needed. Thank you so much! Warmest regards for your comment, ~Shawna
Long ago, my mom had a PE. She thought my brother-in-law pulled something when he danced with her. She was lucky to have survived that. Later on, she was also a cancer survivor. Oddly, it was a fall that took her life.
Thank you for sharing this, Shawna
Oh my gracious what an experience you insured with your Mom! From surviving so many hurdles to a fall--wow! You and your mom are an inspiration for persistence and beating the odds. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am so honored. My day is brighter and easier having read your story and I appreciate it so very much. With my ultimate gratitude, thank you again, ~Shawna
I was only able to let out a sigh as I was reading this article. It's packed with important life's lessons from the standpoint of reality. Thank you for sharing your experience and for the poignant reminder - live life to the fullest - you only get one life to live.! How true.
Thank you again.
Dear friend, thank you so much for reading, commenting, and putting a smile on my face! In my heart of hearts I can't thank you enough! Have a blessed weekend and thank you so much for your kind and encouraging word, ~Shawna
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Hi Shawna, I definitely learned something today thank you very much for sharing. You have painted a very clear picture. I have had a family member that suffered the same thing, very enlightening sometimes we do not understand.