A reality check – Listen to the signs

Hi to all my readers,

It’s been almost a year since my last posting and even writing this post took me a long time to gather my thoughts. Normally my posts are full of snark and sarcasm with pretentious of humor. Today, I want to tell you that that will not cease after this post.. but for this post, let me tell you a story that hit home (like a ton of bricks). I ignored signals my body was giving me and it was almost disastrous.

A few weeks ago I fell ill and with a pulmonary embolism (PE) and was hospitalized. The PE was caused by blood clots in my left leg that traveled up both of my lungs and caused clots and causing the right side of of my heart to stop getting blood.. Of course this had a chain reaction and I would not be alive today, if I didn’t have the support of my girl friend (yes I can say that openly). She saved my life and Di deserves the recognition for this.

The worst thing of this whole story is that I ignored the danger signs when I was in NJ as well as when I was out of the country (In Cancun, Mexico). The signs of heart issues started a few month ago and of course they progressed. Over a period of 2 month when the first symptoms of my PE materialized and being the “macho man” I thought I was I ignored the swollen left leg and the inability to breathe after short durations of walking or any exertion. I was too self absorbed and felt I could power through it all. I could not have been any more wrong . If thing would have gone worse, I could have easily come back home not in a seat on the plane, but as a body being sent home. Not a pretty thought but it is what it is.

After I returned to my NJ home from my vacation , I resumed normal activities of work and my passion of tennis and walking. All the time, ignoring the warning signs that my body kept on telling me . I couldn’t walk much without discomfort and playing tennis was very difficult.. Of course in my warped and self absorbed mind, I was thinking “wouldn’t it be cool, if I took my last breath on the tennis court”. Yeah that’s me in a nutshell , self destructive even when I knew that something was wrong.

I went to work, tried to do my ten thousand steps a day and tried to power through the pain and discomfort. My girlfriend (who happens to be RN), noticed that I was laboring and she started to ask the right questions and then some type of light went off in my head, and I finally realized that I was in serious trouble.. The day before I was hospitalized, I was doing my normal after dinner walk in my complex and after walking less than 1/4 of a mile, I had to turn back with coughing, and inability to catch my breath.. as I lounged on my sofa, I was talking to Di and she was monitoring my labored breathing and had me monitor my BPM’s on my Fitbit (Everyone should have one!). Basically my Heart rate (BPM) were not coming below 115 – 120 and I was still having problems breathing.. I relented and I had a Venous Doppler done at a local hospital next day.

The doppler revealed clots in my left leg and an emergency CAT scan was done on my chest which revealed, massive clots on both my lungs. I was transferred to one of the 5 best hospitals in the US for treatment later that evening. NY Presbyterian hospital (NYP) in NYC. Being transferred to NYP saved my life and I thank all the doctors and nurses at NYP for the care they gave me over a period of 6 days to nurse me back from the brink of death to a person on the road to recovery.

The road to recovery will be a long one and I the more I try being Macho and trying to power through the ups and downs, I know it will take me longer to resume some level of normal activities. For me that walking 10,000 steps a day and being able to play tennis 2 to 3 times a week. Yet I do digress, as I tend to do in my postings..

I know I’ll be on blood thinners for a long time (if not for the rest of my life), as well as monitoring all aspects of my health. Not being a tough guy is going to take a while, but when your body says, “enough is enough”, you must listen, unless of course you have a death wish.

Over the past month, I realize the following lessons learned:

  • You ignore your heart and the signs your body is giving you. Our body is smart enough to give us basic indications that something is wrong. If you ignore these signs, you are only hurting yourself and your family.
  • Appreciate your friends and family when they want to help you. I kept to myself and didn’t let others in. This is not the way to lead your life. You have let others in that love you unconditionally.
  • Money will come and go, but how you utilize the money to make a difference in your quality of life is key.. Being a squirrel in life is ok, but are you going to take the money with you?
  • Watch what you eat, and do a balanced exercise regimen. Everything you eat has immediate and long term affects on your well being.
  • Thank god every day for watching over you. This is the most important lesson.

As I sit here and put up this post, I realize me changing my perspective is a long term goal, but every day, I’m taking small steps to make sure I’m around to enjoy life to the fullest. Also I want to live to see my kids have kids so they can experience the joys of parenthood as I have.

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