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I had known I was going to die, I would have made my bed and head better.
Monday night is my regular Spin Stationary Bike date. I usually have 2 or 3
during the week.
One hour of biking indoors, with music and direction from an instructor. That night I liked
both this instructor’s music and him.
Screaming is not motivation. It is just
screaming, like a person out of their mind.
Well, I never expected to die that day, but I did. But, thankfully, not for
As a lifelong exercise person, I have
always been active. My early life included boxing, swimming, biking, base, and
basketball, with tennis and table tennis thrown in.
(secret-I was very competitive in table tennis and boxing, where I could not
allow myself to lose)
I was part of running clubs for ten
years with all kinds of road series, from 2.5k up to a marathon.
Let’s say I ran at a leisurely pace.
I am not competitive. I just want to
play. It is good to win, but I can handle a loss.
More or less, ten years ago, I was
diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis. (blood clot)
Don’t let the big words throw you, it is a killer and has been nicknamed the
Silent Killer, as you might not have any outward signs that is coming.
It is easy to diagnose after someone is
dead, however. The medical world estimated that 1 of every 1000 can be
My hospital emergency room said that
people in my state have about a 2% chance of living. 10 to 30% would die within
the first month after a clot breaks free. Many that live will have a repeat
within 10 years. One of the emergency room techs had to come up and see herself
where I had lived the day after moving to the hospital.
Where the clot forms and breaks from are crucial.
The highway path is from your lower legs
to your lungs, which could result in a Pulmonary Embolism.
Or, it can hit your heart after beginning the heart attack process.
Or, it can travel to your head to give you a stroke.
None of these three is good for you. They
are all dangerous and maybe life-threatening.
Did you ever know anyone that took a
long airplane flight and had a stroke or dropped dead an hour after the flight?
That was quite possibly DVT and went undiagnosed.
I don’t smoke or take steroids (which adds
to the potential). I do take vitamins and mineral supplements, and exercise. I
have a very high good cholesterol count, average overall. My resting heart rate
is generally below 60, and my blood pressure is usually on the good side of low.
“For my Age!” I am healthy.
Why am I telling all of you this?
To scare you from taking Spin Class?
I am recounting this because you might have the potential to die from it and
never know of it.
If you are reading this, I hope it
causes you to read more and learn, and the next time you go to your doctor,
talk to them about your potential for DVT.
I was lucky. I knew I had the potential.
It does not just pick out old white men like the cable news. It picks on
everyone, young, slim or not.
All kinds of factors feed into this, including blood chemistry, so adding
certain things to your body can make clotting in the blood more likely. Recent
surgery, hormone addition, and steroids cause a blood chemistry change that
might affect your potential.
Physical attributes like how long your
legs are, the size of your feet. The physical attributes can add to the blood
pooling in your lower legs or feet, which is bad. But factors like your family
background, DNA, and a proclivity to clot are also factors.
So, before a long airplane flight, I put
on pressure socks, take my blood thinners, and plan on moving those feet during
Now, back to my dying.
The class was an hour and was near the
end within moments. I had an excellent warm-up and was pushing my limits.
According to witnesses, I fell off the bike like a bag of rice. I hit my head
on the adjacent bike and went down. The instructor first thought it was a head
injury and started treating me for that until he noticed I was not breathing.
I am lucky that that club has portable
paddles to shock and allow the heart to beat again. Again, I was fortunate that
that club attracted an assortment of doctors, nurses, EMTs, fire safety, etc.
So, depending on who you talk to, I had
no pulse from 5 to 14 minutes. That is easily brain-damage territory. I am
leaning towards the lighter time since I am obviously coherent.
But the paddles and CPR were applied
quickly, and the ambulance arrived in less than 14 minutes. I have no doubt the
ambulance ride was another abusive operation trying to keep this sick puppy
alive, followed by the emergency room.
I lost myself Monday at 6:30 PM and did
not regain it until Wednesday at 2 PM, when I was in a different place filled
with pain and what the hell happened?
Additionally, aggressive CPR generally
breaks bones. In my case, it is very likely how the clot in my lungs was
finally broken up via very aggressive CPR action. Most of my pain came from the
sternum area where they would have applied the back of hands and muscles trying
to get and keep the heart beating.
Have you ever had Charlie Horse in your legs? You know, those muscle spasms
that catch you in the middle of the night with complete pain that takes minutes
to go away?
Medical personnel kept saying my Sternum
would be “sore.”
Sore is when you notice you strained something.
What I felt stopped my breathing, and thinking,
and caused me to try to scream.
This was not “sore.”
I had Charlie Horse activity to my Sternum
for the next four days. It was excruciating, lasting minutes while I tried to
scream. Heavy-duty pain pills did NOTHING.
According to my wife and friends that
saw me soon after the event in the emergency room, they could not recognize me
by my face. My wife had to use the scars on my feet to know it was me.
I met half a dozen doctors scratching
their heads, while pulling every test they could think of.
Heart – perfect, no damage, better than
Brain – ok, it would never be perfect, but appeared to be mine.
Lungs – needed oxygen assistance.
Sternum – nutts in a vice controlled by someone else, was my best description.
By my 4th day, I had brought up DVT as a
possibility a couple of times. “yeah, we could probably run that
test.” But the Doctors did not.
But I think a lady doctor came in on my
fifth day. I repeated my concern, and it went from probably to yes, “we
will run that test.”
Doppler tech comes in looking down and a
bit angry. “What makes you think you know what a DVT is?”
“I had one diagnosed some ten years
“Whempf” was all he said.
He ran gel down my legs and began to
doppler the region of my inside right leg where my first painful symptom arrived.
“There is one clot, sure enough,
top of calf….there is another clot lower….let’s try the other leg.” 10
seconds in, “Well, there is another!”
I said, “Dude, you might have saved my life!” I said that because
the other doctors were stumped.
Doppler tech left out with his head held high but I bet he was calculating
whether I would live.
So, they ordered a chest scan, bimpo, and 2 more lung clots!
Now, we had a smoking gun. And all of the doctors had relief. My treatment went
from guesswork to pinpoint, and that is good, John boy.
In summary, we all need to learn more about DVT, whether a college kid, an
old guy, a young girl from India, etc. It can impact someone out of shape or in.
It can impact a long-distance airplane flyer or the couch potato.
I lived because of quick reaction when the clock alarm sounded from a CPR heavy
Ignorance will cause an aftermath of pain, and the aftermath is huge.
Please do not be ignorant!
2 thoughts on “Dying to Spin to the DVT Express”
Henry! I am so thankful that you are alive! Whoa! I just read your ramblings and I am so grateful that you shared your life altering experience. We were all terribly worried about you. Please keep us updated with your recovery and take care of yourself; and we are all looking forward to seeing your smiling face in the future.
Woogie Sent from my iPhone
Today, I was able to walk and talk and type. Yesterday, nope
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