by David McElroy
Eight days ago, I went to an emergency room because I was having trouble breathing. Tests determined I have bilateral pulmonary emboli, which is just a fancy way of saying I have multiple blood clots in both lungs. I’ve been told that such clots kill 30 percent of those who have them before they’re even diagnosed.
I was very lucky.
I haven’t posted any new articles here in almost three months. I’ve known something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I’ve had extreme fatigue, lack of energy and a general feeling of full-time exhaustion. I woke up exhausted each morning. Just walking my dog a quarter of a mile would drain me. I’ve been doing the minimum I had to do to survive — and then simply collapsing at home.
I knew I’d gained weight lately from stress-eating, so I attributed the physical symptoms to weight gain and the mental lethargy to depression. But I now know that another problem was building, although it’s impossible to say when it started.
Blood clots in the lungs make it difficult for the body to absorb oxygen from the air we breath. The blood vessels in our lungs normally take oxygen from the lungs and move it to the rest of the body. Since the blood vessels of my lungs were becoming more and more blocked, my body was having trouble extracting the oxygen from the air I was breathing and sending it to my brain and muscles and other organs. This accounted for the fatigue, both mental and physical.