BSB #94.   Almost Died Last Week

Pulmonary Embolism--Killer Clot in the Lungs
by J. Morris Hicks

After a lengthy flight back from Iceland on May 31, followed by some heavy lifting on June 1, I began to notice a severe shortness of breath, dry mouth and a loss of appetite for the next few days. On June 5, I drove from New Jersey to our Vermont home by myself, thinking that I would give myself a few days of rest.

Unfortunately, the shortness of breath got worse--so bad that it actually crossed my mind (for the first time in my life) as I crawled into bed that night, that I may not wake up the next day. Thankfully I did wake up on June 6, and had only one thing on my to-do list that day--driving myself (25 minutes) to the E.R. at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Thank God I went to the E.R. when I did. After lots of tests,  by mid-afternoon they had diagnosed my problem as a large blood clot across the top of both of my lungs--a clot known as a "Saddle PE." I then spent the next three days in an intensive care room where my vitals were monitored 24/7 as I gradually came to grips with just how close I had come to death.

Now for the good news. After hearing from my doctors about the deadly nature of the Saddle PE, I suspected that my WFPB diet-style for the past fifteen years may have saved my life. That thinking was corroborated by one of my follow-up doctors the following week. She stated that my superior (plant-driven) cardiovascular health may very well have prevented a deadly heart attack as my heart tried desperately to pump blood around that huge clot in my lungs.

Saddle pulmonary embolism  ( PE ) is a form of large pulmonary thrombo-embolism that straddles the main pulmonary arterial trunk at its bifurcation. Its incidence among patients diagnosed with  PE  was found to be approximately 2.6%. (pretty rare indeed)

Want to learn more about pulmonary embolism, visit this page on Here is an image of what it looks like:

No wonder I had a shortness of breath. 
This bad boy is a killer!

The Bottom Line. This experience has been a wake-up call for me. Since 2002, I had been thinking that all I needed to do was eat a diet of mostly whole plants and that my body would take care of itself. Now I know that I also need to get into a never-ending habit of preventing future clots by keeping my body in motion several hours a day--for the rest of my life.

Finally, I urge you to ask your doctors about pulmonary embolism on your next visit and what they recommend for preventing it.

My treatment.  Although they considered an invasive (and dangerous) surgical procedure, because of my overall good health, my physicians opted for a "blood thinner" drug treatment that will enable the clot to dissolve over time. 

Be well,  J. Morris (Jim) Hicks

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Moonglow J. Morris Hicks

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