Tag Archive | pulmonary embolism

Silent Killers

I read a blog post the other day that made me realize just how lucky I am that my mother is still here, and it caused a calm-before-the-storm shuddering-standstill reaction from me. I broke.

In 2007, Umi had a Pulmonary Embolism. I knew it was serious then, and I drive her to her INR appointments every two to three weeks to have her blood checked now, to make sure it’s between that 2-3 range; not too thin, not too thick. She calls it her bloodletting. I have to watch her diet, too, because certain foods can thin or thicken her blood if she has too much of it. But what I didn’t know, what I learned the other day, was how very fucking beyond serious her situation was, and by that I mean how insanely close I came to losing my mother ten years ago when she threw that blood clot. I mean, blood clots kill about 100,000 Americans each year out of the roughly 900,000 affected. One in nine; that’s too close a call in my opinion. Blood clots are silent killers. It’s not like a heart attack; instead, they’re non-violent. You can’t pop an aspirin and stop it, or perform CPR to save a person’s life. You can, however, watch for signs because there are early warnings your body shouts at you.

I wanted to comment on the post, but I couldn’t seem to find the words, knowing that this person’s sibling was gone yet my mother was still here. It didn’t feel right, I guess, commenting. It’s difficult to explain the feeling, but I suppose the closest I can get to it is that by not commenting, I’m not adding to the possible survivor’s guilt the person might be feeling since it’s such a sudden death. Make sense? I don’t know. *shrugs* I liked the post to let her know I’d read it, even if I couldn’t offer words.

Umi’s 71st birthday is less than a month away. Last year, I took her to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando. She had a blast. I’m not sure if I can top that this year. Maybe I’ll just cook a steak and lobster dinner for her again. And buy her a new book she’s wanted for a while now.

But there’s one thing I know for certain, something I realized the day I read that blog…

Side note: Right now, my aunt is in long term care, and it’s killing me that I can’t help her get better. All I can do is work with my family to make sure her bills are paid and she’s getting the care she needs, and find a way to take care of the house before the home my grandparents built is gone, lost to the bank and medical liens. I want this house because it is the last piece of my childhood, my grandparents, but if the sum of loans and liens is too high, I can’t buy it, and that’s killing me. Seeing my aunt cry at the thought of not going home again and losing her precious dog because none of us can take him is beyond heartbreaking, too.

I am at a loss.

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