Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pulmonary Embolism

Listen up everyone.

Even though we know better, we sat for five and a half hours recently on a crammed full Southwest Airlines flight. Ron, Marja and I tried the new non-stopper from Baltimore back to Tucson after a busy week in Washington, DC. Our reasoning was that it would be better to take one long flight, instead of changing planes on a connector. WRONG! At least changing planes is a form of exercise, that we now know we desperately needed. We were repeatedly told to not wait in the aisles for the restrooms, and the fasten seat belt signs were illuminated more than they were off. The result of turbulence, we were told, but it seemed as if one or two teeny bumps were a good excuse to turn on the sign. We were captive, so we stuck our noses in our books and our ears in our head sets and resolved to endure. Even after we finally landed in Tucson, the gate wasn't ready, so we sat still some more.

Two mornings later, Ron was awakened with extreme pain in his chest. He knew it was unlike anything he'd ever experienced, so we went to the ER to check it out. A blood clot in his lung was the culprit. SCARY stuff.

Then came an overnight stay in the hospital with blood thinners to bust the clot, IV's, needles and constant poking and prodding. The good news is that now he's home, with a passel of new meds, instruction sheets, needles for the stomach and needles for the finger, but with a blessed feeling of relief.

So . . . . don't forget, as we did, to move around on long flights. Flex your ankles while you are sitting, make circles with your feet, ala Tai Chi, nine times to the right and then nine times to the left. Last year, in my Tai Chi class, I asked why nine was the magic number and received the very Chinese-y answer of something about the ying and the yang. So, don't ask, just do it. Then thank us every time you DON'T get a blood clot on a long flight.

UPDATE on my last blog, "On Hold:" Our inquisitive, super, smart, always ready to check things out, son-in-law, Barry McNees did some research and discovered that every American spends an average of sixty (60) HOURS A YEAR ON HOLD. An astounding waste of time, not to mention the frustration it causes!