Long Flights + Hospital Stays

The last 72 hours have been a bit crazy in the Jiminez household. Please know that I’m sharing this info not as a pity party because Lord knows there’s plennnnnty of that on the internet, but in hopes that someone can learn from my lack of judgment. πŸ™‚

On Wednesday morning, Kaleb rushed me to the ER due to shortness of breath, pressure in my chest, and sharp pains in my back. After ignoring and self-medicating what seemed to be “gas pains” for two days, I woke up on Wednesday knowing without question what I was experiencing had nothing to do with my digestive track. Rather than going to the doctor (which was the original plan), we headed straight to the ER. After countless tests, pokes, multiple doctors asking my symptoms, family history, EKG, and finally a CT scan, they discovered that I had two pulmonary embolisms. SPARE YOURSELF from googling this because I will tell you what it is. They are blood clots on your lungs, and I developed two – one on each lung.

“HOW?!” Yea, that was my question too. Well since there’s no prior history in my family of heart problems or blood clotting, and I’m relatively active and healthy, etc, there was one glaring, VERY probable culprit to me suddenly having a life threatening diagnosis. TRAVEL.

Doc: Have you taken any long flights or long drives recently?
Me: Yes, I just came back from Italy.
Doc: How long was that flight?
Me: 2 hours on one leg, and 8 on the other.
Doc: Did you happen to walk around and get out of your seat often on the flight?

I knew INSTANTLY the answer to that question. NOPE. NOT ONCE. And I was in a window seat. And I sat there…the whole time. I justified this foolish decision by saying “I was tired.” Ohhhhhh, if I only knew!

So you know how they say you should walk around on a long flight and even pop a baby aspirin? Turns out, it’s not just to “stretch your legs.” You’re supposed to walk around every 1-2 hours to keep your blood moving to prevent blood clots! The clots typically start in major arteries of your legs and travel up. However, in my case, they developed in my lungs. I did not know this was even possible – but I do now! And you do too!

So my friends that travel internationally, GET OUT YOUR SEAT and do a couple laps every 1-2 hours on the plane. Please learn from my foolishness! Despite the serious diagnoses, we had a good case scenario (if that’s even a thing) and the clots had not yet gotten to the point where they affected my heart. It is truly by the grace of God that we got to the ER in time before the situation became more serious. Even considering our scenario, I STILL had to spend a night in the hospital, and I’m STILL recovering with my breathing, and I’m STILL going to be on medication probably for the next several months. Save yourself the misery – be a smart traveler.

We’ve had several friends help us with food, snacks, dinner, encouraging texts – for that, I’m so incredibly grateful. If you’re wondering how you can continue to help, please take my wonderful husband Kaleb out for a few beers. Seriously. That man refused to leave my bedside and even ate hospital food so he wouldn’t have to leave me. Trust me, I begged him to go get something better and the dude refused to leave! So reward that fine man of mine and take him out for a drink or bring him a good home-cooked meal. He deserves it. I’ll let you know when I have an appetite back and maybe I’ll join you all. hahaha

*Elaine

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