Posted by: angelasommers | July 30, 2008

How it all started


I decided to start a blog about how being a “coumadin lifer” has affected my life, and how I went from being devastated to celebrating every moment of my life! 

But I have to start at the beginning.  I have to let you know that I love training in the Martial Arts, Jung SuWon to be exact, and that I have been doing that since 1984.  I know some of you weren’t even born then, but that’s when the training started. 

I have been training under one of these rare people, a real Grandmaster, who has trained in the mountains in Korea and has amassed an incredible amount of experienc, wisdom, and knowledge.  I never knew people like this exist other than in some strange Hollywood Martial Arts movies, but they do! 

Anyhow, in mid-June of 2006, after a brief trip, I was in a very small place in Oregon.  I didn’t feel good, felt tightness in my chest, and had trouble breathing.  All day long it kept getting more intense and more painful until around early evening I had to be taken to the local hospital.  Thank goodness they gave me some relief and then a whole lot of tests started, don’t remember much of that except that I was by now so nauseated I was praying for someone to take me in the back and shoot me.

Here they found my Pulmonary Embolism - thanks Dr. Pam Ator!

Here they found my Pulmonary Embolism - thanks Dr. Pam Ator!

Finally at 4 or 5 in the morning some very cheerful nurses told me they had a bed for me and were going to transfer me.  I was shocked – I had only once stayed in a hospital before and that was to deliver my kids!  They explained to me that I had pulmonary embolism and that I almost died! 

I was too drugged to be shocked, but later it sank in.  I was 48 at the time, and felt way too young for all this! 

I was in the hospital for 4 days, and during that time, I got a brief introduction to coumadin, what it does, what I can’t do, what I can do, and all that.  For those of you that don’t quite know what coumadin is:  it is technically an anti-coagulant, typically called a blood thinner.  It prevents the forming of blood clots (but does not dissolve existing ones). 

Coumadin is a blessing and a curse, depending on your attitude.  It is a blessing because it prevents you from forming more clots and this is protecting your life.  It can be challenging though, because there are so many things you have to think about, follow, and do, like taking blood tests at least once a month (more if things didn’t go right) and so forth. 

But I’ll talk about that more later.  Just one thing:  if you take coumadin, you are not supposed to participate in any sport/activity where you could sustain any hits, falls, or anything like it since it could cause internal bleeds.


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