I don’t feel old enough to have friends stricken by life-threatening situations. I should know all too well that it’s possible. I should know that sometimes they don’t recover from them as earlier this year, a former colleague of mine (from my newspaper days) died at age 46 – not that many years ahead of me.
So it was with a great deal of shock that I read an email earlier this week from another friend and former colleague relating a near-death episode involving yet another friend and former colleague. (And this one happens to be a few months younger than me.) Luckily, this story has a happier ending.
According to Melanie, John will be on his way home soon. He’s been hospitalized the past several days after being felled by a blood clot blocking flow to his lungs. It’s treatable and he’s responding to meds. Fortunately, John has some medical training so he was able to save his own life by grabbing some oxygen and immediately summoning help! And, daredevil that he is, he got a helicopter ride from one hospital to another, so he’s pleased about that. I’m sure that he’s equally pleased by baffling the doctors with such a case for an otherwise healthy guy in his 40s.
I’m both happy and relieved. How could I not be? The world retains a smart, funny, and talented guy whom I’m happy to count among my friends. But, the whole incident made me wonder how many of us figure that – by virtue of our age – we’re immune to that sudden life-threatening situation like a blood clot, a heart attack or even a stroke? So please, do me a favor. Do yourself a favor. Check out these signs and symptoms for cardiac arrest and stroke from the American Heart Association and this explanation of blood clots. Know what it is. Know what to do if it happens. And do it.
It could save a friend’s life. It could save a family member’s life.
It could save your life.