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Trying Not to Die

[Updated April 20, 2016] I am out of the hospital, but have a long road ahead of me. 40% of my lungs have been cleared of clots and the rest will take time.

Some of you have noticed I have not been online much since Thursday. I guess I should confess at this point that I am in the hospital and have largely been removed from everything. My wife and my assistant have worked very hard to keep me away from email and the Internet. But for my iPad Pro with its keyboard cover, I wouldn’t be writing this.

I will write this, then I’m going to disappear again to heal.

About two months ago I started noticing at the gym that I was getting more winded than usual. It took longer to recover. I presumed it was allergies. Over time it got slowly worse with more time needed to recover. At the beginning of March, my family went out of town and I was dragging. Loading and unloading our car got me both out of breath and made me extremely tired.

My dog started acting weird around me when we got home from our trip. I was not feeling well. My wife insisted I go to the after hours clinic. They found nothing on an x-ray of my lungs, my blood-oxygen level was 100%, but they concluded I might have bronchitis. They gave me a steroid shot and antibiotics. For two weeks, through Spring Break, I felt superb.

But the first week of April I started going down hill again more rapidly than before. Exercises at the gym were more painful and more tiring. Taking my normal afternoon walks where I think about my radio show were slower and not as far. Two weeks ago I could not even get on the elliptical at the gym unless I kept the pace to about 4 miles per hour. Normally I do between six and seven.

By the end that week I could not finish my monologues on radio without gasping for breath. Stair climbing had been a burden at the beginning of that week and became impossible at the end of the week. Along the way, my blood-oxygen level kept falling.

Last Monday, I went to the doctor. My EKG, blood work, etc. came back suggesting I had no heart problem, but my blood-oxygen level had fallen to 93%. I got scheduled to see a cardiologist this past Friday and on Tuesday flew to Connecticut to speak to the UCONN College Republicans. Walking back to the hotel from my speaking engagement I had to stop to catch my breath and told the students I was recovering from bronchitis. I didn’t want to concern them, but knew more and more something was wrong.

This past Thursday, my wife was able to get me into the cardiologist’s office a day early. They did an echocardiogram and I have no problems at all with my heart. But the doctor noticed I had pulmonary hypertension, so he sent me to a local hospital for a CT scan of my lungs.

I have not left the hospital since then. I only just got released from the CVICU to a private room today.

It is rather sobering to have doctors tell you that you should be dead.

Over the course of the past few weeks my lungs have been filling with blood clots. The technical term in the medical report is that my lungs are “showered” with clots. My blood oxygen level cratered to the point of numb lips and the act of putting shampoo in my hair was leaving me out of breath.

Ecclesiastes says there is a time to heal and a time to be silent. My time for both has come. I am healing slowly. My breath has returned. My blood-oxygen level is back into the high nineties. But I need a few more days before I again engage with the world. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. And I appreciate the other writers here at The Resurgent who are picking up the slack left by my absence.

God bless.

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