A medical emergency gave me new empathy at work

Health & Wellness
firefighters and paramedics

Posted: March 1, 2018

It all started on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. My friend Rebecca was in town and we were going to lunch in Georgetown and to shop a little bit before going over Guanella Pass. By the time we got down the street to the second store I could not breathe. Rebecca shopped and I sat down on some steps in the shop. She found me and we headed back to the car.

I still had some shortness of breath after I got home but I made it through the night. Got dressed and headed to work the next day, walking. By the time I got there, I could not breathe. They rushed me to the hospital. I just wanted to breathe…oxygen, please!

I don’t remember the last time I saw everyone moving so fast. Oxygen, Blood draw, Chest x-ray and then CT scan. Results not good. It was determined that I had two life-threatening sub-massive blood clots, one in each lung. I was sent to the ICU to be monitored. Now that I can breathe with the oxygen I did not feel sick.

Discharged on Friday evening with oxygen. I will be on oxygen for a couple of months. It was all new to me. This is a new experience in itself. There are so many things I didn’t know about wearing oxygen. It dries my nose like crazy. And my big problem is that I forget to put it back on after I blow my nose. That causes the oxygen level to drop really fast. I think my problem is that when I put my reading glasses on there is something on my cheeks so I forget the tubes. And the tubing keeps getting caught in my recliner! Lots and lots of tubing for the little apartment.

I have to rest a lot, no choice. And I have to be extremely careful not to trip and fall. Sometimes it falls off when I’m sleeping and I wake up and I don’t have the oxygen on. Another thing I never realized is that you have to take a shower with your oxygen on, and quite frankly that’s very cumbersome. It seems like I am learning to breathe all over again. When I eat, my oxygen level goes down. When I exert myself in any way I start breathing through my mouth and my oxygen level goes down and I get short of breath. I catch myself breathing through my mouth at other times while I am on this oxygen. I really notice it now. I wonder if I have always done that.

Breathing is normal – I have never had to think about it. While I was sitting in the ER, my question to the doctor was, “Can I got back to work on Friday?” I like my job, what can I say! I want to use this experience during my work, to help my team know what it’s really like to need oxygen. I know so much that I did not know before, and it has given me a new perspective on how we can help our residents.

Since Katherine wrote about her challenging experience, she has experienced a full recovery.

If you’d like to explore the warm community at Dayspring Villa, give us a call at: 303-416-2807. We’d be happy to show you around – and introduce you to some of our great residents.

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Dayspring Villa Senior Living Community is owned and managed by Christian Living Communities offering person centered Assisted Living. Dayspring Villa Senior Living Community is located in Denver, Colorado and services the areas in and around Greenwood Village, Englewood, Columbine, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Heritage Hills, Meridian, Dove Valley, Stonegate, Parker, Aurora, Lakewood, and Centennial. We also are an ideal senior community for those in the zip codes 80211, 80216, 80212, 80221, 80030, 80003, 80002, 80214, 80202, 80203, and 80204.

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