On Saturday I had made plans to meet a friend’s new Great Dane puppy. I woke up and knew I needed to cancel, which in turn made me realize something was really brewing. As the kind of person who pulls my car over to meet dogs I see walking along the road, not being able to muster the energy to play with a baby Dane was a sure sign I was headed for trouble. I called to reschedule and went back to bed.
Later that evening the pain had localized in my right ribcage and intensified to the point I considered going to the hospital. Like any good millennial, I consulted Dr. Google and diagnosed myself as having a gallbladder problem. I decided I would call my doctor on Monday.
Sunday afternoon brought a snowstorm to New Hampshire and I went out to shovel. I was uncomfortable, but assumed the pain would subside when I rested. I was wrong. Suddenly I began to feel intense pain and had difficulty breathing. I wondered if I was having a heart attack. I found out later that heart attacks are formally called myocardial infarction – the death of heart tissue caused by a blockage. What I had felt was pulmonary infarction – the death of lung tissue blocked by blood clots, or pulmonary emboli. I was lucky to survive.
The weeks and months following my hospitalization involved visits to the anticoagulation clinic to adjust my dosage of blood thinners; physical and pulmonary therapy to regain lung capacity; and adjusting to a new diet designed to not interact with the host of new medications I had to take. It was a period of physical pain, emotional stress, and uncertainty about my health and future. It was during this time I discovered the healing power of yoga.
by Elizabeth M.