My Education on Pulmonary Embolism – A Dance with Death

Hi, Dr. Hale here.   With a Doctorate in Education, I’m usually a teaching about computers or blogging, but today we’re going to take a side trip and give you an education on pulmonary embolism.  No, I’m not going to pretend I’m an M.D., but I am going to share some things I learned recently – first hand!

I’m supposed to be in Las Vegas at Not Excuses 4.  I’d be there,

Education on Pulmonary Embolism

Education on Pulmonary Embolism

but I have an excuse – about 10 doctor’s excuses if you want to know.

A little background.  I’m overweight – to the point of being “morbidly obsess” by medical standards. I watched spring time arrive 67 times. On the other hand I have been very healthy.  Measures like blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, oxygenation and so forth have been in the healthy range.  I had a full physical in February and things (including an EKG) were fine.   We did notice edema and went to a Podiatrist a few weeks ago.  I started physical therapy a week ago.  This consisted of light leg massage and wrapping my right foot, ankle and calf with a light pressure wrap.

My Education On Pulmonary Embolism Begins

My education began Sunday on Mother’s day.  I drove 45 minutes and saw my mother for a couple of hours.  Later I went to a restaurant with other family members.   At 9:00 P.M.  I left the restaurant and was surprised that  my chest hurt.  I was a circular diameter pain dead center in my chest.  No radiating pains, no tingling, nothing unusually in the left arm.  I could be heart burn.   Even weirder was that I was winded after walking to Valet Parking.  It was a very short walk to feel “shortness of breath.”

I worked on the computer late into the evening (writing a blog post).   The pain was gone, but every time I got up to go to the rest room the shortness of breath returned.   Very weird.  I know I’m out of shape, but that had NEVER happened before.

Monday 10:00   A.M.  I drove to Physical Therapy and got the wrap changed.  I asked if the work that was being done on my leg could cause shortness of breath.  I was assured that it couldn’t.    (That turned out to be wrong!)

Family Doctor Visit

I called my family doctor (Dr. J. B.) and he agreed to see me in an hour.   I drove there and took an EKG.   Everything looked and sounded fine. He didn’t see any cause for the shortness of breath    He recommended that I call a cardiologist and gave me a card and brochure.

I drove home at 1:00 P.M. and made the call.  Dr. Neel Patel agreed to see me at 3:00 P.M.   My wife and I went to the appointment.

If the appointment had been “a month from next Wednesday”, like most new patient appointments are, I wouldn’t be here.   Dr. Patel told us later that he is 100% certain that in two days I would have been gone – period.

Cardiologist Visit


After another EKG (fancier) and exam, Dr. Neel Pater could not find anything.  He did want a hospital CAT scan ASAP.  We had a discussion about checking me into the hospital and how the CAT scan might be two or three days away.  The next option was to go to the E.R. and say some magic words.   That would pretty much guarantee a CAT scan that same day.

The Sonogram

Before I left Dr. Patel wanted to do a Sonogram and we did.  I could see his eyebrows start to creep up.  That is when my life changed.  I thought “Uh Oh!.”   Five minutes later the small examination room filled with six large men in uniforms.

During those five minutes Dr. Patel explained that his Ultrasound could not see clots, but what he could see was the right ventricle in my heart was straining to push blood into my lungs.   He said that it was subtle, but he could tell that there was a LOT of back pressure and that probably meant a large clot.

Note:  For what it is worth.  In later discussions, Dr. Patel explained that usually he would see a chamber in my heart squeeze an contract like it was an open hand becoming a closed fist.  What he was seeing with me was the open hand wrapped around an invisible tennis ball.  All he saw was the fingers fluttering a little and the valve tried to contract.  The back pressure was so great that it could not really squeeze.

An Aside:  The EMT came back to Dr. Patel later and asked why they had been called to transport a “Walkie-Talkie”   I was walking and talking and didn’t appear to be in distress.   (They never saw me walk.)   I was sitting on the table and chatting with them and my wife.  Dr. Patel. and I are scheduled to have a talk with them next month about how something doesn’t have to look critical to be critical.

The EMT’s ran another EKG, blood pressure, pulse. Etc.   Of course everything looked fine.  Within minutes I was taking my first ambulance ride, wondering “What am I doing here? I feel fine.”

Another aside.  The EMT were preparing to give me the standard protocol for “heart patients.”  This involved giving my Nitro Glycerin.  Dr. Patel stopped them.  Nitro would lower my blood pressure and there was a chance that it would not come back up – ever.  My heart was not the problem.  The blood clots in the arteries in my lungs were the problem.

Totally Non-medical Description of the Blood System

I’m going to digress again.  My medical friends will groan, but here is what I understand in words that I understand and will remember next week, next year and for the rest of my life.

The blood in our body travels in two loops – I call them Loop A and Loop B.  I’m sure that there are medical terms, but I don’t care.

Loop A – blood is pumped out of the heart and into the lungs to be oxygenated.  We all know that the lungs supply oxygen to the blood.   The blood travels back to the heart completing Loop A.

Loop B – oxygenated blood is pumped to the rest of the body supplying oxygen to all the cells and returns to the heart – completing Loop B.

I had two clots in my lungs – one in each lung that almost completely blocked the passage way.   Obviously a complete blockage would mean no oxygen and that would have been the end of me.  They doctors call these “pulmonary embolisms.”   I call them clots in the arteries of my lungs.

I think of this like the old gag about putting a potato in the exhaust of a car.  If you block the exhaust well enough the car will not run.   If the bad air can’t leave there is no room for the new air and gas and the engine won’t work.   Just enough blood was getting through to run my engine at rest.

My heart was push, push, pushing against the clots in my lungs.

What Can Happen

At this point there are very few things that can happen.

  1. The clots can move from the constant push, push, push and completely block the passage way.
  2. The clots can be blown out of the artery which means they travel into Loop B – heart attack, stroke and other “bad things” can result.
  3. My heart could be damaged from working to darn hard to do its job.
  4. The doctors can try and fix things

The Emergency Room (ER)

Of course I didn’t know any of this.  I just had “unusual shortness of breath.”

We got to the ER and after an hour or so I was sent for a CAT Scan.

Shortly after one of the doctors came in and said that I had “Pulmonary Embolisms” in both lungs.  I honestly did not know what those words really meant.  I believe that this was the first time we heard the word “massive.”

Fortunately my sister-in-law is an M.D. and she had come to the ER to be with us and to help.  After the ER doctor left she described Loop A and Loop B to me and to Robyn, my wife.

Around midnight it was off to I.C.U.  The E.R. doctor was going to send me to a regular room.  Dr. Patel raised the roof and I.C.U. was the result.

Hard Decision Time

At 6:30 A.M. I’m talking to a doctor about options.  A few of you know me well (Night Owls Unite!) and know that 6:30 A.M. is NOT my best time.

Basically what I heard was that I had two options

  1. A procedure that wasn’t done often that would run tubes from my groin to the clots.  Medicine would be pumped right to the site of the clots and would dissolve them.   There was discussion about also cooling the blood, but I don’t remember all of that.  They talked about the procedure being a “Clot Buster.”
  2. I could continue on an I.V. drip of Heperin.  I might take 3 days or 3 weeks to dissolve the clots.  During that time I would be at high risk of the clots breaking loose and causing general havoc.

Who you gonna’ call at 6:30?   I buckled up, made my decision and at 7:30 was being wheeled down the hall (bed and all) towards a very large ultra-sound/sonogram room.  I remember thinking “Wow, that was fast!”  Again the “month from next Wednesday” norm came to mind.

The Procedure

They shaved me in places I usually don’t shave, and medicated me.   I knew I was partially under since my voice didn’t work well.  I felt alert the whole time (love those false messages when you use an impaired brain to judge the brain.)

I felt two nips and some fingers moving against my skin.  They inserted three foot long sheaths through my veins right to the sites of the clots.  I remember them saying that there were little heads at the end of the sheathes with about 1,000 holes in them.  The medication came out there.

I was attached to what I called my “tower of power.”   I’ll try to get a picture.  There were two pumps each about the size of two shoeboxes on a rolling tower.   The tower also had monitors, I.V. bags and lots of other things hanging from it.

After a while they were done and we headed back to I.C.U.   Hmm different room.

Don’t Move

I’m flat on my back and the instructions are “Don’t move your legs for the next several days.”  Yikes!   Somewhere in there I realized that the only way from veins in Loop B to Arteries in Loop A was through the heart.  So I had two tubes that ran in one side of my heart and out the other.  Oh joy!

I was attached to an automated blood pressure cuff (it didn’t like me.  It tried to pinch my arm off every 30 minutes or so.  It tended to “shimmy” down my arm to my elbow.  Then the cuff really had a ball.   After it froze in the “pinch him hard position”, the nurse would come in, speak sternly to it and we would try again.

I also had electrodes attached here there and yond..  My favorite was an oxygenation measuring device that was taped to the end of my finger.  Since it glowed and the finger was long, my communication ability was enhanced considerably.

They assumed that the 24 procedure would be done the next day so I went off food at 9:00 PM.

Doctors, Doctors, Everywhere and No Answers Anywhere

I’ve been in the hospital before and the change over time was very noticeable.  The “medical malpractice” – get rich quick – pay the lawyers – system our country has morphed into has resulted in counter measures by the medical community.  (Obviously this is an opinion, my opinion.)

The following doctors would wander in from time to time.  Sometimes it was their assistant or the doctor covering for them.

  • Hospitalist – the coordinator(?)
  • Cardiovascular
  • Cardiovascular Surgeon
  • Hemotology
  • Pulmonary
  • Critical Care
  • Consulting Hospitalist
  • My Cardiologist

Keeping their names, specialties and what they were there for was beyond me.

Lots of Family

All four of my children, my mother and my mother-in-law and of course Robyn all visited that day.  Showing up says “I care” in ways that are too numerous to count.  Robyn spent almost as much time with me that day as I did.

Florida Hospital – South in Orlando

The hospital gave me outstanding care.  The nurses were wonderful.  I have written up commendations for two of them – Beth and Debbie.   You know who you are!

Another digression:  I told this joke to every shift change and got a laugh every time so I’ll share with you.  (I believe in keeping it light in the Hospital.  Heavy = stress and you DO NOT NEED more stress in the hospital.)

A lady was in the hospital after having just had a baby.

The doctor comes in and says “First I want to assure you that you baby is perfectly healthy.”

The lady thinks that this sounds like “another shoe is going to drop” and questioned the doctor.

He fumbled some and she finally coaxed out of him:  “You baby was born a hermaphrodite.”

The lady says “A What?”

Again the doctor fumbled to explain and finally came up with “You baby was born with the organs of both sexes.”

The lady sits straight up and cries: “Oh My God!  You mean my baby had a penis and a brain?”

Sorry – couldn’t help myself.   J

Wednesday: Remove the Sheathes

I was ready for the 6:30 A.M. call and so of course it didn’t come.

When the nurses came in, one side was bleeding.  They held pressure on it for 45 minutes and it stopped.  That led to an interesting result.   For the next two days every nurse that came in the room would say “I want to look at your groin.”   They would lift my gown and take a peek.

Sometime in the afternoon a scan showed that the clots were dissolved    Somewhere in there I got hungry   J

Back to the Ultrasound room and they removed the sheathes.   They told me they inserted larger diameter ones so that the chance of bleeding would be reduced.

The instructions were still “Don’t Move Your Legs!”   That does get old, but could have been much worse.

At about 9:00 P.M. a nurse came in with her trainee and told me the trainee would take the larger diameter sheathes out.  I objected mildly.  It turns out that the new ones were only six inches long.  That hadn’t told me that!   Cough and yank.


Moved to Progressive Care Unit at about 1:00 P.M.   They very rarely let people go home directly from I.C.U.

Dr. N.P. came late in the afternoon.   That is when we found out a new new facts:

  1. The clots were massive – he was mildly surprised I made it to the hospital, even in the ambulance.
  2. The procedure was VERY risky
  3. There are only a few hospitals that have a Harvard trained Doctor who can do the procedure .

Oh Ouch!

They ran a CAT Scan and found a few new things, but nothing to do with the clots in my lungs.


Finally was allowed to take a shower.  There was discussion about letting me go home.  (I still felt fine.)

They brought an ultrasound machine in and determined that I had clots in my legs.  That is where they came from.  Massaging my legs may have broken them loose.  They were going to cause problems anyway, but nice to know.   The clots in the leg are called Deep Vein Thombosis.   In my case it causes swelling when I sat at the computer and my legs (especially one) would turn bright red.


They did let me come home.

The Pain

It was interesting that they gave me a prescription for a string pain medicine when I left the hospital.  I think they still could not believe that I had no pain at any point in the process.  The worst was my hips did not like laying flat on my back on hard beds and CAT Scan tables.

Take Aways for You and Me

Pulmonary Embolisms are the third most frequent Killer in the U.S.

Your family doctor CAN NOT detect some very serious issues.  He/she does not have the training or equipment.

“I feel Fine” can kill you.

Any abrupt change in your body that is really unusual – “I’ve never ever felt THAT before” – deserves a doctor’s visit.

A “suggestion” to see a cardiologist isn’t a suggestion.  Actually that applies to any specialist in fields that could be life threatening.

Good link to more information

Live for Today!  Tomorrow honestly might not be there.




Until next time, you have a Great Day!

Dr Hale

↓ ↓ If this post gave you some ideas – Go ahead & comment below.  ↓ ↓

Hale Pringle

Hale Pringle Ed. D.


Hale Pringle – Hale Yes!

Skype hale.pringle



P.S. If you are working to move your business online and it all seems overwhelming, I can help!  Take a look at, or sign up for the free coaching call. You can email me or give me a Skype call. I’ll give you the benefit of my years of experience and many thousands of dollars in training and searching the rabbit hole called Internet Marketing and Network Marketing. I can help you with Lead Generation, the feeling of overwhelm, blogging, and even career change. Add that to the finest mentoring on the Internet (Ann Sieg’s Team and Inner Circle) and you have a Winner!

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About Hale Pringle

Dr. Hale is an Internet Entrepreneur and Network
Marketing expert. His greatest pleasure is
helping people and he does just that, drawing
upon the immense resources that he has gathered
over the years in his unquenchable thirst for

Dr. Hale lives in beautiful, sunny Florida with
his wife, two dogs and a cat. His four children
are grown and are scattered around the state.

An eternal optimist you will hear him say
regularly: “Is this a Great Day?” The answer is
always, “Hale Yes!”

If you need help with your online marketing or a
network marketing opportunity Dr. Hale is the go
to man. “Hale Yes!”


  1. Oh my! I knew you had been ‘under the weather’ but not how serious this was. You have just witnessed a miracle…what are you going to do about it?
    Rachel Williamson recently posted..Create a Viral NewsletterMy Profile

    • Rachel,

      I was in deed a miracle. My life style is changing in a number of ways. I’ll be writing about them soon.

      Dr. Hale

  2. Glad you are OK my friend, get better soon
    Ray Higdon recently posted..Tips on How to Make Money BloggingMy Profile

    • Ray,

      I was really looking forward to at least saying HI at NES. I was actually planning for much more than that. On the other hand, I think my “excuse” is pretty rock solid this time!

      Dr. Hale

  3. So pleased to hear that you are home and all went well. Thank you for sharing. Being just a new member at the Renegade team, I can already see your invaluable contribution and look forward learning more of what you offer.
    Elaine Horner recently posted..What Is A Mother?My Profile

    • You are most welcome Elaine,

      I really appreciate you chiming in here. I am soaking up every good vibe and thought that I can!

      Dr. Hale

  4. Shari Lynn Swoish says

    Wow! So happy that you’re okay, Dr. Hale! Thanks for sharing your personal journey — and about the famous “I feel fine” syndrome. Would you mind if I shared this post with my friends and colleagues on FB and LI? Continue to feel better!

    • Shari Lynn,

      This is an educational piece that I hope WILL be shared. More people need to know about the symptoms and ramifications

      Dr. Hale

  5. Diane Grant says

    Like the stars in the sky, too numerous to count, are the people that are so thankful you are still with us. It sounds like G_ds protection over you was mighty as you fought the battle with death and won. I’m so very thankful Hale to understand more about your journey….there is much to be learned in your words, for you and your readers. May He continue you to bless you and keep you close….and we as well. Truly rejoicing with you….Diane

    • Thank you Diane,

      When I think of all the things that had to drop into place – just right – I certainly can see a larger hand helping things along!

      Dr. Hale

  6. I am glad you are okay my friend. We all need you around. so take care of yourself.
    Warren Wandling recently posted..The Secret of Communicating Like a Direct Selling NinjaMy Profile

  7. Hale I’m so glad you received goid care. That’s quite a story but one that makes you think. Recover well so we can see you in Minnesota in September.
    Lisa Saline recently posted..How to Maximize the Power of Your Social Network With A Cup Of CoffeeMy Profile

    • I am so read Lisa.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I take them and all the hugs I can get!

      Dr. Hale

  8. OMGoodness! Thank God you are ok, Hale! That must have been quite a scare! Take good care of yourself.
    Alexandra McAllister recently posted..Simple Tip To Control Cravings, Get Healthier, Happier And Feel AccomplishedMy Profile

    • Thanks Alexandra,

      I’ve got a new crease in my hair from the bullet that I almost didn’t dodge.
      I appreciate your caring!!

      Dr. Hale

  9. Hale,

    What an experience. All you never wanted to know about pulmonary embolisms, huh? Well, I am glad you have survived this ordeal. Crazy way to get a catchy headline! You are making the competition tough. 🙂 So happy you are home and doing well. You are a survivor.

    Lisa Kneller recently posted..He didn’t have me at “Hello”!My Profile

    • Lisa,

      🙂 🙂
      Out little blogging challenge wanted a “killer” headline! Oh Hale Yes!

      Dr. Hale

  10. Cynthia Payne says

    Oh, Hale, we are so glad you are home and getting better! What a curveball Life threw at you! This post was awesome & so informative! Thank you for sharing your story! Cant wait to a see you this week. I know your family is so grateful to have you home! Blessings,
    Cynthia, Eric and Ruby Lou

  11. Pat Campbell says

    Even in the telling of your close brush with death, you sense of humour comes through…You know how much I appreciate knowing you are well and will be holding you a tad accountable on lifestyle changes.
    But you also made me laugh in the telling of your story with those funny spots.
    Be Good.

  12. If there’s one thing that’s been top of mind these past few months, it’s that tomorrow is never promised. Live each day fully, but take care of yourself along the way. Glad you dodged that one!
    Eryn McCormick recently posted..Is Network Marketing a Bunch of B.S.?My Profile

    • Here is hoping that your daughter dodges her’s too!.

      I think about the two of you often, even though I’ve never personally met her. Hugs!!

      Hale RFF

  13. Keith Spencer says


    Wow is all I can say along with deep gratitude to God that you’re still with us. I’ve had the clot busters before for the AVM in my brain. You may remotely remember me stating from stage at Ray’s event last June that I had a catheter in my brain the morning before the event started…

    So I could relate with the shave and laying on your back for hours with regular checks.

    Anyway, I’m SO glad to hear you’re ok and alive. Blessings my friend.

    • Thank you very much Keith.

      I must say that I am glad to be here too. I hope some people learn from my experience. I know it taught me a LOT!

      Dr. Hale

  14. Hi would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using?

    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must
    say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you recommend
    a good internet hosting provider at a honest price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!
    nike blazer mid suede recently blazer mid suedeMy Profile


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