That WON’T Be Me
So you say…until you get one.
Did you know that anytime you travel, whether by plane or automobile, if you’re traveling longer than two hours, you’re at significantly higher risk of developing a blood clot.
My first exposure to the dangers of a blood clot was on a reality television show. No, I wasn’t on it…I was watching it. It didn’t appear for more than a single season I think, but fascinated me. People traveled from all over the world to man and sail an old ship from the 1800s. As a history buff, I was fascinated with everything they had to do in order to stay true to the time period they represented.
That is until one of the crew members went to seek help from the ship’s doctor. “I’m having a little trouble breathing.” The patient was a young man in his late 20s, seemingly in excellent health, but he was having pain in his chest.
Thinking it was part of the show, I began to wonder, what could be causing his discomfort? What diseases afflicted the people sailing ships during that era?
I was wrong. I was very wrong. It’s a good think the doctor on their ship was knowledgeable and knew that her patients were not 1890s sailors, but 21st century reality show participants who traveled a great many miles to get to Australia where they gathered.
All I remember about the patient is that he did NOT want to lose his place on the crew. He had worked long and hard to be selected for his task and he was determined to see it through. If only he could breathe.
As time went on, I began to become uncomfortable. As a television viewer, I was perfectly safe. But I had enough empathy and compassion to know that their satellite phone only worked sporadically and the doctor was worried.
She had every right to be.
Her patient was suffering from a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in his lungs. It developed as a result of his flight to reach Australia the week before. And without immediate medical attention, the man would die. So, out with the 1890s reality, in with modern medicine. The man was taken off the ship by helicopter and taken swiftly to the nearest hospital where he was treated for a blood clot.
This is a much more common problem than you might think. The likelihood is still less than one-tenth of one percent, but for those who experience, it really is a matter of life or death. Travelers need to be aware that the more time they spend on an airplane, the greater the likelihood of them developing a blood clot. Take regular breaks to stretch, walk around, move in any way you can. Learn how to do chair calisthenics so that even if you’re trapped in a window seat you can mitigate the likelihood of getting a blood clot because of your travel experience.