You've Got to Have Faith

As I battled life-threatening complications from surgery, two glowing beings appeared in my room to comfort me.

I had just found out I was pregnant—I was about six weeks along—when I fell and broke my leg. In the hospital, I was set to have a spinal anesthesia so the surgeon could repair the break with a plate and screws. The doctors tried for one hour to insert the spinal, but the needle would not go in. My blood pressure was getting dangerously high from the pain, so the doctors finally gave me general anesthesia. I was told I could lose the baby or it would be born with birth defects because I was put under. After I woke up from surgery—still pregnant—I was put into a cast.

About three weeks later, I noticed that my toes were very swollen and purple. I called the doctor, but he insisted there was nothing wrong. The next day I called again and told the doctor I thought I had a blood clot. He sent me in for an ultrasound to calm my fears. Since I still had a cast on my leg, the ultrasound technicians could only look behind my knee. My doctor declared me free of blood clots.


Afterwards I continued to have a lot of swelling, so I called the doctor and asked if the cast could be removed. He agreed and put me in a walking boot with firm instructions not to walk on that leg, since it wasn't yet healed.

Two days later when I tried to get out of my wheelchair and into bed, I had difficulty catching my breath. I thought maybe I was just out of shape, but my husband was so concerned that he took me to the hospital.

All of the tests came back normal, but the doctor in the ER said she was going to give me a CT scan "for malpractice purposes only." 

About  ten minutes later, I heard everyone in the ER running around. The doctor, looking pale, opened the curtain surrounding my hospital bed. I saw a nurse standing behind her with a bag of Heparin, a medicine used to thin the blood and prevent blood clots.

She told me that I had an extensive bilateral pulmonary embolism. I started to cry, terrified that I was going to die. Not only were my lungs filled with blood clots, but there was a huge clot left in my leg that the previous ultrasound had not shown. The doctor replied, "We are going to do the best we can for you."

I was in the ICU for two days when a doctor told me I was going to die. He advised me to plan my funeral and write letters to my kids to open on their special days after I passed.

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Melissa Mardueno
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