Sunday, January 17, 2021

Exercise After a Blood Clot (Pulmonary Embolism)

My body got de-conditioned even before my first pulmonary embolism (PE) was discovered. It came to a point I would be breathless after walking just a few steps. I experienced that again just before Christmas. When you have a blood clot in your lungs you're going to feel suffocated. It gets worse when you are going uphill or going up a stairway. This means, you become allergic to exercise. 

What I did not know after my first PE was I needed to exercise. I was travelling a lot that time and it did not cross my mind that I needed physiotherapy. It was over a year later after experiencing severe back pains when I was mandated by my spine doctor to do physiotherapy. I improved a lot in a few months and then the circuit breaker started. All PT clinics were closed, I couldn't swim and we were too scared to go out. I got de-conditioned again. 

My doctors have different ideas about exercise, so I did some research and found several videos on YouTube about post-PE exercise. They all said that it is beneficial. It takes a lot to get up and start exercising after your PE treatment starts. At the hospital I was just making 150 to 200 steps per day at the ward and almost none when I was at ICU. 

When I was moved back to the regular room from the ICU I made it a point to sit on a chair from breakfast to dinner. I told myself I had to move around because I don't want to wear compression socks all the time. I only registered 500+ steps when Sweetie brought me home. The next day Sweetie encouraged me to do some walking. I walked at sloth-pace, but managed 1,000 steps and had to rest in-between. I felt woozy and had to hold onto Sweetie's arm. 

Yesterday, I managed 1,250+steps. Still felt a bit woozy and wasn't confident yet to walk without Sweetie by my side. I noticed that breathing wasn't as labored anymore. Today I woke up early and bravely asked Sweetie if we can have breakfast at McDonald's. It's an 8-minute walk at normal pace, it took us 15 minutes because I had to rest at the bus stop. I was wheezing a little too, but I told myself I need to graduate from sloth pace to turtle pace in the next few days. 

Made it back home in one-piece and even cooked lunch (steamed fish ftw!). I was wiped out by 2pm. I think I may have pushed too hard today (4,500+ steps), but I'm happy I did. I need to be confident again about moving around independently before I can resume physiotherapy. I need to gain that confidence this week while Sweetie is still home. I can only go back to work when I'm breathing better and have the stamina to last staying up the whole day. 

I'm still pretty tired now and thinking whether I should take a walk tomorrow. Alternatively I can do some light exercises at home. We'll see when I wake up tomorrow. 

Some resources on exercise after pulmonary embolism (of course check with your doctor first):

Getting active after a blood clot

Patient Pulse: Exercising Safely After a Blood Clot

CB///283 #StuckAtHomeDay/313 #StayHome #BeKind

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