A health update from Larry
Hey folks, its Larry. We need to chat. A few Thursday’s ago, I was sitting in my office having a meeting and suddenly my nose begins to bleed. Weird. I grab some tissues. I’ve had bloody noses before and they stop in a few minutes. This was a gusher and it wasn’t stopping. 40 minutes into the bloody nose we called 9-1-1. Medics came, put a plastic clamp on my nose and took me to St. Paul’s Hospital. After a few hours the bleeding stopped. The ER doc asked a few questions and sent me home.
I had 10 nose bleeds over the course of the next 4 days, but continued working through my packed schedule. I flew to Toronto for meetings the Monday after. I had three nose bleeds that day. Tuesday, during a meeting I had one and then as we were wrapping up dinner I had another. I had kept my nose clamp from the ambulance ride, so I was expert at dealing with it. At dinner, I said folks, “It’s time for me to leave. As you can see I have a stylish nose clamp, which means my nose is bleeding and it is time for me to catch an Uber.”
A colleague of mine, Mike, rode with me. We were at the same hotel. He said, “I’m right upstairs if you need me.” I said thanks and assured him I was fine. I wasn’t fine. 10 minutes later I send him an email no one wants to get, the subject line read, “Help 911.”
Within those 10 minutes, the blood had begun to gush out both nostrils through the clamp and I started to cough, choke and gag on it. I could hardly catch my breath. I dialed 9-1-1. After they confirmed an ambulance was on its way, I called my wife Rebecca in tears, choking on my on blood, in full panic attack mode I told her I loved her.
My colleague Mike arrived a minute later. Rebecca and Mike exchanged information. Mike kept her in the loop the whole night. He rode in the ambulance with me to St. Michael’s Hospital. Meanwhile, I’m still bleeding, still coughing up blood and spitting out big clots. It was gross. The doctor sprayed some anti-decongestion in my nostrils to help close the blood vessels. She then shoved a big wad of gauze up my nose with numbing and clotting medication. It took three or four hours for the bleeding to stop. I stayed in Toronto for two extra days, resting in a hotel, nursing my continuing bloody nose.
I emailed my neurologist who said; A) It’s not Parkinson’s related. B) It’s not Parkinson’s medication related. C) Get off the aspirin. At some point, I was told it was a good idea to take a low dose aspirin once a day to prevent stroke and heart attack. After seeing my GP, she said, “Yeah, were not recommending that anymore.” Getting off the aspirin and out of the sky was the key to controlling the nose bleeds. I had been on 13 roundtrip flights in 16 weeks. Too much recycled air will dry out your nose. The aspirin counter-acted the blood platelets clotting ability.
Both my GP and Neurologist have also suggested I need to slow down. So, I’m slowing down. I am peeling back commitments and travel. I’ll still do some, but not as much. I need to say no more, know my limits, and admit out loud that I can’t do everything. It starts with the podcast. Effective in December, we will release a new podcast every other week. We’ll take two weeks off at the end of the year and be back on January 8th.
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Rebecca Gifford, my wife and partner in Parkinson’s
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