The Ink Penn

We have much to be thankful for every day of the year and like most, we celebrate Thanksgiving by focusing on all that’s good in our lives. This year, however, we have reason to be especially thankful.

In mid-November, my husband had what we now refer to as his lucky health scare—lucky because the doctors accidentally caught a life-threatening condition. His doctor had scheduled him for a cat scan because of some ongoing digestive issues. After having the scan, my husband did what he always does after an appointment on Pill Hill—he went to Costco for a slice of pizza before coming home.

As he was carrying Costco items into the house, the phone rang. It was the doctor’s office telling him to run—not walk—to the emergency room. The nurse didn’t tell him what was wrong. I guess she didn’t want him to be so worried that he’d have a wreck on the way there.

I was 45 minutes away so he drove himself. By the time I met him there, the emergency room staff was explaining that he had blood clots in his lungs. It seems the cat scan fortuitously caught a shot of his lungs, though the lungs weren’t the focus. With none of the typical symptoms like shortness of breath or fatigue, he would have had no reason to visit the emergency room. As I was sitting with him, the nurse came in to put him on blood thinners, and three different doctors spoke with us before he was checked into the hospital for further tests.

The upshot of all this is they found a major blood clot that extends into both lungs. Had it moved before they found it, he wouldn’t have survived. He’ll be on blood thinners for several months and will eventually have further tests to determine if this a genetic issue or was perhaps triggered by our flights to and from England in October or something else entirely.

The doctor who spoke with us before checking my husband out of the hospital said, “What? You have a Rhine River cruise planned for Christmas? No way you should take a nine-hour flight overseas—not even a gray area for me.”

Was my husband disappointed to hear there was no way we’d be able to take our trip? Well yes, but he’s appropriately thankful to be alive. I, as you might expect, am ecstatic he dodged this bullet. True to form, I immediately started thinking of all the things we could enjoy locally—be here to celebrate my sister’s Dec. 23 birthday, see the Nutcracker at the Fox, and more.

Then, we saw the pulmonologist a week later. “Gee,” he said, “I hope you haven’t canceled your trip. You’re on meds that will prevent any further problems. I’ll do a scan mid-December just to be sure, and then I expect to tell you to head to the airport.”

Feeling as though we’d just stepped off a roller coaster, we pondered this latest news and decided we’d keep our fingers crossed and plan to go. We’re rapidly regaining our equilibrium, and we’re prepared to pack and unpack depending on the final word.

No matter what December brings, this Thanksgiving we’ll give thanks for health and happiness, family and friends, and the four-legged children who bring such joy to our lives. And we’ll say a special thank you for our lucky health scare.

Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum and Mansell Crossing, and on Amazon. Contact her at inkpenn119@, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook. com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.

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