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I Lost So Much Blood, I Had to Get a Blood Transfusion

I waited for this past summer for decades – I’m engaged and planning my wedding. It should have be a summer filled with dress shopping, flower selections, and taste-testing. But instead, it was the summer of surgery, ER visits, and a blood transfusion. And it all started with a knee injury.

A rocky start…

I had emergency knee surgery for a severe and traumatic meniscus tear. I had a great surgeon and the procedure couldn’t have gone better, although I started to notice that my leg was purple and I experiencing a lot of calf pain after surgery. Spoiler alert: I had a post-op blood clot.

I started on blood thinners, especially because I had upcoming travels scheduled. I rested and ate well. Then came my period. The first three days were as normal and that’s typically the length of my normal period. So, I expected to wake up the next morning with my period gone and head off to the airport for my business conference in Chicago. Instead, I woke up in a pool of blood.

What was happening?!

What was happening? I never experienced this as a teenager, let alone at 40 years old.

I had a cranial sacral treatment the night prior on my knee and the therapist said she was opening up the blood flow to help with my flight the next day. Well, she definitely opened up ALL the blood flow in my body. For the next five days, I changed my tampon and pad every hour and even passed a sizable clot every hour.

I hadn’t had clots since before my laparoscopy procedure that confirmed my diagnosis of endometriosis. Did this mean that the endometriosis was active again? I also started to wonder how could I lose this much blood and still be functioning?

I called my GYN over the weekend and he suggested that I come in on Monday to be checked out, but if I experienced any shortness of breath, light headedness, or feeling like I was going to pass out – go straight to the emergency room. I made it through my conference, flew home, and took a full day of rest on Sunday. When I woke up Monday morning, I was completely out of breath without any movement or activity and pale. So, off to the emergency room I went.

Off to the ER

They started with an EKG and bloodwork. My heart was fine, but the bloodwork showed I lost nearly half the blood in my body. “We typically recommend patients come to the emergency room if they bleed through a tampon or pad in an hour… you did that for five days before coming here. You lost a lot of blood and your body is now having a hard time getting the oxygen it needs. You’ll need a blood transfusion to start getting your levels back up to normal.” I was admitted for three days, had the blood transfusion, and got medications adjusted to still protect the blood clotting but also stop the bleeding.

Lessons learned

It was scary, exhausting, and humbling. It also was a great reminder to always stay connected with our doctor, alert them when something is wrong, and don’t wait for treatment. I didn’t intentionally delay treatment, I thought I was following my doctor’s orders, but in hindsight, I knew my body need help a lot sooner than when I got it help. Now it’s a longer recovery for me, and I have to allow myself the time and space to heal.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.