For a couple of years, David had been experiencing stomach problems. Various indigestion medications, including Prylosec, helped somewhat but he became concerned after he started passing blood. He noticed, too, that his energy level dropped. David’s wife, Jennifer, finally was able to persuade him to make an appointment to see his doctor. However, things started to go badly wrong the evening before his doctor’s appointment… David wryly reports that he was not feeling at all well, and was lying in bed watching the season premiere of “ER” when he needed to go to the bathroom again. This time he really scared himself when he realized he was passing pure blood and could feel himself going rapidly downhill. An attempt to walk ended in his collapsing on the floor after two steps, sweating profusely, and unable to pick himself up. He recalls hearing his wife calling 911 and when the ambulance arrived, the EMTs found his blood pressure was precipitously low.
David was rushed to the emergency room at Sacred Heart where doctors found that his blood pressure was extremely low. When asked to stand up, he tried but immediately passed out. Tests showed that he had a bleeding ulcer and he was hurried to the Intensive Care Unit. His surgeon told him he needed surgery and that to increase his chances of surviving the operation, he should have a blood transfusion. The choice of receiving blood is, however, the patient’s decision and David had to weigh the fact that his Chinese culture gave him reservations about receiving a transfusion from a stranger against increasing his odds of survival. It didn’t take him long to make the decision and, in fact, he needed four transfusions of red blood cells to bring his blood pressure to the level where the surgeon would perform the surgery.
David made a full and rapid recovery. He also became a donor himself once his one year deferral for receiving blood was over.