Edgar Cawood of Spring City wasn't about to let a little ankle surgery get him down. The busy real estate agent and treasurer of the Watts Bar Lake Association was just days away from getting his cast removed from surgery he had in Charlotte, North Carolina, when he began experiencing severe coughing and chest pain. He had no idea the two were related.
"I figured I just had a bad cough and that I'd somehow injured my ribcage," he said. "I had no idea what was really going on with my body."
Cawood had developed a deep blood clot as a result of the surgery on his ankle. Once blood starts to clot and close off a deep vein, the clot can enlarge, break off, and migrate to the lungs. Such a condition can be fatal.
But Cawood didn't know that, and so he suffered through the pain for a few days before finally asking a friend to take him to Rhea Medical Center.
"My wife was out-of-town that week," he said. "She probably would have made me go to the hospital sooner."
Within minutes of arriving at the Rhea Medical Center Emergency room, Cawood saw Dr. Chris Horton, who recognized his condition as pulmonary embolism.
"I am convinced that Dr. Horton saved my life," said Cawood. "He got the diagnosis right, and that was key to my survival."
After receiving preliminary treatment for the condition and spending the night at Rhea Medical Center, Cawood was transferred to a lung specialist at Erlanger. He currently takes anticoagulation medication to prevent further clotting and periodically receives blood tests at Dr. William Bates' office in Spring City to determine if the dose needs to be adjusted.
"Dr. Bates is a fantastic physician," said Cawood. "I get along really well with him, which is a good thing because I see him a lot more often these days."
Cawood looks forward to spending time with his family and fishing out on the lake this spring--little things he said he appreciates more now that he has been given a second chance at life.