"I was going to die!": Eric Church recalls the time he underwent a life-saving surgery
The singer at first thought the tingling in his hands was nothing but when his condition landed him on the operation table that's when the seriousness of it all dawned on him.
For his last album in 2017, Eric Church went on a five-month arena tour that was quite taxing, both physically and mentally. He was nearing the end of the grueling schedule when suddenly the singer found himself undergoing an emergency surgery to save his life. In an interview with Rolling Stone the country singer recounted how it all happened - the time he felt he almost died.
He recalled that he had felt a slight tingling in his hands when he was nearing the end of his tour but did not think much of it as he believed it was "just associated it with nerves". “I didn’t think it was anything," he said. However, he realized that things were serious when later that year he was texting while watching the College World Series. During this, he noticed that his left hand "was not responding like it should."
Soon, he realized that his left arm was swollen and when he took his shirt off in front of the mirror to have a look at it. He saw that his "arm was noticeably red and enlarged." Eric had heard about people suffering from a thrombosis on airplanes so he decided to google more about the disorder. "I had five out of five symptoms," he said. Eric did not waste a single second and drove himself to the hospital.
However, in order to have a definite diagnosis, the doctors had to perform an ultrasound but unfortunately, there were no arrangements for doing so in the hospital he first visited. By the time he reached another hospital, it was nearing 5 a.m and by this time, the singer admitted that he thought about the worst things that could happen.
“I was thinking about my family and kids, and how I wanted to make it back home. But I was also thinking about the tour, and what we went through. I looked back and I honestly felt pretty satisfied that I couldn’t have given another thing," he said. Eric was diagnosed with a blood clot in his chest and he asked the doctors only one thing- "Can it kill me?" When the doctors told him that they had to perform the surgery "today", he realized the seriousness of the condition.
"That was really when it hit me. To them, I was going to die," he said. Eric underwent surgery for a birth defect called thoracic outlet syndrome, in which in which the top rib is too close to the collarbone. “There’s a major vein that runs through there, and when I would raise my arm, it would pinch it and damage the vein," he said. "The clot was where it tried to heal. But it kept backing up, backing up. And like any clot, when you get enough pressure, it’s gonna blow.”
Doctors told Eric that he was lucky because most of the time people see the signs when they are in their 20s. By the time someone is Eric's age, 41, "they usually just fall over in the shower." After three days of recovering from his surgery, the singer underwent another surgery to have his top rib removed. This was followed by months of physical therapy and rehab. By September 2017 Eric was back on his tour and revealed that he has suffered no long-term nerve damage.