MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's game night for the Stich family, even though someone is missing.
"My kids … they don't get to have their dad," Patti Stitch said.
A month ago, her husband Paul Stitch told her he was having pain in his left leg before they left on a family trip to a water park.
"I didn't really think anything of it," Patti Stitch said.
When they got to the park, Paul Stitch had trouble breathing and collapsed. He was taken to a hospital and died just two hours later from a pulmonary embolism.
"I said, 'Is he dead?' And she goes, 'Yeah.' I just kept screaming that they told me it was an anxiety attack. I just kept telling them, 'What the heck happened?'" Patti Stitch said.
Dr. Michael Hu, a vascular surgeon at Hennepin County Medical Center, says pulmonary embolisms happen when blood clots in major veins break off and travel -- then block off the lungs.
"It can happen to anyone," Hu said. "Common risk factors include immobility, either from plane travel, car travel, immobility in the hospital after a big operation."
Paul Stitch was a truck driver for 20 years.
Hu said blood clots can go unnoticed for their often generic symptoms.
"You can have some pain or Charley horse-type pain, you can have some swelling, you can have some discoloration," Hu said.
Patti Stitch is hoping her family's loss could educate others to save a life.
"When he was saying how his leg hurt, you know, I just should've just, just should have made him go, I just should of," she said. "Make sure you take your precautions and you say it could happen because I thought we'd be together forever."
If you think you have symptoms of a blood clot, you should immediately go to an emergency room. If you'd like to donate to help the Stich family, click here.
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