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By Royal Calkins
Leslee Marlow had spent a lovely Mother’s Day with her daughters, the grandkids and husband Charlie, enjoying a break from all the big and little tensions created by these days of sheltering in place.
The Pacific Grove woman was healthy for the most part. She had been a dancer in her younger days but she worried that her history of asthma might make her especially vulnerable to the virus. That’s why she had hunkered down for the most part over the past two months, spending considerable time on the computer to do the books for the family business, Marlow’s Mercedes-Werks in Seaside, and hours watching movies on TV.
That evening she stayed up late watching a movie with one of the daughters before joining her husband in bed.
The next morning, she didn’t wake up. She was just 56.
Charlie Marlow says the pathologist who did the autopsy determined that she died of a pulmonary embolism — a blood clot — caused by deep vein thrombosis. And that’s why Charlie is working to put out word to a largely homebound public about the dangers of becoming too sedentary while our lives are changed by the pandemic.
Many people have heard the warnings about sitting too long on a plane without getting up. That’s all about deep vein thrombosis and related maladies. But, Charlie Marlow notes, he’s learned that that’s not the only time to take precautions.
The experts say it is important for adults, especially those over 60, to get up and walk around at least once an hour. Between walks, say the doctors at Harvard and elsewhere, remember to flex and extend ankles and knees every once in a while.
Try to change positions while seated and stay hydrated. In other words, drink plenty of water.
Another caution is to avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
“When she was watching a movie, she always had her legs crossed,” said her husband of 38 years.
For those who spend significant time on computers, some specialists recommend devices that raise the computer screen so you’re required to stand at least occasionally while surfing the web or whatever.
By some estimates, nearly as many people in the U.S. will die of deep vein thrombosis this year as will die of COVID-19.
Charlie Marlow said the family will make continuing efforts to warn other families and will be suggesting contributions to organizations involved in researching and preventing such deaths. The family has created a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/f/LesleeMarlow, with all proceeds to be donated to organizations that promote awareness of DVT and related blood clot issues.
“We’re not trying to make a political statement about quarantines or anything like that,” Charlie said. “We just hope to make more people aware.” He had more to say about the woman he called his best friend, but he had trouble getting the words out.
Leslee Marlow had worked about 15 years at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, mostly in patient registration and insurance verification and then for the past seven years at the Mercedes shop.
In her spare time during the coronavirus lockdown, she regularly posted inspirational messages on her Facebook page, reminding friends that cooperation will save lives and that this will be over someday. She recently posted a semi-satirical video featuring a couple of lonely auto mechanics beckoning anyone who might need an extra oil change and a chat.
Leslee Marlow was born in Iowa and moved as a child to Modesto, where she met Charlie. They moved to the Peninsula shortly after their wedding in 1981. In addition to her husband, she is survived by daughters Tiffani Munsey of Pacific Grove and Kim Said of Marina, and three grandchildren.
For more information about DVT and pulmonary embolism, Charlie Marlow recommends stoptheclot.org.
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