WASHINGTON -- Dillon Gee recalls sitting in a hospital bed one week ago, a catheter running through his body, medicine dripping onto a blood clot in his shoulder. Gee asked one of his doctors if the clot could move elsewhere in his bloodstream and kill him. Such was the depth of his concern.
"Everything just kind of flies through your mind at that moment," Gee said. "It went from being, 'Am I going to be all right?' to 'Am I ever going to pitch again?' to 'How long is this going to take?' It was so many emotions."
Now more than a week removed from that nightmare, Gee was discharged from the hospital Monday and flew to New York the following day. Doctors in St. Louis had successfully widened the damaged artery in his right arm and told him that, barring setbacks, he could begin throwing again in six weeks.
It is still unlikely that Gee will be able to pitch again this year for the Mets. But given the initial fears regarding his overall health, the past week has given him plenty of hope.
"It's been a long week for me," Gee said. "This thing kind of came out of the blue and hit me really fast, and to be honest with you, it was very scary at first -- kind of tough to go through. Then once we figured out I was going to be OK, my feelings went from being scared to being just disappointed really fast."
Speaking on a conference call Tuesday afternoon, Gee recounted the numbness he began feeling in his right arm on July 7, the day of his last start. Though Gee admitted he has felt numbness in the tip of his middle finger sporadically since 2010, this was a much more threatening sensation.
It kept worsening throughout the night and into the following day, to the point that Gee paid a visit to the team's training staff. There, he received some frightening news.
"As soon as they told me they couldn't even feel a pulse in my right arm," Gee said, "I got pretty scared."
The next day, doctors in New York diagnosed the problem and used a catheter to dissolve the blood clot in his shoulder. Then they sent him to St. Louis for an operation to widen his artery, which had narrowed to the point that it was allowing blood to flow at just four-percent capacity.
Somewhere along the line, the realization sunk in that the best half-season of Gee's career might have reached its end. Entering the season as a potential back-of-the-rotation horse, Gee became something more over the first three months of 2012, improving his strikeout and walk rates and developing into a more complete pitcher.
Now, his only goal is to return to the mound healthy -- if not this year, then next. Doctors have told Gee that he does not face any great risk of a relapse, giving him hope that he can eventually help the Mets once more.
"I'm not trying to jeopardize the rest of my career just to get back this year," Gee said. "But if I feel good, I would love to finish the year throwing again."