David Bloom

* The following was posted on my Sounddude.com site, Monday, April 07, 2003*

Yesterday...a sad day.

Last night, I got in late after working all day on a documentary shoot for an up and coming show called  Heavy Metal Parking Lot, that will air later this year on a digital cable channel called Trio. All weekend, we had been interviewing people who haunt special events as groupies. Saturday, we went to a Tattoo Expo and then yesterday a cat show. I always get the strangest gigs. I love it.

Being at these events, I had not been near a TV set or radio all day Sunday. When I got in last night, after kissing and hugging the wife, I went in to check my email and get some dinner. As the computer was booting up, I turned the TV on and caught the last few seconds of a picture that instantly turned my blood to ice. There on the screen, with the date of 2003
underneath it, was a picture of my colleague and friend, David Bloom.

The sound was down and I sat there stunned for a second as the screen faded to black. I jumped up and ran into the family room where my wife was also watching TV and asked her if David had died. She said she didn't know as she had just turned on her set at the same time. In sheer panic, I logged on to my news service, only to have my friend's face staring back at me from the web page: David Bloom Dead In Iraq.

I couldn't control the tears. It was something I had feared. He was right on the front lines and knowing how David loved to push the envelope, I had just felt he could get himself killed doing what he loved to do. But as I read the story, I discovered that David had not died from a bomb or gun shot wound. He had died of a pulmonary embolism. Having grown up in a medical home, I knew what that was, an obstruction of a blood vessel in the lungs, usually due to a blood clot, which blocks a coronary artery. It's a fairly common condition that can be fatal. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 600,000 Americans develop pulmonary embolism annually; 60,000 die from it.

But how did David develop one? It turns out that apparently another condition caused the clot. DVT or Deep Venous Thrombosis. It's the pooling of blood in the lower extremities that can cause a clot to form. This pooling can happen when a person sits or stays in one position with little or no movement over a long period of time, allowing the blood to coagulate, sometimes forming a thrombus or blood clot. It happens to those confined to bed rest for extended periods of time. Passengers on long overseas flights get them often enough that some have died as a result. David, who was over 6', was crossing the desert of Iraq in a cramped armored vehicle, forced to sit with his legs folded for most of each day. A couple of days prior to his death, he had developed an extreme pain behind one of his knees. He talked with some of the military doctors there in Iraq and also conferred with doctors in the U.S. by satellite phone. They all said the same thing. Get to a hospital immediately. DVT is often fatal as the clot breaks loose and races to the lung, blocking an artery to the heart. I spoke with a doctor today and he said that if David had been able to get to a surgical hospital immediately, he would probably still be with us today. But being in the middle of a desert, in a very remote part of the world, two days from Baghdad, he could only take some aspirin for the pain.

The last time I saw David, he and I had spent a month together during the Novemeber 2000 Presidential election mess in Tallahassee and I found him to be a deeply intelligent and wonderfully witty individual. One night, in a moment right out of the movie Broadcast News, we were fighting a live deadline and one of our satellite trucks had gone down minutes before the Nightly News air time. So we recorded his voice-overs in the backseat of my camera man's Suburban and then, as the tape was handed to me, David smiled and said, "run like the wind, Rob". I took the tape and, like the scene in the movie, ran as fast as I could down the stairs of the parking garage of the hotel where the field news room was set up, into the street, down one block, and then after turning onto the main street, down five more city blocks to our other satellite truck in front of the court house that was waiting for the tape. It was a surreal moment as I was out of shape and having to dodge pedestrians and red lights. The closer I got, the slower everything seemed to move. As I finally got to the sat truck with my arm outstretched, a tech grabbed the tape out of my hand, slammed it into a video deck and punched play, feeding it live to New York, who recorded and cued it up immediately, ready to punch it "on the fly" under David's report that was getting ready to play. I felt like throwing up and had shin splints for a week after that but it aired seamlessly and I considered it worth it.

During that month of live-to-the-world newscasts, he would often ask me how he sounded. Some times I would tell him he sounded just fine, other times I would ask him if he was still actively looking into other careers. He had a million dollar smile and an infectious laugh. He always wanted to know if that last piece was a career ending bit. We all assured him it was the best he had ever done yet. In an industry bloated by mega egos, David didn't have one, even as he was striving to be the best he could be.

So far, this war has been as remote to me as it has been to most of the rest of you. But it has now kicked in my front door and delivered news that has broken my heart. I know what David's spiritual beliefs were. Though we never got around to speaking about it, which I now so regret, David was a committed Christian. He was a good man. A kind man. And he loved his wife and three daughters more than life itself. My only solace during this time of sorry and grief is the knowledge that I'll see him again in the next life.

Please pray for David's family. And say a little prayer for me to, if you can. I'll be okay. It just hurts right now. A lot.

Hug your children and your loved ones today and don't forget to always tell them you love them every chance you get. David had just gotten off of the phone with his wife, telling her that he loved her, walked ten feet, collapsed, and stepped into eternity.

Just some thoughts on a sad day!

* * * * * * * * *

David Bloom - In His Own Words

Sunday, April 5, 2003 - David's last email to his wife Melanie:

It's 10a.m. here Saturday morning, and I've just been talking to my soundman Bob Lapp about his older brother, whom he obviously loves and admires very very much, who's undergoing chemotherapy treatment for Leukemia. Here Bob is - out in the middle of the desert - and the brother he cares the world for - who had been the picture of health, devoted to his wife and kids, is dying. Bob can't wait to be home to be with him, and I can't wait to be home to be with all of you.

You can't begin to fathom - cannot begin to even glimpse the enormity - of the changes I have and am continuing to undergo. God takes you to the depths of your being - until you are at rock bottom - and then, if you turn to Him with utter and blind faith, and resolve in your heart and mind to walk only with Him and toward Him, (He) picks you up by your bootstraps and leads you home.

I hope and pray that all my guys get out of this in one piece. But I tell you, Mel, I am at peace. Deeply saddened by the glimpses of death and destruction I have seen, but at peace with my God, and with you. I know only that my whole way of looking at life has turned upside down - here I am, supposedly at the peak of professional success, and I could frankly care less. Yes, I'm proud of the good job we've all been doing, but - in the scheme of things - it matters little compared to my relationship with you, and the girls, and Jesus. There is something far beyond my level of human understanding or comprehension going on here, some forging of metal through fire.

I shifted my book of daily devotions and prayers to the inside of my flak jacket, so that it would be close to my heart, protecting me in a way, and foremost in my thoughts. When the moment comes when Jim or John or Christine or Nicole or Ava or you are talking about my last days, I am determined that they will say 'he was devoted to his wife and children and he gave every ounce of his being not for himself, but for those whom he cared about most - God and his family.' Save this note. Look at it a month from now, a year from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now. You cannot know now - nor do I - whether you will look at it with tears, heartbreak and a sense of anguish and regret over what might have been, or whether you will say - he was and is a changed man, God did work a miracle in our lives. But I swear to you on everything that I hold dear - I am
speaking the truth to you. And I will continue to speak the truth to you.
And, not to be trite, but that will set me free.

God bless you, Melanie. I love you and I know that you still love me. Please give the girls a big hug - squeeze 'em tight - and let them know just how much their daddy loves and cares for them.

With love and devotion,


Ⓒ 2003-2024 Rob Whitehurst