Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I really should learn to NOT joke around about certain things...

I took a nap on Saturday afternoon. Naps usually make me happy... but I woke up feeling like I was going to have a charlie horse in my left calf. I rubbed it, stretched it, took Ibuprofen for it. I took a hot shower... and it relieved the pressure for about a minute. Sunday morning it still hurt, walking from church to where we parked was really uncomfortable.

"You need to go to the doctor and get that checked out," says my husband.

"Why, it's a pulled muscle?" I responded.

"No, it could really be a problem. Remember I work at a hospital full of people who crash motorcycles, and have strokes because they ignore warning signs of blood clots."

I took to Facebook to make a joke about DVT (deep vein thrombosis) because of course, I would go to the doctor and he would tell me that I didn't exercise enough and had shrinking muscles and tendons and was shriveling away and I needed a good massage and a work out. My sister and others chimed in that "maybe it's a tumor/it's not a tumor" (thank you Arnold Schwartzenegger), or Wilson's Disease or Lupus (thank you Dr. House).  I went on WebMD and it looked like the joking around about DVT might just be getting to the truth, but I figured that was some old man disease, or something that happened to people who have leg trauma or something. I couldn't see in any way, shape or form how I would come down with a DVT... so it simply couldn't be. It would literally be jumping to conclusions, like looking at a mole and deciding you have skin cancer when it's just a mole. I was sure that it was just a strained muscle from moving around wood, or not going hiking enough (at all) this winter.

I didn't want to piss away a co-pay and waste my doctor's time when it was probably nothing.

Monday I didn't go into work. Doug called me at noon and asked me if I had called the doctor. I had not... He encouraged me to do so. So I did and the doctor had me come right in.

Doc took one look a my leg, felt the back of it and told me that it felt hot to the touch, asked if here was pain (yes) and told me that I had a Deep Vein Thrombosis. The hell? Rur? Wha?

"How do you know? You just looked at my leg and felt it?"

"Chris, I'm a doctor. I don't just play one on TV."

Touche. "Okay. But how do we know? Is there a blood test? What do we do?"

"You get an ultrasound, now."

He had his nurse make a call to get me in, and told me that he was writing two prescriptions, one for a pill and one for an injection. I told him I didn't want injections that I had to SELF inject. I mean really? What the hell? Why isn't everything in pill form! So he whipped out a syringe and demonstrated on himself how to do it, poked himself right there with no medicine in it and chucked it into the sharps container.

"If I can do it you can do it."

"Dude, that was kind of hard core."

I drove myself to the hospital, called Doug on the way, he got on a train to come up and meet me. I told the ultrasound technician lady that I should stop joking around about things like this, saying I have DVT and then finding out I do... maybe I should joke around about finding a million dollars under my bed next time.

She laughed and told me that she learned the hard way not to joke about things. Her husband is dying from terminal esophageal to liver cancer,  and they used to joke around all the time about "maybe it's cancer" or "when I die I bet you will..." or what have you.

It took my breath away. "I'm sorry..." I told her. She told me that this week they'd be moving him to hospice. Seven years of fighting and he was ready to stop. I tried not to cry, and she did her ultrasound thing.

Usually ultrasound techs don't tell you what they're seeing, but she told me that things "didn't look right" in my thigh. She asked if I had any trauma to my thigh and pelvis. "Well, I had surgery in August, I had a UAE to kill a fibroid, and they went in to my femoral artery right where you are right now."

"There isn't even a scar there," she said, looking for it. "Well, I knew that things were weird in here, because it looks almost like things were moved out of the way. It's kind of funny how you get used to seeing things after 35 years of doing this."

"Did they mess something up or break all my veins or do something horrible?" I asked. She assured me no, that they just moved things around. And that I probably had a clot as a result of this surgery.

That had never crossed my mind.

She found the clot, hiding behind my knee. She then followed up the veins from the clot and told me to listen to the sound of my pulse, describing it as "thready" compared to other spots in my leg where it sounded like rock star beats.

She had me get dressed after taking a series of images, and she called my doctor. He told me to go ahead and fill the prescriptions, call him if I had any questions, and come back for some blood work on Wednesday morning.

After I hung up the phone I stuck my right hand out to her. She offered to help me up but that wasn't what I wanted. I told her that I wanted to shake her hand and thank her. I asked her husband's name and she told me. I asked if I could pray for him and she smiled and said absolutely.

"And can I pray for you?" I asked. And she started to cry. Which made me cry. Someone else had come in the office, and I wanted to hug her but instead assured her that I'd remember them. I walked out to the waiting room teary, and Doug looked at me with surprise.

"I have a DVT, you were right. Let's go get the prescription filled and you can say I told you so."

So far I've had 3 shots, from Doug. I can't give myself a shot, so he has been doing it for me and he seems to greatly enjoy it. Dr. Doug as it were. I am going in for the blood work tomorrow and then heading into the office because I miss my girls. I probably should have the leg up, and should figure out how to do that tomorrow at work. Sigh.

If it's not one thing, it's another. Right?


  1. I'd give you a shot! (giving yourself one is surprisingly easy to get used to)

  2. I'm sorry about the DVT, but what a bunch of terrific life encounters you've had to go with it... Wow. Hope the injections break the clot free and get it safely along its way.