Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Saga of the Blood Clot

Ok, so this whole blood clot thing has been a nightmare!  Seriously, yesterday, I was mentally composing my will and letters to my loved ones on the off-chance that something horrible was going to happen.  I am very pessimistic about my health in general, so it was quite upsetting to find out what was going on and then not get any answers for 3 days.

I first discovered the clot last weekend.  I was taking the FrankenBrace off and looking at the bruising, which has faded to a lovely yellow, and the swelling, which is significantly decreased from where it was, when I noticed a weird lump in my arm.  At first, I figured it was just from where the two halves of the brace come together—maybe my arm was getting pinched or something—but it was rock hard and extremely painful to the touch.  Then I started thinking that maybe all the muscles I had messed up were all kind of curled up in there like a ball of rubber bands.  This did not especially cheer me since I figured if that was the case, they’d probably all die and I’d lose my arm.  I figured I’d be the first person in history to fall off a chair and require an amputation (see?  Pessimism!)

I had Michael feel it, and we made the joint decision to call the doctor on Monday.  I have still been sleeping A LOT, so when I woke up Monday afternoon, I put in a call to the ortho clinic first thing and they said Joe would call me back in a bit.  Joe didn’t, but the receptionist did and said that he wanted to see me first thing in the morning, was 8:50 OK?  Ok, now I’m all in a fluster about what this could possibly be, and it’s clearly something awful since they want to see me right away. 

We got to the clinic early, and Joe messed with the brace some and asked me how I was managing with it (“The word ‘hate’ comes to mind, Joe.  Never before have I blown $300 on something I have hated as much as this brace".”).  Then I showed him how the spot was right were the two parts of the brace came together and he felt around and said, “That’s a blood clot.  We need an ultrasound.” 

Immediately images flooded my head of death and dismemberment.  All I could think of was of the clot breaking up and going to my heart.  I’ve since learned lungs and stroke are likely victims too, even more fun things to worry about!  So the nurse came in and asked when they could schedule it and I said any damned time they liked, let’s get it done!  I gave her my cell phone number and we left. 

And waited.  She didn’t call for several hours.  To the point that I said to Sherry that I though I must have given them the wrong phone number and I called the clinic back and gave them my number again (these people are going to hate me!).  The nurse called back and told me that they would see me for the ultrasound at 6pm in Lee’s Hill.  I got Sherry to agree to come back and watch Leah since Victoria had choir practice, and then my neighbor Jack agreed to drive me down to the imaging center.

The ultrasound itself was really no big deal other than to someone who is extremely ticklish like I am, it was torture attempting to keep still.  It took a while, maybe 30 minutes or so, but the tech was very nice and pointed out the veins and crap on the monitor.  Proof that I have them and all :-)  Then I started getting concerned that he hadn’t looked at the clot, so when I sat up, I showed him where it was in case he had forgotten anything.  He politely pushed me out of the room, saying the doctor would send his report over to the clinic and that would be that.

So I waited and waited, praying.  Seriously, I was sure this was the end.  I played with Leah as much as I was able and then plucked out my favorite books and ice cream and read and tried to keep calm. My mother, intercepting my tearful phone calls, can attest to the fact I was largely unsuccessful.  I started planning cleaning some things out so my crap would be easier to get rid of, thinking about how Michael would manage with Leah, being in a deep despair that she would never remember me and what I should leave behind for her (video, letter, etc).  I mean, I was in a full blown panic. 

Finally, I couldn’t take it any more and called over to the clinic to get the word.  No word, since Joe was gone for the day, but the nurse assured me he’d call in the morning.  Another night’s restless sleep full of handwringing, although I found a killer app on my iPod called Chop Sushi.  I think it’s free and it is totally addicting!!!  Also, for 99 cents, you can do worse than Cake Doodler, especially if you like to do cake decorating!  This morning I was downstairs with Leah when Sherry arrived and she kept me good company until about 9:30 when fatigue from being up at 4:00 overtook me.  I went upstairs and about 15 minutes later, Joe called and said the clot was not in my veins, it was in the soft tissue of my arm and I just needed to take anti-inflammatories and ice it.  He asked about my pain, and for some reason, today my arm is KILLING me, so I told him about that and he gave me some advice about that as well.  I mean, we are talking about I was considering taking a Vicodin, even though I haven’t taken one in a week. 

I called my mom and dad and sister and texted everyone and Facebooked the good news.  I felt like Scrooge waking up on Christmas morning, “I will keep the spirit of Christmas in my heart always!”  I was just elated.  It was such a relief, I can’t even describe how happy I am still, just to be alive.  I felt like a ticking time bomb for a while there.

Just as I was settling in, Sherry hollered up to me that Leah was walking, so I hightailed it downstairs and watched her take 3 steps in a row.  I got all teary eyed all over again!  Then I took some video of the knee bounce and then went back upstairs.  I fell asleep around 11:00 and didn’t wake up till 3:15, by which point Victoria was back and taking Leah out to swim in the pool.

I am so appreciative of everyone’s support and well wishes and prayers.  I am so glad that God has decided I have some more living to do!!!  :-)  Life is beautiful…  I’m going to go sit with my hubby now.

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