Thursday, November 12, 2015

T-shirts, blood clots, and scans - Oh My!!!

Well this has been a week.  At least that's what they tell me.  Once again, I get to be a warning for others.  This seems to be the true reason for my existence.
First let me tell you about the t-shirts. 

Order HERE

I put these on sale about a week ago.  10% of the sale price ($21) goes to On Monday morning, the local t-shirt printer CHANGED THEIR MIND and said that the employee who quoted and accepted the job didn't know enough about it.  I don't even know enough swear words to say how I feel about that.  They did give me another possible source, and I was able to swiftly rescue the project although their required minimum is much higher.  Get your shirt today!

So let's talk a little about blood clots and the lungs.
I feel very lucky to be sitting here writing.
A little over a week ago, I got up from writing, and felt a very sharp pain at the top of my thigh.  So sharp in fact, that I considered the possibility of a broken hip and needed to use a cane for a couple days.  *Naturally* I decided to wait a few days to see if it would resolve before calling a doctor.  Because I'm an idiot.  It did not occur to me that it was my femoral artery until much later.

It did resolve.  About that time, I became short of breath.  At the time, I made no connection between the two things.  Over the next few days, that intensified until Saturday I found myself in the middle of the grocery store wondering if I'd make it to the car (or to the end of the aisle).

At home, I looked up walking pneumonia (seated in my usual cross-legged position in front of the computer), but there was no fever.  Other than the inability to catch my breath after any exertion at all, I felt fine.  I made a super concentrated lung syrup, and took it often.  Nada.  Sunday we had a 2 year old over for the day, and I promised my family that I would call the doctor in the morning.  Cooking dinner meant many, many breaks of sitting to catch my breath.
I really figured that my life-long battle with tobacco had caught up with me.  I have quit many times, and fallen off the wagon just as many times.  It can be a very difficult thing.  I no longer smoke, but there were a lot of years...  In a lot of ways, the dread of what would be found kept me from making an appointment earlier.

The doctor got me right in on Monday, and so began the blood-letting and scanning and testing.  They eventually sent me home with an inhaler, but a few hours later called to let me know that the blood test results showed a high likelihood of a blood clot in the lung, and a CAT scan was scheduled for a few hours later.  From that moment on, life was no longer in my control for a few days.

I will spare you all the details, but there were clots in both lungs.  What stands out for me is 3 days on a clear liquid diet (that nobody could really give a reason for), an alarm on the bed, so they knew if I got up, and learning that it is possible to fall asleep during an MRI (I am very claustrophobic) with enough sedation.  Chicken broth for breakfast.  Seriously.  And lunch.  And dinner.  Blood tests every few hours to get the blood thinner just right.  It could have been a horrible experience, but A) everyone was kind and gentle and B) I was alive. 
This could just as easily have resulted in sudden death or a stroke.

Can you see how many different ways I was an idiot?  How many times I decided to "wait and see" instead of seeing a doctor (or calling an ambulance!!!)

Now here's my point in writing this...
We are ALL spending a lot of time on the computer these days.  We forget to take breaks.  One of the doctors told me that stretching the calves with "toes toward the nose" - sort of the opposite of pointing the toes - releases a natural blood thinner, and doing that simple exercise 100 times a day is all the typical person would need.

If you have a sharp, debilitating pain, see a doctor.
If you suddenly find yourself short of breath, see a doctor.
To my herbie friends... you can't fix everything with herbs.

I'm going to be fine.  If one person reads this, retains it, and makes that call, it will have been well worth the time spent writing it.
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