I have multiple “notes” in my note app that are bullet point lists from the days I was too tired to blog while on my whirlwind adventure, but I don’t think they’ll actually be written any time soon.
My trip to the UK and Ireland was amazing and beautiful, but now I’m paying the price for that ten hour plane ride on the way home.
My parents joked about posting something about this on Facebook, but my inclination at the time was to not do so. I have thought about posting on Facebook over the past few days, but it didn’t feel right. Instead, I’m writing this blog post. It feels like a more appropriate medium.
Despite the fact that I got up and stretched my legs pretty frequently on the long haul flight, they got so swollen that they felt like they were going to pop. We spent the night in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday night and flew into Greenville on Sunday where my parents picked us up. My legs stayed very swollen and sore through Tuesday, when the swelling finally went down most of the way but the soreness remained. I was also a little nauseated on Tuesday afternoon, but I didn’t really think anything of it.
On Wednesday morning I got up and let River outside. I started to feel dizzy but continued puttering around the kitchen. My dad asked if I was feeling okay and I mentioned that I had a headache. I remember saying to my mom that I felt like it wasn’t good that my legs still hurt so badly from the flight on Saturday. My dad was down in the basement and my mom was getting ready to go upstairs and take a shower. My memory of what happened next probably isn’t 100% accurate because it was terrifying.
I very suddenly became incredibly dizzy. My chest started hurting and I started having trouble breathing. I told my mom to call 911 and that I thought I had a blood clot. My dad came upstairs and made the call while my mom held me up in the chair I had sat down in. I got very sweaty and almost passed out several times. At some point my dad was holding me up. I think my mom went to make sure the paramedics knew where to come and maybe to move some things out of the way. I remember her moving the dog crate out of the way. It took the paramedics about ten minutes to get to our house, but it felt like much longer.
The paramedics (Ben and Christie from Skyland Fire Department- they were wonderful) arrived and asked me a lot of questions. I don’t remember what all we talked about or what types of things they checked for. I got onto the gourney with some help and they loaded me into the ambulance. My dad got in the passenger’s seat in the front. There was another paramedic or maybe a fireman there too, but I never saw his face and I don’t remember his name. I do know that it was his day off. Mom got in her car with River to take her to doggie daycare and she left right behind us.
The paramedics put an IV needle in my arm, checked my blood pressure, and set me up for an EKG. I remember Christie reminding me to take big, slow, deep breaths and telling me everything was going to be okay. They did an EKG in the driveway before we left and it was abnormal. I remember Christie whispering something to Ben and me saying “it makes me really nervous when you whisper.”
Christie drove the ambulance and Ben rode in the back with me. As we were turning down one road in my neighborhood, I said to Ben, “Well you aren’t using the siten, so I can’t be that bad off.” Less than ten seconds later the siren came on. Ben assured me that I was okay and that they were just being extra cautious. At some point during the ride, I asked Ben if I was going to die. He grabbed my hand and said “look at me.” I didnt, so he said “look at me, Catherine.” I did and he said “not on my shift. Do you hear me? You are doing great. You are going to be okay” or something of that nature anyway.
We eventually got to the hospital after about ten minutes that felt like an hour and I was placed in a room in the ER. They did a chest X-ray fairly shortly after I arrived but it was at least four hours after I arrived before they did an ultrasound on my legs and a CT scan of my chest with contrast.
They later told me that the ultrasound showed a blood clot in my left leg and told me that I will need to take the blood thinner Coumadin for 3-6 months and will need to give myself blood thinner injections in my stomach twice a day for the next five or so days.
The only symptom of pulmonary embolism I DIDN’T have was coughing up blood. My dad talked to his friend who is a doctor and we are fairly certain that it was a pulmonary embolism that led to us calling 911.
I ended up in the ER again on Thursday night because I had a fever and my discharge papers said to seek “prompt medical attention.” I do not have an infection, but I probably do have a virus on top of everything else.
My official diagnosis is blood clot and DVT (deep vein thrombosis). You may google that if you’d like more information. For the next five to seven days or so, I’m at risk of the blood clot dislodging or part of it breaking off and going to my lungs causing another pulmonary embolism. I have been very very lucky so far. Please keep me in your thoughts or pray for me, whichever you are inclined to do.
I am doing okay today. My head hurts and my legs ache. I can’t really be left alone because of the potential pulmonary embolism, so I’ve been hanging out in my bed with my legs propped up on pillows with an air horn by my side, just in case.
I am so grateful that I live with my parents and that my mom was in the room when this happened. I am so thankful that both of my parents remained so calm in the face of something so terrifying. I am so appreciative of the paramedics who came and took care of new. I am so grateful for each person who has asked if there is anything I need this week.
So, that’s what’s up with me!