Scared straight

Where to begin…

Yesterday was certainly a wake-up-and-shake-out-the-cobwebs day. A scary day.

Monday evening it all started around 11pm when I started getting really, really bad leg cramps. The kind that makes you want to throw your body into a wall because it hurts so bad. I got out of bed and tried to walk it off. I thought I had worked through it, but when I went back to bed, the leg cramps didn’t go away. They went on the whole night, in varying intensity every 15 minutes. No position made it better… standing, sitting, walking, lying down…. nothing.

After I got David onto the school bus in the AM, I sat down in my office and took Tylenol. Then I Googled “persistent leg cramps” for about an hour. Most of what I read was about everything that I already knew. Night cramps can be a symptom of low potassium or trauma. BUT persistent cramps? Dr. Google and my favorite symptom checker all said one thing. Blood Clot.

I tried to take my mind off with work, but the cramps were still there. So at 10am I called the doctor. I got an appointment for 2pm.

When I got there, I waited for what seemed like an eternity in the patient exam room. I read all the notices on the walls about insurance coverage, glanced at a BMI chart, and learned what various stool consistencies looked like (I kid you not, it was a poster with pictures).

When my doctor came in, she was cheery and noticed my weight was down 25 pounds since I last saw her in November. “Way to go!” She exclaimed. “Now let’s look at that leg.”

She asked a ton of questions and then measured my calves. The leg that was hurting was bigger. She asked if I was on any meds… and when I said BCP’s her eyes went big.

“We need to get you to radiology for an ultrasound. I’m worried… this could be a clot.” She disappeared into the nurses room and I heard mumbling “She needs an u/s and doppler NOW. …DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). Call around and see who can take her right now.”

Ten minutes later, I had a doctors note in hand driving to radiology while trying to contact my husband and Mom to coordinate getting David from the bus stop.

S. ended up meeting me and drove me to the lab. On the way all I could think about was how serious a situation I could be in. I googled DVT that morning so I knew that a clot was seriously bad. It could break free at any moment and travel to the lungs as a pulmonary embolism for crying out loud!

I was freaking out.

Since I was a fill-in emergency appointment, I waited longer for the u/s (thank YOU, broken and F’d up U.S. Health System) to the point that I thought I might just walk out and go to the emergency room across the street.

Finally, I was subjected to a very long and tedious ultrasound in a very cold room. I flexed my foot and tightened my abs a zillion times while the u/s tech took pictures and measured blood flow. The woosh-woosh sound coming from my blood coursing through my body reminded me of something else… and it made me cry.

By this time, it was late and my doctor’s office was closed. The u/s tech took pity on me as she walked me out. “I know your doctor probably isn’t open honey. It will take us an hour to dictate and fax the report. You know I am not allowed to give you results… BUT, if I thought it was of an urgent nature I wouldn’t let you go.”

God bless that woman. It didn’t explain the pain I am in, but it eliminated my worst fear.

Today, I feel marginally better. The pain is still there. I am taking 600mg Motrin to take the edge off. If I’m not fully recovered by tomorrow…. then we have to dig further.

More tests.

Well, at least it will occupy my waiting time on the DE cycle.

9 thoughts on “Scared straight

  1. Oh Michelle, I am so sorry!! How scary. I hope you can get some answers soon. I had a DVT scare when I was in the hospital with pneumonia. I was only a month post partum, post surgery, so when I told them I was having leg cramps, they had me in u/s so fast it made my head spin. They gave me blood thinning injections every day after that. It was scary!!Thinking of you (((hugs)))

  2. How terrifying! I know all of the fear that DVT/PEs can cause. I had lots of problems breathing one day about a week past the delivery of my youngest. It was so bad that I got panicked and had Frank take me to the ER. My BP was off the charts and the only b/w titer that came back abnormal was the one that determines the risk of a blood clot. I was given a shot of lasix to help bring my BP down and was admitted to the cardiology floor or tons of tests. The lasix, which is also a diuretic, made me pee buckets. Literally – because I couldn’t move around due to the risk of the clot, at first the brought me what looked like a plastic lawn chair with a hole cut out of the seat, inside of which sat a bucket with measurements etched up the side so that they could keep track of my fluid output. Because I had trouble breathing and had most of the risk factors for DVT (including some leg pain in the calf area), they thought that a clot had already broken free and lodged itself somewhere in my lung. Even before the diagnosis was complete, they had started me on lovenox injections and had given me the whole spiel about being on meds for a year to reduce the clot, blah, blah, blah….To make a long, scary story short, after tons of scans and tests over a 30 hour period, they determined that I was actually suffering from extreme fluid retention on top of a pulmonary infection (i.e hella bad cold). The lasix given to me in the ER was intended to bring down my BP (which it did), but it was the inadvertent solution to the real problem. In that 30 hour period, I had peed out FOURTEEN POUNDS of fluid, I kid you not. I’m glad that you don’t have DVT, and I hope and pray that your leg pain can be attributed to something completely different and non-critical like in my situation.

  3. Oh wow, how scary! I’m glad it’s nothing serious, but having no explanation sucks. I hope they figure it out or it disappears soon. Thinking of you!

  4. That’s really crazy Shell – I didn’t even know until yesterday what DVT was. They had the DVT traveling RV on the Today show yesterday morning b/c its DVT awareness month – insane! I am so glad to hear its not that. I hope you get a good report from the doc. ~Jaclyn

  5. Shelli! So glad everything turned out OK as far as no DVT. Weird, I wonder what’s going on?Must have been different to have an ultrasound on your LEG instead of, ahem, you-know-where! Ha, ha! Hope you feel better!

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