So I’ve got this bum leg. It’s been swollen for a while, like a couple months, following a nasty pull in my leg. The calf of the right leg had gotten, well, huge. And I frankly had ignored it because I hate doctors. Unfortunately it turns out that the leg was a ticking time bomb ready to kill me.
The leg was swollen because I had Deep Vein Thrombosis.
The problem with a DVT is they can and do kill. They clots can break free and travel through your vein to your heart and lungs. In your heart a clot could cause a heart attack. In your long, they cause a pulmonary embolism. Both are deadly.
So for months I’ve been walking around with death in my calf. On Jan 4th I visited a doctor to get it checked out. The doctor freaked out. And I freaked out.
I went to get a sonogram and they found the clots and sent me to the ERIC at Huntsville Hospital. They started me out on lovenox and warfarin. Told me I might die at any moment and sent me home. I was stunned! I was freaked out! I didn’t sleep all weekend, feeling every little twinge in my leg had to be the clot breaking free and trying to kill me.
Well, it didn’t. But what do I know? On Sunday, January 6th I was taking the Christmas tree to the curb when I smacked the crap out of my leg. I couldn’t breath my chest was on fire. I couldn’t see. I was raced to the emergency room again. This time to Crestwood because I couldn’t breath and it was closer. Crestwood ran the same test Huntsville did, the same X-rays and the same mess. And sent me home. I didn’t have a pulmonary embolism. I hade a massive panic attack.
If you’ve never had a full on panic attack you’ve no idea of knowing how they feel. It’s is probably as close as you can get toa heart attack and not have one.
Come Monday, and it still wasn’t alright. My leg hurt, and no one could see me. Tuesday was the same. I didn’t see a doctor till Wednesday. That’s when I made my first visit to Dr. Fred Stucky at Tennessee Vally Vascular Consultants. He ran another ultrasound. The good news was I had blood flow again, but I knew that because my swelling had gone down.
When I saw the Doc, he wanted to be very aggressive. I agreed. So he wanted to do a very specific procedure. He wanted to put a sheath in my leg and run catheters up to the clots and dissolve the clots. It was a risk procedure. Not in terms of my health but in that it might not work. But if it did work, it would offer a radical improvement of the traditional treatment.
When I asked how soon we could do it, the doc asked “how about tomorrow?” It was fast, but I liked it. I agreed and went home to get ready.
This story will continue in the hospital logs to follow.