Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year...and blood clots

We celebrated the New Year pretty low key.  I worked until 5pm and when I went to leave the rear passenger side tire on my car was frozen.  Like it wouldn't turn, it was just dragging.  I had (like a cotton-headed ninnymuggins) washed my car in the morning before work.  Yes, it was like zero degrees.  But I was trying to be a responsible adult and car owner and get all that salt off.  Plus I have a black car and it drives me crazy in the winter.  So I washed it and drove two blocks to work and parked and went inside.  I think if I had drove around a little more it would have been alright.  Ultimately I had to drive up over a curb to break the ice free.  My dad suggested that maneuver...can't take credit for it on my own.  So luckily there weren't many people around in the parking lot anymore since I was driving all around, dragging a tire and running up over curbs.  Crazy lady!

I made Jeremy come down and drive my car home and everything seemed to be working and is alright now.  We got home and headed over to our neighbors house for a little New Years Eve party...and I use the term party very loosely.  We played Card Against Humanity (hilarious!) and had snacks and watched the kids play.  We headed home about 9:30 and put the kids to bed and we went to bed too.

We had a relaxing morning New Years Day and hung around the house and watched movies with the kids.  My mom came up and we watched the Iowa game and got Olive Garden to go (because I don't take 2-2year olds to restaurants). 

Right about time to eat I wasn't feeling too hot and started having some shortness of breath.  I have had some "episodes" of shortness of breath the last few days but they only lasted a couple minutes.  This one was hanging on longer and I actually did one of the kid's albuterol nebulizer treatments.  It didn't help at all so I texted my friend Jonna who is an ER nurse.  She called me after a few texts back and forth and gave me an assessment over the phone.  She suggested I go to the emergency department and offered to call to see what the wait was like for me (best. friend. ever).

**Side note: The real tipping point that made Jonna tell me to go to the ER and that made me decide I would was that a few weeks ago I received a letter in the mail about some genetic testing that Ben and I had done last summer.  It said I had THREE genetic mutations that make it more likely for my blood to clot.  I have two MTHFR gene mutations and a Prothrombin 20210 mutation.  Ben's Pediatric Stroke Specialist in Indiana had recommended I see a hematologist but I hadn't made time for it yet. 

****Side, side note: Why do we do this as mom's?  I was starting a new job.  The holidays were coming.  We were busy with the kids.  I didn't make time for myself.  If my kid's doctor said they needed to see another doctor, they would have an appointment the next day.  Why don't we take the same care of ourselves?  We're all guilty of it.  Let my story be your lesson - listen to your body and instincts and take care of yourself so you are ABLE to take care of your family.  End rant ;)

So my mom was already at our house and stayed with the kids.  Jeremy and I headed down to Mercy where Jonna works.  She wasn't on duty but had called and talked to a couple people about my situation.  I went straight through triage and got a room in the ER.  I had a FABULOUS nurse named Ann who started a (big) IV like a pro and got my testing started.  I had some blood tests and had to pee in a cup to make sure I wasn't pregnant for the CT scan they wanted to do (hilarious if you know us, right).  I waited awhile for all my labs to get done and then they took me down for the CT.  I will add that by this point my breathing had normalized and I was sure I was absolutely losing my mind and they were going to commit me to the psych ward.  So I head down, have my CT with contrast - that was weird - and get back to my room.  The doctor treating me came in pretty quickly and said "Well, there's a reason you've been having trouble breathing." I had multiple blood clots on both sides of my lungs.  I asked my internal medicine doctor today if he knew how many and he said something like not the most but not a few either.  Whatever that means - ha!

I was admitted to the Clinical Decision Unit and got started on Lovenox injections and got my first dose of warfarin - as well as a pantoprazole - is that standard for all patients hospital friends?  Jeremy went home and got me a few things and came back to sleep in the-most-uncomfortable-recliner-in-the history-of-the-world beside me.  Have I mentioned he's the best husband ever?  Yeah, he is.  We got about 4 hours of sleep and then I started having tests in the morning. 

I had a couple more blood draws and then went for a vascular ultrasound where they checked the blood flow in my legs and made sure there weren't any more clots.  Then I went for an echocardiogram which is an ultrasound of the heart.  They made sure there weren't any clots stuck in my heart and checked all the valves and probably a million other things I don't even know about. 

Everything checked out so the internal medicine doctor gave me the option of going home.  He said usually they make people stay while they get their INR (the level the check to see how thick/thin your blood is) stabilized and then they let you go home.  I basically had to pinky swear I would go to my doctor every day to get my blood checked and I would promise to do my injections.  Of course I will!  Let me out! 

So here's the low down: The clots are still in my lungs.  I'm taking two blood thinners to make sure they don't get any bigger.  I will have to take one blood thinner (warfarin) for the rest of my life.  The clots will eventually dissolve and I'll be good as new!  And hopefully I never have another one!


  1. Glad it is mostly ok but will be continuing to pray! Sheesh!! And yes, take care of yourself!!

  2. Yes everyone is on pantoprazole (Protonix)!! I'm pretty sure there is a volume discount. And also to help prevent a GI bleed. You probably don't want that either.

  3. I'm glad they caught it before it got really serious! Did they do a scan of your carotid arteries too? Just curious.

    1. They did not do my carotid arteries. Just my legs and my heart.