In case you haven't heard.....
Over the next week I started becoming more concerned because the shortness of breath was worsening. Sun, Feb 3rd, it reached a crisis stage & after work I went back into Urgent Care....we got there around 7:30 pm. Butchy & I had figured that I had either developed pneumonia or my cold brought on asthma. I've never had asthma, but knew that it was possible for it to be brought on by a cold.
By the time I got to Urgent Care I was gasping for breath with no exertion....trying to breathe was causing me to gasp for air. I was being slowly suffocated. The Dr in UC, Dr Basale, ran a bunch of tests and while waiting for the lab & x-ray results he had me on oxygen. Even with the oxygen my blood/oxygen saturation level was only around 90, or so.
My room at UC was pretty close to the nurse's station....at one point Butchy & I heard a couple of them exclaiming about labs coming back with a 4,000....I started to panic, but calmed myself by telling myself that the lab result could have been for anyone. I wasn't the only one in UC that night. I decided not to worry, unless told otherwise.
Dr. Basale finally came in with the results around 10:30. All tests were indicating that I had a possible pulmonary embolism.....a clot in my lung. The D-Dimer test result was over 4300!!!....a normal reading is only 2 - 400!! That test indicated the possibility of a clot...but it's not a specific test so more tests would have to be run to figure out where the exact location of the clot was & if it actually was a clot causing my breathing issues. Dr. Basale told me that I would be admitted to a hospital & then started me on a heparin drip.
Group Health could not find me a hospital bed in Tacoma, so I was sent by ambulance to Group Health's hospital in Redmond....an hour away (with no traffic). I was NOT happy to be so far away from home and family!!
5 am I finally got settled into my room....I was beyond exhausted. Rest was not to be had on Monday....after a zillion tests & being poked and prodded like a pin cushion.....it was determined that I have a small clot in my right lung. Heparin would keep it from getting bigger, but as far as the clot itself: the body would absorb it over time.....also, my breathing would get better as my body adjusted to the clot. As the clot grew my body could not adjust....with the growth stopped my body would bore a hole through the clot allowing me to breathe even better.
My main concern was not being sent home until I could breathe....the Drs main concern was my blood clotting levels...INR, as they call 'em. I started at .9 and had to be at 2 before I could go home. Finally on Fri I was at 2.1....I couldn't wait to go home! My breathing was markedly improved on Weds & each day it got better and better.....I was getting cabin fever in my hospital room. I was on the telemetry unit (I referred to my telly-box as my telly-tubby box)....the nurses weren't used to caring for someone my age. I would get such accolades for being able to roll over in bed & with how sturdy I was walking! It would crack Butchy & I up constantly....I would get compliments for walking from the bed to the potty. YAY ME!! LOL
I was discharged and sent on my way around 3:15 on Fri....yep....discharged during rush hour! grrrrrrrr After 4 hours...yes, 4 HOURSSSSSSS....we finally got home! I was a whiney-miserable-mess! Butchy was absolutely wonderful to me. She has been amazing throughout this whole ordeal. I am beyond blessed to have her in my life. She takes very good care of me.
It is so good to be home! I still get winded, but nothing like I was dealing with before. I just have to be careful not to push myself. The clot is going to heal in its own time...not the timeframe I would prefer. The Drs said it will probably be 5-8 weeks before I'm breathing normally. I'll be on coumadin (blood thinner) for 6 months....and I've been taken off birth-control pills.
Birth-control pills have kept me from having a period for the last 7 years....I was on Depo for 6 & the pills for the last year....my periods are nightmares. I have homicidal pms & then cramps that compare to the end stage of childbirth. The pills are being blamed as the culprit for causing my blood clot.....nothing is definite....they couldn't find where the clot came from nor what caused it. Since the pill is known for causing clots I have been taken off the pill indefinitely. My Dr is now looking into other avenues to stop my periods. Until they stop, I will have aggressive pain management. I can't take ibuprofen anymore....so, now I'm on lortab (7.5/500)...it's a stronger version of hydrocodone without additional acetaminophen (tylenol). I've also been prescribed "bufferin"....it's got a super long name, but it's similar to Bufferin, according to the Doc I saw yesterday.....it's not known to cause bleeding like ibuprofen is. Hopefully bufferin and lortab will keep me relatively pain-free during my next period. The period I started in the hospital was horrible...I only had hydrocodone (5/500)....that took off the edge, but I was still in a lot of pain. I found it ironic that I left the hospital in tons more pain then when I went in! I HATE periods!! I'm hoping that I will be allowed to get a hysterectomy in 6+ months....probably can't get one until I'm off coumadin.
It's going to take me a while to recover...but, I'm doing MUCH better than I was....I'm not in any danger of throwing another clot in the next 6 months....we'll see what happens after that. I'm not going to worry about it now, though. Today life is good!