Friday, May 25, 2012
Over the last few days I tweeted about my oddly swollen leg, a trip to Urgent Care, and the fabulous news that an ultrasound of said swollen leg revealed that there were no blood clots threatening to kill me. Anyway, this is my snooze-tacular account of what happened.
First, I shall state the obvious: blood clots scare the ever living shit out of me. To be honest, that’s a gross understatement. I suppose that I could reiterate with caps lock, bold font, and underlines, but that still wouldn’t be able to convey the level of which the very thought of those things can wreck my shit.
See, my rampant fear of these wily little bastards developed many years ago, when a friend of Jeremy’s died suddenly from pulmonary embolism – the result of a blood clot that had traveled from his knee to his heart. The idea of dropping dead while watching a movie (which is exactly what happened to the poor guy) seriously freaked me out (and, really, how could it not?). Over the years my dread-filled musings over potential “what-if?” scenarios subsided, and eventually I wasn’t all that scared anymore… that is, until about a week or so after I had Midget. The combined experiences of L&D, defective boobs, and postpartum hormones just weren’t enough for me to deal with in that short time: One night after managing to get Midget into bed, a sudden, sharp pain in my leg, followed by random swelling came screaming into the picture. Naturally, I flipped my shit and insisted that Jeremy drive me to the E.R. RIGHTFUCKINGTHEN – with the sleeping newborn in tow. That night I had an anticoagulant injected into my stomach as a precautionary measure before having an ultrasound done the next morning. The doctors were never quite sure of whether or not there really had been a clot, as the injection would have dissolved it anyway, but that was more than enough to keep me on-edge about that kind of shit for a lifetime.
Now that there’s some sufficient background info for you, let’s jump forward to sometime last week: I started having this weird sensation in my leg (specifically, my thigh) in which it felt as though it had been drenched in burning hot water. It was always so quick that I never really had more than a second to process it, and though I was very clearly aware of it, I hadn’t really been all that worried… until this past Monday.
I had that hot feeling in my leg, but instead of being gone in an instant, it lasted longer than usual and left a residual burning sensation – the type you would associate with analgesic creams like Icy Hot or BenGay. Naturally, I was all over WebMD during this time, wondering if I was going to die, so I did the next logical thing: I backed away from WebMD and Google, and the internet’s general “you have six months to live” diagnoses and decided to take a shower. And that’s when I noticed that holy fucking mother of balls, my leg was very noticeably swollen. This led to me immediately flipping my shit, and calling Jeremy to tell him that I was pretty sure that I needed to hit up the E.R. I then sped the fuck out of my house and hoped to hell that I wouldn’t drop dead behind the wheel.
Jeremy left work and arrived at the hospital before I did: When I pulled into the parking lot he was waiting with a really sweet receptionist who put me in a wheel-chair as a precautionary measure and wished us well before we rode the elevator upstairs. Upon arriving on one of the upper floors we were greeted by another really sweet receptionist who explained that I would see the triage nurse and go from there. I was confident in the staff; they were all so caring and genuinely concerned; there was no doubt in my mind that I was in good hands. And, so, I wheeled myself to the nurse’s closet of an office and was met by a woman who was the exact surly nurse stereotype that can be seen in movies and pop-culture. Everything about her just screamed “dismissive,” and “couldn’t care less”. She very obviously thought that I was totally full of shit, but she sent me to Urgent Care anyway. Once there I waited for I don’t even know how long to be seen by a doctor who clearly didn’t know how to apply her eye shadow. It was such a trivial thing to notice, but I couldn’t help it – the train wreck on this woman’s face had me mesmerized… and feeling a little less than comfortable about being looked over by someone who couldn’t be bothered to blend her shit right.
Once again, I felt a distinct lack of concern for my well-being: The woman asked me a few questions, took a quick look at my leg, and reached the conclusion that what I was feeling was somehow nerve related before telling me to take some Tylenol or Motrin. No diagnostic tests and no explanation for that swelling. I asked about what the possible cause could be and she nonchalantly assured me that it was all nerve-related. So, now, my imagination was really running wild because my Google and WebMD searches for burning leg sensations had mentioned multiple sclerosis – an autoimmune disease that ultimately killed one of my aunts. I had gone from paranoid about a clot reaching my heart and killing me to paranoid about my own immune system killing me. So, now, I was unsettled about blood clots and M.S. Great.
Two days later and my fears were REALLY running rampant: my leg was still. fucking. swollen. Ibuprofen, ice, and keeping it elevated hadn’t done SHIT. Determined to get some goddamn answers, I made a legitimate appointment with a doctor. And, so, once again I drove and hoped that I wouldn’t drop dead behind the wheel because that would be an obvious disaster, and what would Munchkin do? (She hasn’t started school yet so she is always with me; my surrogate Siamese twin, or something…) So, we arrived, and I seriously hoped to hell that I would be seen by a doctor that would at least try to give a shit. Because, seriously? There are few things more off-putting than seeking help for a problem and then having the person who is supposed to help you turn out to be a complete asshole.
Anyway, this time around the wait time wasn’t long at all: A nurse took me to the exam room, asked a few questions, and gave me a pair of the sexiest shorts I have ever had the privilege of wearing before making her exit. About three minutes later I was seen by a doctor who not only knew how to apply her makeup, but listened to what I had to say and ordered an ultrasound immediately. Hell yes! I would finally get my answers! However, I would also get some seriously long waiting time and an asshole that looked like my Munchkin but sure as fuck didn’t act like her. There was screaming, and crying, and whining, and waiting. After about six years I was called into the somewhat cozy ultrasound room, had my legs slathered in some cold-ass gel, and very thoroughly prodded with the little ultrasound probe-thing. It would have been pretty laid back if my child hadn’t been being a total brat THE ENTIRE FUCKING TIME.
Once that was done I had to go back to see the doctor and wait for the results, which had been sent out to some kind of specialist. Once again there was screaming, and crying, and whining, and waiting. At least this time there was a window so that the child could be occupied. That is, until she decided to fuck around with the doctor’s chair and the printer/copier. The resulting time-out was met with the type of screaming and crying one would expect from somebody being cut open with no anesthesia.
Finally, the doctor came back in, followed by the nurse from earlier, who was trying console the damn near hysterical Munchkin (that child cannot handle getting in trouble – it’s amazing!). Meanwhile, the verdict had come in and I was assured that I wasn’t going to die because there were no clots waiting to kill me. The ultrasound revealed that the mysterious swelling was being caused by some harmless fluid in my knee and thigh – the result of some kind of musculoskeletal inflammation. And, so, I was given a prescription for a strong anti-inflammatory drug and some much needed piece of mind.
Oh, and the shorts. The sexy, sexy shorts.