Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Journey of 2011.................... the Diagnosis..........

Part 1

I know just enough about medicine to be dangerous. As I followed the actions of the doctors and nurses working on me, my mind was racing with the possibilities. It didn't take me long to figure out what was happening to me but then I had the answers to all those questions the doctor was still asking me.

I knew what this was.................I had thrown a clot.............and as they worked on me, I wondered if it was going to travel to my brain. Not that it wasn't bad enough the thing was in my lungs but for some reason, I had an even bigger fear of my brain being involved. I was very terrified of that possibility, even if it was a product of my limited medical knowledge.

I don't know how long it took for them to get me stabilized but I did manage to get the doctor's questions answered before that happened and at some point I did get moved from the chair into the bed. I could tell the doctor was confused by some of my answers. I suspect the most confusing part was my belief "it" had begun as I was walking down the hall away from them when I hadn't begun gasping for breath until my body landed in the chair. Where it began from what he saw, I never did remember to ask.

With all those odd little pieces as parts of the puzzle, I was sent off for a CT scan as soon as it was safe to do so. I remember thinking as I was being pulled inside that tube, this was the third time in one week that I'd had this test done. That thought alone was enough to scare me even more.

Even though it was my third CT scan, I was sick enough I didn't notice there were different aspects to what they did this time around. I do remember being more uncomfortable during this test than I had been before. I suspect that was because of different positions they'd had me assume to get all the views they wanted of my insides but then I am assuming that CT scan was the only test I was sent away from my room to have.

Looking back at all the little bits and pieces I have of that morning and early afternoon, it's entirely possible I had an MRI as well. I do remember talk of an MRI but have no memory of actually having one on that day.

It wasn't until they began talking about the two blood clots found in my lower left leg that I realized I'd missed a lot of what was going on. They were only guessing that maybe at one point those two blood clots had been one but there was no question that my left leg was the source of the pulmonary embolism that had flattened me.

With the confirmation of the diagnosis testing provided, the doctor firmed up the orders to keep me alive. He was going over those orders with the nurses in the room when Dave arrived.

I clearly remember the look on his face as Dave entered the room. A combination of panic and deep concern, I have rarely seen, was deeply embedded across his face but the instant he caught of glimpse of me sitting upright and looking at him, it all dissolved. I imagine he didn't know what to think when he'd gotten that phone call but clearly he was relieved when he saw me.

Dave arrived just in time to hear my treatment plan and the order to send me to the critical care unit. I was to be transferred there just as soon as there was a bed available.

I'd been through that "waiting for a bed thing" more than once on this journey. To be perfectly honest, I was hoping a bed would not become available in the CCU. I felt safe with these people who I knew had just saved my life. I had seen the intensity and commitment in their faces as they worked and I had formed a deep trust. I was perfectly happy right where I was.

It was explained to me that I could be watched more closely going to the CCU. The patient/nurse ration there was 2/1 where it was more like 4/1 where I currently was. The numbers made sense to me but still didn't change my feelings, I really didn't want to be moved again.

Dave decided he would stay with me until I was moved to the CCU. That left us with some time to talk about the phone call he'd received and how he'd reacted to it.

The nurse who called had only told him there was an "incident" at the hospital and it might be good for him to be there. While he knew that couldn't be good, he had not allowed himself to think of what it might mean. Then when he'd seen me sitting upright and talking he figured it was all good.

The way he talked reminded me of the way he had been when Lindsay was in the ICU at Children's Hospital in Seattle immediately following her surgery. Anyone who asked about her condition, Dave told them she was fine. Lindsay couldn't walk or talk or even control the movements of her eyes but she was fine.That has always confused me.

Now as I lay there clinging to life, in Dave's mind, I was fine too. Considering how I felt I wasn't really sure how I should take his observation so we talked about this perception of his. According to Dave Lindsay was fine because she wasn't dead and the same applied to me. To Dave's way of thinking dead means it's over. As long as we were alive, there was something to work with and it would work out in the end so it was fine.

I must admit it might be simplistic but it works for him and that's really what matters. I was glad he was there with me and not pinging off the walls so if seeing the situation as "fine" is what it took to get that kind of support, I'll take "fine" any day.

To be continued....................

CCU.........First Impressions........

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  1. Wow scary, sure wouldnt like getting that phone call. Sometimes its better to not know what the doctors are talking about. Daves description of fine is pretty simple, but it works, can always do something if they are alive.

  2. Dave sounds like an optimistic person and the kind you need to have around when things are looking bad. Another scary situation that you pulled through. You're a strong person with some great caregivers at the hospital. Keep resting and regaining your strength.

  3. "To Dave's way of thinking dead means it's over. As long as we were alive, there was something to work with..."

    Not a bad philosophy at all, I guess. He seems to be a "cup half full" sort of man.

    What a VERY scary incident.

  4. This really has been a journey with a lot of twists and turns. I'm interested in the effects of blood clots, because one mystery we were never able to solve about my mother's death is that she started walking with a cane again and didn't tell anyone about it or why.

    When I was working in my first serious job, I was very anxious about my performance. My boss told me, "You are doing just fine," and for some reason that word "fine" helped me to relax and do a better job. When all hell is breaking loose in your life, you really need someone there to tell you that everything is fine, even if it is inconceivable how it could possibly be fine.

  5. I have only gotten a few phone calls like that. Your heart sinks to your stomach in a flash. Your mind races and of course the only thing you consider is the worst case scenario.

    I can totally understand Daves thought process on this. Like you said, if there is life, there is hope. Otherwise, you've got nothing to work with and might as well just call it a day.

  6. Talk about one of the worse phone calls you could get... eep!