Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Just Call Me Trigger

We went to Cowboy Church a week ago Sunday and it was kind of chilly where we sat just outside the arena. By the end of the service I was achey from what I thought was just being tensed up and cold for an hour and a half. By the time we got home I hurt all over and was chilling, but figured I was still just chilled from that cold arena. I'm smart, huh. I took three Aleve (Please no one chide me for OD'ing on naproxen) and we took off for Carthage, MO, nearly an hour away to get a ton of pellets for the stove because it being a few weeks til Spring it would only be logical that we would run out of pellets. Of course. By the time we got to Lowe's in Carthage the Aleve had kicked in and I bet a lot better. We stopped at Sam's Club on the way home and bought the most gigantic barrel of cheese balls I have ever seen, among other things like candy bars the kids don't need, dishwasher detergent, more paper towels than I have places to stuff the extra rolls and some Wolverine/X-men movie my son was claiming not purchasing would surely lead to his demise.

When we got home Paul, Abby and I settled in to watch a movie and by the time it was over I was chilling to the point my teeth were chattering. I ached in every joint and just generally felt like poo. I was chilling so hard I couldn't do anything more than lie under a pile of blankets and shiver. I called Courtney to tell her I really didn't think I should watch Conner the next day and she said, "Sounds like the flu. You'd better get to the Indian Clinic in the morning." I called my mom to tell her I was sick. She said, "I think you have the flu. You should probably go to the clinic in the morning."

Now, I am proud of my Native American heritage and since I have no health insurance I take even more pride in it when I am sick because the clinic is all I have and can afford. I also try to only go when I am dying or perilously close to it. Then my dear, cupcake-loving friend and The Giver of Free Cheese, text me and said they are only allowing six walk-in triage appointments a day so get there like at 2am. Yeah. No.

Monday I got the kids up and off to school then went back to bed until 12:30. Normally I wouldn't be able to do that to save my life, but I slept the whole time and slept hard. When I got up and swung my feet over the side of the bed I noticed my right foot was a little swollen, but I had also just laid on my right side without apparently moving for the better part of five hours. I didn't give it much thought. I made a sandwich and decided that the bed was a nice comfy place to be so I went back to the bedroom to eat and watch some horrible daytime TV. Our bed is wicked high off the ground - okay, it's probably only wicked high to me because uhm, I'm short and my legs are so short it's comical - so there is no graceful way for me to get in my bed. I was still achey and sore so it was even more laborious to get up there that day and amidst all the wallering and flopping I was doing the pant leg of my sweats came up to expose a very angry-looking red area just above my ankle.

Given the fact that I have a genetic blood clotting disorder called Factor V (as in the Roman numeral 5) Leiden which means my blood has the potential of over-clotting at some point in my life, any time I have a sore spot on my leg or smack it on something (which I do a LOT) and off-handedly mention it to my mother and sister who also have FVL and have had clots, they both start hollering, "CLOT!" I usually don't worry too much about them, but dude, there was a red spot on my leg and it was warm and tender and oh man.... I figured that after the last few weeks we've had it would only be the next catasrophe to occur.

I popped a couple aspirin to ease my mind more than anything, called my momma who said, "GET THEE TO THE CLINIC" and I said, "Eh, I think I'll just wait it out. Maybe try some heat and elevation. And denial." I thought it looked like cellulitis, but I always have blood clot looming in the back of my head.

Finally after gimping around on it for nearly 24 hours and actually starting to almost worry myself, I decided to take a shot at the clinic Tuesday. I made it there right at noon and got the last walk-in appointment for that day. I only waited about five minutes before I heard my name called overhead to go to Triage. For ya'll who have never partaken of the Native American healthcare system, this is epic. The nurse took my temp (99.5*) and blood pressure (normal) and weight (off-limits for discussion) and then asked why I needed to be seen by the doctor. I raised my pant leg and she grimaced. I find that such a visceral reaction to an ailment is always effective in gaining sympathy and possibly a quick appointment. She said, "Let me get you an appointment," and left the room. From around the corner I heard her holler, "Have you had lunch yet?" I said, "Well, I've eaten today if that's what you mean." She said, "No, I mean, why don't you get something to eat real quick and be back here at 12:45 and I'll get you in by 1. Sound okay?" Oh heck yeah.

I ran down to the FastTrip for a Mountain Dew and then called Abby who had been at her classmate's funeral, then called Mom who was picking Abby up after the funeral. I walked back into the clinic precisely at 12:45 and by 1:00 I was sitting in an exam room - where I would sit for the next 50 minutes. I heard my name mentioned a couple of times through the door and just knew the delay was because the doctor was looking up Factor V Leiden. I wasn't wrong. It's not something most people have widespread knowledge of. I'm used to them Googling my disorder prior to examining me.

Then Dr. Brown came breezing through the door of the exam room and he reminded me of one of  the doctors on "The Doctors" or maybe a hunky soap opera doctor with a smilie that causes a little sparkle and a *ding*. He was self-confident and athletic-looking and handsome and charming as all get out. I really hated the fact he was soon going to be looking at my fat, hairy leg, but hey, he's the one who went to medical school. Occupational hazard. If he didn't want to mess with fat and hairy he definitely shouldn't be in a government-run health clinic, 'sall I'm sayin'.

He looked at my leg, felt my leg and said, "What do I think this is? I think it's cellulitis." I nodded in agreement. He continued, "But given your family history and the fact you know you have a clotting disorder, why not go ahead and check it out. There's about a -1% chance you have a clot, but..." and I stopped him right there with, "If you only knew how rotten my past few weeks have been....well, I'm all but insisting you check for a clot." He laughed his hunky, loud soap opera doctor laugh, his lab coat billowing behind him as he left the exam room and said, "Let me call x-ray."

He came back in a few minutes later and said x-ray wasn't busy, to go wait in the waiting area and they'd call me back soon. I moved to a different waiting area, made a phone call, sent a text (or four) and waited. Within five minutes (again!) I heard my name called. And of course, because I just have amazing luck, the guy who greeted me in the lab was a young, blonde cutie-pie who I wanted to take home in my purse. He looked terrified. He asked where the spot was and I pulled my pant leg up to just above my ankle. He shook his head and said, "Oh gosh, that's low. We usually won't do a doppler below the knee because clots that low don't usually cause any problem. But....we'll go ahead and check it out. Doc says you have Factor V Leiden." I nodded, resisting the urge to pinch his cheek and offer him a cookie.

Then, poor guy said, "Okay, so just uhm....*blush* uhm.....pull your pants down to your ankles....uhm.....no need to take them all the way off....and uhm....*blush* *avert eyes* ....uh, lie down on your back on the uh table and uhm....cover up with this." He handed me a drape and made himself scarce. I pushed my sweats down to my ankles, grabbed the drape and laid down. Instantly I was warped back in time to another event that left me lying with my pants around my ankles (and it didn't involve a backseat, ya pervs) and took a few breaths to keep myself from cracking up into hysterical giggles. I heard a knock at the door and it opened to cute-patootie looking insanely uncomfortable at the fat old lady lying on a table with her pants around her ankles. I mean, seriously, it's a comical, disturbing picture you have in your head, isn't it?

He said, "Uhm....after I left the room I got to uh thinking that uhm....we'll probably need that leg all the uh way uh out so uhm....I can help you with that....if that's uh okay...." and I kicked off my Croc and said, "Yeah, you're going to have to help, otherwise I may fall off the table and embarrass us both even more." He kind of chuckled and set about half-way depantsing me. Fortunately he had turned the light off in the room prior to coming in so he couldn't see my glowing red face. He then set about exposing my entire right leg, all the way to my thigh.

Folks, I haven't shaved in weeks. Hey, it's winter and I've been sick. Shaving is not a priority for me unless the weather is approprite for the wearing of capris and even then I only shave to the knee. There was hair on that thigh that could very well have been there during the Bush administration. Thighs that large and hairy should only be seen on a horse. I again was thankful the lights were dim in the room.

He started the ultrasound and I resisted the urge to ask if he could tell if it was a boy or girl, figuring things were already awkward enough in the room without bad jokes. He got to the point where he had me flex my foot to force blood up through my leg. The sound on the machine was wicked awesome and I said, "Oh wow, that sounded very comic book-y." He just went, "Hmh." Then I realized I had meant to say "cartoon-y" because duh, comic books don't make noise. *sigh* I just shut up and didn't say anything else the rest of the time. It was just to glaringly obvious I wasn't going to lighten things up by opening my big mouth.

When he finished he assured me there was no clot to be found, I have great veins (best come-on line I've heard in years) and said to clean all the goo off my leg, get dressed and go wait in the triage waiting area for the doctor to call me back again. I wiped approximately 47 pounds of goop off my leg from ankle to thigh and prayed really hard he would be nowhere in sight by the time I left. God answers prayers. I ducked out as fast as I could and headed to the back hallway. I sent another half-dozen text messages, played Bookworm and Word Warp on my iPod, tried to pick up someone, anyone's internet to no avail, ate a whole package of Mentos because remember I had only gotten a Mountain Dew, no food, at the FastTrip and wondered if they had forgotten me. At 3:15 they called me back to Triage, Doc Hollywood breezed in the room in a flurry of white lab coated glory and said, "Just as I thought, hon, cellulitis. We'll get you hooked up with some Keflex. How's that sound?" I said, "Great - if you want me to die. I'm allergic to Keflex." He belly laughed at that one. At least he appreciated my humor. He then said he'd make sure not to prescribe that, he'd sent my chart to the pharmacy and get me outta there. 15 minutes later, one awkward waiting room encounter with a very nervous momma with low self-esteem who only wanted me to praise her child for chewing on a book (which I did) and I had my antibiotics.

A week later I'm almost completely healed up and my leg only hurts if Conner gets me with a direct hit with a teeny tiny Chuck Taylor.

And I shaved my legs yesterday.


Loretta Z. said...

Recently found your blog, and I think you are so funny! ...saved you to my favorites. :)

MrsCoach said...

Ahhh yes, Dr. Brown. I had an emotional meltdown in his exam room last year and he asked me if I was suicidal. I laughed and said "suicidal, no, homicidal---can you just mark "maybe". He said he would swear he saw me wherever I was supposed to be should BIA question him about me at a later date, lol.

Cazzie!!! said...

Hey there! I am so pleased it was not a clot! Man, that is scary stuff woman.
I was laughing when I read about the non-shaven legs...we all do it!
It is Summer here and I still hate to shve the leghs, but I do it not to embarass my kids when we are out! LOL

Megan said...

Lordy. I'm a slave to the razor. You see...I can't sleep with myself if I don't shave my legs every night.

EVERY. Blessed. Night.

It pretty much sucks but...it's kind of...um...impossible not to sleep with yourself. So...shave I must!

Hooray for you it's not a clot.

I've been checked for clots twice myself. And the first time...it was totally a little cutie patootie guy and I was 21 and un-married and THOROUGHLY embarrassed. Second time I was pregnant and didn't give a dookie.

Love reading your blog. HILARIOUS!

Ta Ta,


Bailey's Leaf said...

I'm late to the response party, but I am homozygous for both MTHFR and PAI- Type 1. What does that mean to you? I have two blood clotting disorders and am in a very similar boat. I'm not as clot hyper, but I do take aspirin everyday, the extra vitamins that help to balance all that funkiness out and whatnot. I know that in the mess of genetic testing I had, I was tested for FVL. For that, I was negative.

I can bruise like no one's business!

"Gee, how did you get that bruise?" I don't know. The wind blew?

Glad that you were clotless!

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...