Saturday, August 4, 2007

Pulmonary Embolism

Blogger has now reviewed my blog and determined that it is not a Spam Blog, so I can finally post this.

Saturday 8/4: Friday night a week ago, after I went to bed, I started to have some problems. When I inhaled, I got a pain just to the right and below my right breast. I was also sweating a lot even though I know the temperature in the house was comfortable, and I was lying there without a sheet or a nightgown. I'm sure I looked like a beached whale, but there was no one to see me, except God - and I don't think he sees us as people do. In addition, I was aching pretty much all over. Finally about 3 or 4 am I took a Lortab, and was able to sleep for a few hours.

The pain only happened when I was lying down, not when I was standing or sitting, so I was fine during the day. Saturday night I took a Lortab about midnight. I still had the pain when I breathed, but was able to sleep, although I woke up once sweating. About midday Sunday I stuck a thermometer in my mouth because I had thought at times that I felt feverish. It registered just under 100; since my normal temperature is just under 98, that meant two degrees of fever. I thought perhaps it was an infection in my right lung, and figured I'd call the oncologist on Monday morning. Sunday night was a repeat of Saturday night, except the pain was a little more generalized in the lung area and my right shoulder hurt if I lay on my right side. Sunday evening Dominic asked me what was with my breathing. I had thought my breathing was a bit labored, but wasn't sure until he asked that.

SOOOOO . . . Monday morning about 9 I called the cancer group, and wound up leaving a message on the nurses' answering machine. About 11 one of the nurses returned my call, asked a few questions, and told me they wanted me to get a chest X-ray. So after eating an early lunch, we headed to Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. By the time the X-ray was done, it was 1 pm. I asked the technician how long it would take for the results to be sent to the doctor. She figured it would be late afternoon before that happened; however, if the doctor called them it could be speeded up. We went to the doctor's office and told them what she had said. In a few minutes. Dr B's nurse came out and told me to go back to the hospital for a CT scan and then to come back and see Dr B at 9:30 Tuesday morning. So back to the hospital we went. While we were getting set up for the scan, I told the technician about the chest X-ray and the appointment with Dr B the following morning. After the scan, she said, "Before you leave, let me show this to the radiologist." She came back in a few minutes and said, "You're not going anywhere!" She got the rest of my paperwork and escorted us to the admitting desk, stopping on the way to get a wheelchair for me because I shouldn't have been walking. This was after I'd already walked about a mile in the hospital.

Seems I had blood clots in my lung. So I was admitted to the hospital. I was put in a semi-private room, but didn't have a roommate. I was supposed to be in the bed by the window, but the nurse couldn't get that bed to lower (it was about waist high), and we both thought being closer to the bathroom would be an advantage. (When the young, male lab tech said his info said I was in the other bed, I told him why I had changed. He said he'd never thought of proximity to the bathroom as a deciding factor. That's because he's not a post-menopausal female!) When Dr B came in a couple of hours later, she said I was not to get out of bed - even for the bathroom! So I had to use a bedpan - I hate those things! Every time I used it, they had to change the pad under me.

They gave me Coumadin to thin my blood, as well as Lovenox, which they give with a needle in the belly. Tuesday evening, the nurse-practitioner from the cancer group said I could start using the bathroom after 7 pm, because that would be 24 hours after the first dose of Lovenox. So I used it before I went to sleep, once during the night, and about 6am. Then about 7am, Dr B came in, and said NO! She did arrange for a bedside commode, though, which was much better than the bedpan. Finally on Thursday afternoon, Dr B said I could walk. I was discharged on Friday, with a prescription for Coumadin and an appointment to see her on Wednesday.

There are three factors the put me at risk for blood clots - my recent surgery, a sedentary life-style, and taking Thalidomide. I'll be taking Coumadin as long as I'm taking Thalidomide, which I guess will be for the rest of my life. . . . Maybe they should just take me out and shoot me now.

Sunday: Blogger is not letting me post, so this will be a long one when it does get posted.

As I was washing dishes a bit ago, it struck me how nice it is to be able to stand at the sink for the whole time without any problem. Before the surgery, I was listing so much to one side and having so much pain in the right hip, that I had to pull the kitchen stool over and sit on it most of the time.

While I was in the hospital, I was thinking that I'd have to start another mowing cycle, but that won't be necessary for a while - it's been very dry and hot, and the grass is brown! I think I like that, though the farmers probably don't.

Tuesday: While I was at the knitting group today, Dominic went to my friend Shirley's house (Shirley was at the knitting group) and did some work in the little house at the back of her lot. It's good for him to be doing something. He's gone to sleep now, so I guess I have the evening to myself.

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