Monday, April 11, 2011

Too close for comfort

I haven't talked much about the last few weeks and figure I probably should. I especially need to get the last week off my chest.
Around mid-March, Mr Jaguar was diagnosed with a blood clot in his leg. He'd had a clot in his bicep late last year but it was due to an injury so no red flags were raised at the time. He was closely monitored until it resolved on its own. But this one in his leg was different. We couldn't think of anything that would have caused it...no surgery, no extended rest periods, no injuries. We wracked our brains and the only thing we came up with was that about a month before Mr Jaguar had fallen down our hardwood steps. He had gotten seriously banged up but didn't injure his knee in the fall.

Anyway, the doctor actually thought this clot was a cyst and sent Mr Jaguar to have an ultrasound just to be safe. To rule out a clot. But it was a clot. And the doctor called my husband while he was still in the ultrasound room to say go immediately to the emergency room. Do not stop home. Do not go anywhere but the emergency room. She was calling ahead to the ER to let them know he was on his way. He would be admitted to the hospital. The husband called me and relayed all this to me. I, at home with BabyJaguar, quickly made arrangements for someone to watch the baby while frantically packing an overnight bag for my husband. I raced to the hospital where my husband and I then impatiently sat in the waiting room for nearly 3 1/2 hours until he was seen. They were packed and my husband wasn't having chest pain. Chest pain trumps blood clot.

Eventually he was examined and the doctor opted to send him home on injectable blood thinners. A visiting nurse would come over the next morning to go over giving the shots. Except they never actually gave us the prescription for the medicine (they gave us a Lovenox starter kit that contained no Lovenox. It wasn't supposed to but they never told us that or gave us the actual script). My husband needed to take his next shot by noon the next day and we had no meds. It was 2:30 in the morning. Not the time that I want to be solving problems like this. Also, they never set up the visiting nurse. Mr Jaguar figured out the giving himself shots part (thanks, infertility shots).

In the coming days, my husband had bloodwork done and was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden Mutation, a hereditary gene mutation that makes your blood more likely to clot. I'll be talking with BabyJaguar's pediatrician about it at his well visit next month to see about testing him. My husband continued with his blood thinner medication, notified his family so they can get tested, ordered his medical identification necklace and we settled in as his bloodwork revealed that his clotting levels were slowly getting to where they should be.

A few weeks later my husband was out helping me in the garden. He overdid it and suddenly his heart started racing, he began shaking and his leg was throbbing. Mr Jaguar attributed it to lack of activity since the clot diagnosis and that his blood pressure was up, putting pressure on the clot. He sat down, drank some water and settled down. Later, he went in and laid on the couch for a bit. He said he felt better but, also, still felt a little off, not quite himself. He ran to the market later and that's when the cough started. He got home and that was when he realized he had coughed up some blood. He showed me his reddened palm.

I would love to say that this was the moment when I was calm, cool and collected. The Grace Kelly of medical emergencies. But I can't. Because I was anything but.

I jammed the just purchased bags of groceries in the fridge and threw BabyJaguar in the car (the poor guy had just pooped and I didn't even change his diaper). My husband got in and I raced to the hospital. I was driving like, well...like I needed to get to the hospital. This would be a funny time to mention that I have this little thing from my insurance company hooked up to my car to monitor my driving habits so that I can potentially get a good driver discount. I'm not so sure I'm going to get that discount now. Damn clot.

I was freaking out. Tears streaming down my face, my whole body tensed up like I was driving in an awful snow storm. I think I was talking a lot but don't remember what I said. I dropped Mr Jaguar at the doors to the ER just as my friend Kristen called to tell me she was pulling into the hospital lot. She was going to take BabyJaguar for me. I don't even really remember calling her to set that up. We pulled up next to each other, I basically threw my child at her (I didn't even say goodbye to him which I felt terrible about later) and raced off to find a parking spot which was frustratingly far away. Apparently, I unknowingly left my flashers on at this point, but fortunately my car battery didn't die.  Then I ran full speed to the ER in tears. We didn't have to sit in the waiting room this time. They took Mr Jaguar back quickly. At some point during this, I went to use the restroom and ended up in their sobbing aloud. I took a minute to pray in there. Funny, you'd think I would've been praying from the second the whole thing started but I could barely get my mind still enough to do it. I figured God would know that I was praying in spirit. And then I smiled as I realized how ridiculous that sounded but figured He knew what I meant.

After some tests and exams, the doctors felt that my husband was not having a pulmonary embolism, but they weren't really sure what he was having.  They opted to admit him so that he could be seen by a pulmonologist the next day.  Mr Jaguar, after resting for a while, was feeling better but still not quite like himself.

The next day at the hospital, we waited and waited for a pulmonologist to come see us.  I kept wondering how much it was costing our insurance for my husband to lie in a bed and get his vitals checked every few hours but, other than that, receive essentially no medical care.  Later in the afternoon, after several polite requests on my part, a pulmonologist came down and asked my husband ample questions about drug use and exposure to chemicals but continued to dismiss the possibility of a pulmonary embolism because Mr Jaguar's chest CT with contrast did not show evidence of one.  Eventually, the doctors basically said that they weren't really sure what was going on with Mr Jaguar but that, since he was feeling better, he could go home.

They never did an ultrasound of the clot in his leg. 

3 comments:

Serendipitie said...

Oh honey, that is awful! I hate hospitals and doctors for this kind of crap. Sending my best thoughts and prayers to you guys xoxo

shawnandlarissa said...

Oh Jacki. I hope everything is ok. Sending tons of prayers your way.

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