Wednesday evening, I was sitting on the couch with my dog, minding my own business, just like I always do, when I got a terrible pain just under and to the left of my right knee.
It hurt like stink.
I took a couple or three Aleve and it didn’t stop, so I took my puppy and went to take a nap (like you do) to see if it would go away. It was so painful that I couldn’t go to sleep.
Now. I am not a person who can’t go to sleep. I once slept through the laser show at Stone Mountain. On the ground. I pride myself on the ability to sleep anywhere, any time, on short notice, and to wake up quickly. So you know it was bad.
Puppy and I got up and fixed some supper, and I put a bag of frozen corn (kernels, not ears) on it and knitted and watched television, thinking that would do it. We eventually shuffled off to bed, where I still was unable to sleep.
It wasn’t any better Thursday morning – in fact, it was worse – so I got dressed and came on to work and called the doctor’s office.
What I thought would happen was that the nurse would tell me to come by in the afternoon and they’d give me an anti-inflammatory.
What did happen was that she called me back right away and told me to stop whatever I was doing and go right to the ER and tell them my doctor said I might have a blood clot. I asked if I could finish what I was working on and she said, “No! Stop messing around and go now. And stop drinking whatever you’re drinking! Just go.”
The lady at the admissions desk asked me what I was there for and I told her I had a pain in my leg. She handed me a clipboard, and I said, “My doctor said to tell you I might have a blood clot.” All of a sudden, I had been relieved of the clipboard and was in a chair, and all I had to do was hand over my drivers license and sign a piece of paper and they figured out the rest without me.
They wheeled me to a room and told me to take off most of my clothes and started sticking electrodes to me and putting in an IV for potential future use, and then I was off through halls and up and down elevators and in and out of secure doors and on an ultrasound table.
I watched red blood go away from my heart and blue blood go back to my heart and listened to it whoosh back and forth.
I asked the tech if it all looked okay and she said she wasn’t allowed to tell me. I told her that if I were going to be bursting into tears, I’d rather do it in the dark with just her than under the fluorescent lights with a bunch of doctors and nurses later, so she did me a solid and told me I wasn’t going to be crying.
She wheeled me back to my room, and a nurse came immediately and hooked a bunch of leads to my electrodes and told me they were going to watch me for an hour.
I would have knitted, but I had that pesky needle in my arm, and I quickly finished my magazine, so I emailed and texted for a while, and then I started getting antsy. I didn’t know why I was being monitored, since I knew I didn’t have a clot.
It turns out I was the only person in the ER who had that piece of information about my stunning lack of clot, since the hospital’s network had gone down and the various departments’ computers weren’t talking to each other.
Plus I’d been there for five hours and was way past wanting lunch and wanting to leave and then I found out my call button didn’t work, so I had to get out of bed to call for a nurse, but the leads aren’t that long, so I had to pull the bed with me.
The nurses were too far away to hear me, so I hollered at a passing doctor, who asked me if I’d fallen out of bed, and I said no, I got out of bed and dragged it over here because my call button doesn’t work. I want to know how they’d feel about taking me off these monitors and getting me some Xrays so I can go home.
Personally, I thought it was kind of snotty of her to say, “How about you just get back in the bed?” and then go tell them I’d fallen, but that’s what she did, because a nurse came in, all worried that I’d lost my mind and patting me on the hand.
So I disconnected all my leads to see how long it would take them to notice I’d flatlined.
The Xray man finally came, but by then I was beside myself with boredom and thirst, and boy could he tell it.
He asked me about the electrodes sticking to the side rails, and I told him I’d pulled them off and stuck them there, since I DID NOT HAVE A BLOOD CLOT.
This seemed to be news to him, and he relayed it to the doctor, who came in pretty quicklike with prescriptions for what’s really wrong with me, which turns out to be just a touch of osteoarthritis and a small tear of some description.
So there you go. I’m not dying. Yet.