I recently found out I have a pulmonary embolism. That is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot. It is not exactly the best news to get on a Wednesday.
I woke up one Monday morning a couple of weeks ago feeling as if I had pulled a muscle in my back. My lower back hurt so badly that it hurt to breathe. Over the course of the next two days, the pain expanded into my chest. Every time I would inhale, pain would sear through the right side of my chest. My mom told me she believed it was just a chest cold deep inside my lungs. The pain got so bad, though, that I had to be admitted to the Emergency Room. After undergoing a CT Scan, I was beginning to think there was going to be something minor wrong with me, and easy fix that some prescription drug could solve. When the doctor walked in to tell me he found a blood clot in my lung, everything stopped. I didn’t hear anything else the doctor said to me because I began internally freaking out. My mom held my hand as I started to cry and told me it wasn’t that bad, that we would get it worked out. The doctor decided to admit me to the hospital thaot day and that’s when I knew it was something serious.
A blood clot is a thickened mass of blood formed by tiny substances called platelets. Clots form to stop bleeding, but when they should not form when blood is moving through the body. When clots form inside blood vessels or when blood has a tendency to clot too much, serious health problems can occur.
Apparently, blood clots usually form in the legs and work their way upwards throughout the body. So I was taken for an ultrasound of my legs (let me tell you, it’s really difficult to get that gel off of certain places with just a towel). When the doctors had determined I did not have any other clots, I was put on a blood thinner immediately and admitted to the hospital for observation.
I was only in the hospital for a little more than 24 hours, but when a doctor tells you he wants to admit you, you kind of start freaking out. I have a habit of horriblizing things as it is, so thinking of having a blood clot in my lung was really stressing me out. I tried desperately to put on a brave face for my parents, but all I could think of was the worst happening. I am so thankful for modern medicine for getting me in and out of a very risky situation.
Since being released from the hospital, I have seen 3 doctors and been prescribed 2 new drugs along with the blood thinners. My body wasn’t agreeing with the blood thinners too well at first but it seems to have settled in and decided to cooperate. I am not allowed to play any contact sports or do anything that could involve me falling hard or stumbling into things (so really I shouldn’t be walking at all), and even a paper cut has to be treated immediately. Life has certainly changed in the past few weeks but I’m still here and happy.
This damn cold spell is for the birds, though. I don’t care if it’s Winter, these blood thinners make me cold(er) from the inside out…