I’ll be the first to admit I’m a slight hypochondriac. WebMD is my go to whenever something hurts or I don’t feel good. According to WebMD, I’ve had bone cancer in my knee, a brain tumor and everything in between. I’m the first to admit I have a love/hate relationship with their symptom checker. What can I say, after this, I’m in a full on committed relationship with it.
It all started on a Monday night. I had fell asleep all crunched up in the living room recliner while watching tv. I woke up the next morning and my whole body hurt. I figured it was because I slept all kinked up in the chair and didn’t think much of it. The next day I was still a little sore, but the pain in my leg had changed. It felt like I was being stabbed in my hip, and my entire leg ached and felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. I figured I pulled a muscle, no big deal, I can tough this out.
The next day the pain had got so bad I couldn’t walk. Trying to put any weight on my leg was the worst pain I’d ever felt, it was so bad it made me feel nauseous. I was crawling around my home because it was easier than walking. It was especially painful trying to sit down or stand up. I was taking four Tylenol at a time with no relief. I tried ice, heat, nothing. I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t get comfortable. I would just lay in bed and cry until I finally fell asleep. But I was convinced it was an angry muscle and I wasn’t going to go to the doctor.
The following Sunday, I woke up and decided to take a bath. Getting in the tub was difficult, but sitting in the hot water was the only thing that provided any sort of relief. I was sitting in the tub and I noticed my left foot was huge. My ankle had disappeared, and as I looked at the rest of my leg, I noticed it was swollen all the way to my hip. Like any rational person would, I went right to WebMD. I put in all my symptoms, and the first thing that popped up was blood clots. Cue the instant panic. Normally I don’t get super worked up after looking at WebMD because I know to take it with a grain of salt, but this time was different.
I called my mom, who picked me up and took me to urgent care. I hobbled in on crutches and told the check in desk that WebMD told me I either had blood clots or a broken hip. We laughed and I tried to keep my cool.
The doctor came in and told me blood clots are super common and easy to treat. I’d get an ultrasound, and a pill should be able to take care of it. I felt ok, until the ultrasound. It was taking a long time, the tech kept looking at the same spots over and over, and I started to panic. After what felt like forever, I was back in the wheelchair I now had and wheeled back to my room to wait.
The next part is a little fuzzy. The doctor came in and told me I had a significant clot, from my hip down through my knee, and I needed to go to the hospital immediately. I instantly started to cry and asked for my mom. I was hysterical at this point, so they brought her back despite the COVID rules. Thank god, because between the crying and the nausea, I didn’t hear much of what he said. All I knew was I was now on my way to the hospital for the night. That less than thrilled me, I’m a huge homebody and have spent one weekend away from home since I left my parents house six years ago.
I got to the hospital and was admitted. It wasn’t long before I was in the cath lab getting the clot broken up. It was there that I was diagnosed with something called May-Thurner Syndrome. Basically the vein in my hip was compressed and caused the clot, so a stint would need to be put in to prevent it from happening again. The cath lab was a blur, they give good drugs down there. I was taken back to my room and put on IV medicine and strict bed rest. There was a lot of crying going on. I was overwhelmed, scared, had lots of people in and out all day. Thank god my mom got to stay with me, I may be in my 20s, but when I’m sick, all i want is my mom.
The first night was rough, I had neuro checks every two hours so I didn’t sleep much. I’m not a back sleeper, so I couldn’t get comfortable. Plus I was hooked up to a bunch of machines and couldn’t move much. The IV in my hand was so painful I wanted to rip it out. But I just had to power through one night of bad TV and scratchy blankets and I could go home. Not.
I was sent back to the cath lab the next day, they had got about 90% of my clot. They wanted to keep me on blood thinners and monitor me, which meant another night in the hospital. Cue the tears. Thankfully my mom came to stay with me again for a few hours. Plus I was no longer on bed rest, so I could sit up and finally had an appetite for the first time in two days.
Tuesday morning came and that was it. I would’ve learned to shoot flames from my eyes if they tried to keep me another night. I was up and walking that morning. I finally got to change out of the hospital gown and into my own clothes. By noon, my mom had picked me up and I was on my way home.
I’ve had a couple mini breakdowns thinking about the “what if’s.” What if I had decided to keep toughing out what I thought was a sore muscle? What if I hadn’t slept in the chair, which appeared to trigger this event? What if I had gone to the doctor the first day it hurt? Would I have not had to go to the hospital? Would it have kept growing? Would it have killed me before anyone knew what was going on? I try not to think about it because that is the last thing my anxiety needs.
It’s been about two weeks, and I’m hanging in there. The swelling is gone, but I’m still in some pain and have post thrombosis syndrome, which means my foot is now tingly. I’m on blood thinners, so I’m super paranoid about something happening. But I’m here and I’m ok, because WebMD saved my life.