Monday, September 14, 2009

Me and my leg

I'm at the Sorooshians' with my leg up, a peanut butter sandwich and some nectarines nearby and a cup of tea I can't drink until I'm brave enough to sit up. That will be after the prescription ibuprofin and the hydrocordone kick in. Note to self: I need to take these on a schedule and not wait for the pain.

Gradually over the weekend my leg started twinging and cramping oddly and unexpectedly until sometimes I was crumpled and whimpering, and sometimes I was yelping and trying to get to a bed to get my leg up. It wasn't in a joint, it wasn't necessarily seeming to be a muscle, and except for a speedy stressful hike across the Phoenix airport, on and off of ten moving sidewalks, always right-leg first, i don't know what it could've been. So I looked up to read about it, late Saturday night after I had done a talk in a chair, and it seemed i had symptoms enough and reason enough that it might've been a blood clot.

Sunday morning I had the worst episode of all, and the pain had moved down from high on my thigh Friday, to lower thigh Saturday, to knee on Sunday, and i told Keith I definitely wanted to go to the emergency room, but not until other things were squared away. We needed to consolidate our two adjoining rooms into one room; my free speaker's room was expiring at noon. The boys did that. Roya was speaking. There was no way I could've gotten up and walked, but some of the others went. I took pills in hopes that I could patch up well enough to get to my 10:30 breathing workshop I was doing. Amusingly (to Holly) I had earlier that morning said "It won't help!" when Keith was saying "breathe" during one of my yelpie-I'm-dying moments.

Earlier, Kirby had agreed to do the breathing workshop if I wasn't able to do it. I ran quickly through what my plan was and he said he could do that. He could've, too.

So I took four Advil caps and thought calm thoughts through some eye-crossing, death-seeming pain, not helped by thoughts of parts of blood clots killing me in front of a bunch of people with camera phones. Holly said it was a bad idea, for me to potentially die. I told her the book was done and she was moving away the next day anyway, so i wasn't that bad a time.

Kirby came back, said Roya's talk was great and I would definitely want to hear the recording later

Around 10:10 I started to feel less pained, so we decided Keith could take some books to sell (there was no ongoing registration area or sales area) and Kirby would go with me in case he needed to take over leading the session. The pain that had been spiking to a 10, as they say, stayed around five or six for a whole hour, and that was good. I myself was unable to take a full deep breath as clean and long as I was recommending, but I was able to tell the stories and make the jokes and people were very kind and understanding. The room filled up; i think there were nearly 30 people at the height of it (if anyone counted and wants to leave a note, I'd appreciate it), and I was maintaining the semblance of functionality and comfort as well as I could.

In the group were some nurses and other helpful people, some of whom helped me to my room after (Marty and Keith stayed to sell books) and some came by later. I was in the bed with the pillow arrangement keith had designed for me so my leg could be in the only comfortable position we had found (I'm like that now at Pam's house, though it's better if Keith put the pillows there, because it's Keith, but he's on his way to Albuquerque by car with Marty now, I bet.

In honor of the possibility of a blood clot, people brought me a blood-thinning assortment of foods they had in their rooms. Marty had found a list of foods on the internet, and it said chewing gum and wine, so i started with Bubbleyoum from my backpack and Karri brought me a bottle of white wine, so I was doing the wine and bubble gum pre-meal drinks. There were spices on the list, so Keith and Marty were maybe going to go get me Thai food but one of the moms there Jenny Canfield went to her room and brought a microwaveable Indian chicken lunch for me, which i ate very gratefully.

Meanwhile on the other side of the room, Keith was being advised on which hospital to take me to, and (I need the name, please) one of the breathing workshop attendees who had been both a cardiac nurse and emergency room nurse at other times was making calls to see who had an ultrasound machine and operator on site on a Sunday.

Some people were saying "go now" but I figured it was a blood clot and they weren't going to let me fly home so there wasn't so much of a hurry, and I was getting to talk to unschoolers which was why I was out there.

So my guests and food providers and coaches left, and Keith and i told people we were going to go and hear Pam, and I did want to. The trip down the hall and down elevator was so painful and scary, though, that when I got to the lobby I asked Keith to just take me to the hospital instead. We met James Coburn in the parking lot, who offered to help and wanted to give me his phone number, which made me realize i had left my phone in the room. Keith doesn't own or want to have a cellphone. So James very sweetly and quickly took our key and fetched my phone while Keith got me in the car.

We went to Scripp's Memorial in La Jolla which was only about five miles away. I know that from having read my patient wrist-thing later. Everyone there was sweet and cheerful and patient and awesome, from the receptionist to the gurney drivers to Steve the nurse to the ultrasound tech (maybe Barbara? she was especially nice and explained it all) to the doctor, who had first come to talk to me in the waiting room and then twice in the curtained room that was mine for a very short while. I could easily be wrong, but I think we were in and out of there in two hours or less. Keith figured it would've been less had I been in a yelpy whimpery phase. That one happened in the bathroom, though, when Keith took me to pee. No witnesses but Keith to my inability to stand or sit. There was a wheelchair for me, from the time I had gotten out of the car, but I couldn't get very comfortable in it.

So no blood clot (GOOD!) and probably it's sciatic nerve stuff, even though it wasn't hurting at hip or butt. That doesn't make it hurt less, but it makes it non-life-threatening, and I can still dope myself up enough to be still in an airplane and get to Albuquerque Tuesday night.

I'm writing this partly for my own records, so I can look back later and check the date and what drugs I had.


zamozo said...

So glad it's not a clot -- you had me on pins and needles throughout your post! I hope you feel better soon and yes, the pain meds work better if you keep to a schedule rather than wait until they're so worn off you feel the pain. I learned that when I had my gall bladder removed.

Sandy Feet said...

I had to skip to the end before I could finish to make sure there was a resolution. Yikes!! Hope you are feeling better, in less pain, less scared. Glad your family was there to help and care for you.


Lissa said...

So glad you are okay. I wish I would have done as Sandy Feet and skipped to the end had me on pins and needles thinking it was a blood clot. Nerve pain is bad. FYI Celebrex helped my mom with her nerve pain. ((hugs))

Karri said...

Awww, Sandra, I'm so glad that it was not a blood clot. We were very worried about you. Sciatica is terrible! I've had it and it is horrific pain:-(

I notice with mine, stress tends to bring it on. I'm sure that has something to do with it for you with your sweet baby girl leaving for awhile. That would be so hard. I can barely imagine because my kids are so young.

It was great to see you and your beautiful family at GV's. Here's to your speedy recovery.

kelli said...

So glad you're ok. And that it wasn't a clot, I had to tell myself to breathe as I read :) I hope it gets better and take care~

Joy said...

Eek! I too had to skip to the end first before reading the rest. So so glad its not a clot but the pain {HUGS} Thank heavens your family were with you & all those lovely people looking out for you too. Wishing you a speedy recovery & safe journey home.

Sylvia said...

So glad it's not a blood clot. That's one of my totally irrational fears with flying.

Sciatica can be really painful, and stress regularly brings it for me.

Hope you're home and feeling better soon!

Anonymous said...

I have two herniated disks and have chronic pain from sciatica. It's brutal. I have screamed some mornings. That's why i get down not being able to have a life,take my son anywhere. Do what you can now,by that i mean some streches(sp),lay on your back with your legs high up and lift your butt off the ground...oh geez i hope yours heal!! It's my right leg in my calf and thigh. If you want any advice email me, I've had sciatica for a long time.

Sandra Dodd said...

Heather, can't you get surgery or shots or something? Eeeyikes; I wouldn't want to live like this. I have an appointment with an orthopedist Tuesday. If they can't find something to do I'll just have to become a prescription pain pill addict. It's okay; I'm old anyway.

Anonymous said...

yes..I know! It feels like i am being stabbed day and night. The doc says my pain/back is so bad that only surgery will fix it but it comes down to money,no one to help me with Lukas while hubby works and it might not work...there's a percentage of how successful the surgery is. No one understands the pain until they have it. My husband had a slight ting one day and he's like:oh have this all the time?!!
My pain doc tried a procedure with a needle once and said it it worked he would give me 2 more. It didn't work for me. Sometimes i can't walk! I have this "bend forward..twist to the right kinda stance" i have to take when it's bad. I've had opana,fenytenl patches,tens machine,cold packs on my back.
you are lucky you got pain pills right off the bat because it took me a long time and it's hard because of people robbing drug stores and some doctors don't like to prescribe them. Those docs are wrong,we need them. Alot of people in pain are under medicated.
I could go on and on...but i should
I hope you have your disks absorb back in and you heal that's why you should take it easy now and rest with your legs and hips propped up.