Friday, July 10, 2009

rat poison, needles, and goop

I went to the doctor on Wednesday for the good ol' blood clot.

He listened to my heart and my lungs- they are doing well. Then he looked at my legs- told me my left calf is definitely bigger (I know... by 2 cm, I measure it often). He messed with my legs a little more asking if anything hurt. Nope.

Then we talked for a looooooooong time.

He told me all about blood clots (like I'm a beginner). He drew pictures of how messed up my vein probably is (which he did last time, too- thanks!). He talked about how things were back in his day. He talked about studies that had been done, recent and not so recent. He gave me his opinion about compression socks- I added it to the others I have heard. He also gave me a small lecture on how blood thinner is not the correct term for my Coumadin (or rat poison), because it doesn't actually thin my blood. Coumadin is correctly called an Anti-Coagulant and it stops my blood from clotting. So when I eventually stop taking it, my blood won't suddenly thicken up and form tons of clots...ok. And he told me of all the high-risk activities I should avoid- sky diving, etc. I think that was about it for the idle chit-chat.

Then he got down to business.

He gave me my options, and let me choose: be referred to a lung specialist, be referred to a blood specialist, be referred to a vein specialist (but they are surgeons and will probably want to take your vein out), be referred to my original doctor who is now out of state and now I have different insurance, get an ultrasound (to look at the blood flow in my left leg) and then see if I can stop taking my Coumadin, or just stop taking Coumadin and see what happens.

My doctor was all for the last option of "just stop taking Coumadin and see what happens." Did he know how big my blood clot was to start out with? I don't think so! He didn't really see the point in getting an ultrasound because in almost every case the vein opens up, so we might as well just skip it and take me off of the stuff now. But if I had shortness of breath, etc that he would want me to come in- Yeah right, I would have to go straight to the ER. He asked me how I felt about it. Obviously, I said I would feel way more comfortable getting an ultrasound first.

So he ordered one. Battle won!

The nurse called the Imaging Center for me and they had a spot open that day. She asked if I had a car. Yes. Perfect, Go there right now. Ok, I have to get my blood drawn for my PT/INR test, do I have time? Yes. Ok, thank you.

I got my blood drawn- they use the same vein every time and I feel like they should know me by name now.

I went outside and remembered that Jeremy had the car and he was at work. Luckily, it was close and I had a set of keys with me, so all I had to do was find the car. After 10 minutes of searching in the heat of the afternoon: Bam! Found it! I hurried to the Imaging Center for my requested ultrasound.

A cool, red-headed, freckled face girl (I don't even know her name) took me to the room for my ultrasound. I put on the paper shorts and we got started- goop and all. (They put the goop on a little warming plate these days so its all nice and warm when they slosh it all over you. I was wishing that it was cold because I had just been running around a parking lot searching for my car- yes, cold goop would have been way more refreshing.) She turned the screen towards me during the ultrasound so I could see the veins in my leg. Every so often she would squeeze my calf and I could see the blood go through the veins- sweet! Things were looking good- at least that's what she told me. But she had to check my leg three different ways. There was about 40 minutes of squeezing my leg, adding more and more goop to it, and scanning every inch to see what is going on, while I watched the screen eager to know what it all meant.

When she was done she told me that the blood flow in my leg is looking really good in my thigh and also in my lower leg, but behind my knee the blood clot still survives-ugh. So by the looks of the ultrasound my leg is getting way better! YAY! And then she gave me a little towel to get the huge amounts of gel off of me leg, those towels really should be bigger, and I was off to get back to work. (I was on my lunch break... a really looooooong one I guess.)

So that all happened Wednesday...

And I just got a call from my doctor today- while I was writing this post actually- with my lab results (still WAY low) and also the official ultrasound report. Again we talked for a looooooong time. And after everything- the studies he's read, the questions, the conferences he's been to about DVT, etc- he has left the decision up to me.

I have the weekend to talk to my husband, my parents, and you devout readers (haha) about whether I should continue taking the rat poison or just stop. And then I can call him next week and tell him what I want to do.

There are risks either way. I would go into it all and get you totally confused and not knowing what to do either, but I am so sick of writing about it and thinking about it right now... my head is swarming... and I kind of feel like crying- don't hug me or else I will certainly start.


Meditating Mother said...

I hope you can come up with a solution and one that you feel comfortable with. Perphaps try a new doctor? I don't know all of the details, but I hope it works out. :)

will and lori said...

Katie, i have no doubt that you have been taught correctly how to deal with this...A + B = C. A-Katie and Jeremy, B-Heavenly Father, C-answer. Go get um girl!

will and lori said...

P.S. hope it doesn't creep you out that the Ales; follow your blog. My girls always ask me to check in on you! And they get so excited when you come back into town!

Katie said...

thanks for the advice lori. of course it doesn't creep me out! you guys are so cute! thanks for reading!