Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A New Normal

Well, today's post was supposed to be all about the fun we had on our ski trip butttttttt yesterday, instead of spending my evening editing pictures like I'd planned, I got to visit the doctor's office, two hospitals and three pharmacies. Fun, fun. NOTE: If you happen to be a hypochondriac STOP READING HERE, I'll tell you the end - I lived, so will you!

Lets start at the beginning, the morning after Brandon and I got back to Oklahoma I woke up with a lot of tenderness in my right thigh. I brushed it off as muscle fatigue from the skiing and went on with my day as normal. That evening B went to sleep early and I worked on a few things around the house, as I was getting ready to go to bed the pain in my leg flared back up but I still didn't think it was worthy of waking my exhausted husband. The next morning, B was long gone before I woke up and when I hopped out of bed (our bed is pretty tall so I literally have to hop out every morning) the pain was much more intense and it seemed to be moving up my leg. For some reason I had a gut feeling it was more than sore muscles... So, Dr. Raegan decided to self-diagnose... I knew I hadn't had any type of ski injury. I had been sitting in the car for twelve hours at a time twice in one week. I had been at high altitudes. I had lots of problems with my ski boots being too tight (I switched them out three times, can somebody say high maintenance?). I am on birth control. And the pain was coming from a spot in my leg where a major vein runs...

So I sent B a text, "I'm self diagnosing my extremely painful leg... Blood clot. What are the chances?" I expected a response telling me I was crazy, but instead Brandon agreed that it sounded somewhat feasible. He encouraged me to call my Uncle Bill (Who is my primary care physician and always takes super duper good care of me) for a second opinion. So I called him up and he agreed that I should probably look into it. Because Brandon is doing a rotation at a different hospital this month, he wasn't able to leave and come check me out so we decided it would be best to call my cousin Ryan, who is an ER doctor in Oklahoma City and have him look at my leg. (PS it's REALLY nice to have your own personal team of physicians)

I felt completely foolish leaving work to go meet Ryan at the hospital... It would have been one thing if one of my three doctors had come up with the whole blood clot diagnosis, but since I was the one that had brought up the crazy idea I was positive that Ryan would look at my leg, give me a Tylenol and diagnose me with Wuss-itis. Plus, it was one of the few days Ryan didn't have to be at the hospital... as a wife of an intern, I understand that you better be dying if you want a resident's attention on their day off. Nevertheless, Ryan very sweetly took me in for an ultrasound.

He started by telling me that if he had a million dollars, he'd bet it all on me NOT having a blood clot... (Retrospectively, I should've known that was an instant jinx) He started the ultrasound at the top of my leg and was giving me a full tutorial on how healthy veins collapse when pushed on and my veins were collapsing perfectly and then he got to the spot where it hurt and he turned the screen and said, "And that's where you don't get to watch anymore." Never a good sign. Where it hurt, my vein wasn't near as clear, although the vein above and below looked great - it didn't make much sense. So he took me to see an ultrasound tech to double check what he already knew... I had a blood clot.

The tech very sweetly stopped what she was doing to do an ultrasound for me. She moved the little wand quickly up and down my leg and then very abruptly informed me, "You should thank your cousin, he just saved your life." Dramatic? Maybe a little, but that's exactly what she said... Comments like that will kind of freak you out in a hurry. 

Ryan, whose not known for being super sensitive (ER doctors don't have time for sensitivity), was so very sweet to me. He explained what I needed to do and then hugged me and told me he was so sorry about all of this. He very patiently answered my questions and explained what my treatment would most likely be. He even remembered that he now owed me a million dollars, but I told him since he just "saved my life" we could call it even. He called Brandon for me and explained everything since I wouldn't use the right words and of course, B had lots of questions. He even called my dad and explained everything to him as well. I am thankful for my family every single day, but yesterday was one of those days where Ryan giving me a hug because he was my cousin and he truly was sorry that he had to give me bad news meant just as much as him taking care of me as a doctor. When scary things happen, I always want to be with my family and I was so, so glad he didn't hesitate to give up his free afternoon to take care of me. Although I know he'll NEVER read my blog, if you know Dr. Ryan Sullivan please tell him that his little cousin was bragging on what a good doctor he is... and more importantly, what a very, very good cousin he is.

The rest of the afternoon was literally a whirlwind of doctors and tests and big words that I don't have a clue what they mean. Basically, the blood clot in my leg isn't doing too much damage (I was lucky because it hasn't caused any permanent damage to the rest of my vein) BUT if a part of it chipped off and hit my lungs or heart or brain, I would pretty much be toast. In order to prevent that from happening, and to break down the clot safely, I have to take shots in my stomach every day until my blood thins to a certain level (Which could take a few weeks, major bummer), then I'll continue to take a blood thinning pill to maintain that certain level. For the next few weeks, the doctors at B's hospital will be watching me closely - I'll have tests run tomorrow and over the weekend and again the next week. As soon as my blood thins out and they get it all regulated, then the tests will slow down to once a week and eventually, once a month. Thankfully, they don't think I have a blood disease that caused the clot so I'll only be on the medication for six months. Apparently, while skiing I pretty much caused the perfect storm and a clot resulted - I'm talented like that!

There are a few side effects - like if I get a cut, I'm going to bleed like crazy... and I'll probably have a few nose bleeds... and from now on, no sitting for more than two hours at a time... If I ever have chest pain or shortness of breath, I have to treat it like an emergency and go straight to the ER... And the very best side effect of all: I have to watch my Vitamin K intake (Vitamin K makes your blood coagulate which typically you would want, unless you are prone to clotting) and guess what has tons of Vitamin K in it?! Leafy greens - spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, asparagus, lettuce, broccoli - I NEVER HAVE TO EAT A YUCKY VEGETABLE AGAIN!! My entire life I've hated that stuff and now I have a legitimate excuse for ordering my salad with croutons, cheese and dressing only! (Yes, I really do that... I really, really like croutons!!) Originally, when Brandon told me this I misunderstood him and I thought he was saying I had to eat a lot of leafy greens and I. was. distraught! I can handle the shots, pills, tests, weak blood, but please, no leafy greens!! When I got all pouty and then he reexplained, I was on Cloud 9! I mean, good grief, when you're the weirdo that managed to give your perfectly healthy self a blood clot you have to take joy in the little victories! I just took a heck of a lemon and turned it into a gigantic glass of lemonade my friends!

So, the bottom line to this ridiculously long post is (a) Woohoo! I'm going to live, even though I'll have to adjust to a new "normal." (b) If you think somethings wrong with your body, it's always better to be safe than sorry, even if you are fearful of wuss-itis. And finally (c) I have the very best husband and family in the whole wide world! In the last two days my phone has been blowing up with concerned texts and calls from my sweet family and friends. My parents drove up and brought us dinner and just double checked that I was alright... I guess, regardless of how old you are, to your parents you're always their baby... I'm fine with that. My Uncle Bill and Ryan have checked on me numerous times. My husband has been an absolute jewel - I had problems with the pharmacies and our insurance and my sweet husband let them have it until they fixed me right up! He checked on me about a hundred times yesterday even though he was beyond crazy busy. He spoke with each one of my doctors after they met with me. He gave me those absolutely awful shots and I could see his little heart break when they made me cry... So today, he went and talked to the nurses that typically give the hospital patients shots in the stomach to see if there was a less painful way to administer it, unfortunately there wasn't any secret special way, but it was really sweet of him to try. He is an absolutely precious husband and I don't know what in the world I'd do without him! Even on the really bad, scary days I am incredibly blessed and forever thankful.

Be Blessed!


  1. I'm so glad you're alive, sweet friend! That sounds super scary, but I'm so happy you have medically-talented people around you :) I have one of those too!

  2. Oh my goodness Raegan, I am so glad you are okay! That sounds so scary. On a brigther note, it was SO much fun to meet you guys last night - look forward to getting together soon! :)

  3. Wow, how scary!! I'm so glad you have a family full of doctors and found out what was going on so soon. I'll be praying for you and I hope you're feeling great soon!