So, if you will remember that in my update blog a couple weeks ago, I talked about not being able to breathe on Day 1, 2 and 3. After that, I wound up with this dry cough that would never become productive. I thought I might have caught a virus or something.
Two and a half weeks after my surgery, that cough was still there and becoming more and more pesky. I couldn’t get through sentences without coughing, and the cough would sneak up on me so covering my mouth was near impossible. After spending a day in meetings coughing all over everyone, I decided to see if my family doctor could give me a cough suppressant or a steroid…or something so people wouldn’t think I was coughing flu germs all over them!
I was able to get into my family doctor, Dr. Bondurant, who thought it was likely an infection, but it also had the symptoms similar to a blood clot. He sent me for an Xray and bloodwork, then ordered a CT scan for the next day.
The next day, I went in for a CT scan. Long story short, it was a pulmonary embolism (blood clot). In fact, it was two – I have one in each lung. I’m assuming this is why I was gasping for breath in the first three days after surgery.
Big shout out to Dr. Bondurant on this. This is the second time he has sent me on for additional scans and caught a serious problem. First time was with my breast cancer diagnosis.
The radiologist told me that normal protocol was to admit me to the hospital, but Dr. Bondurant had asked that they wait while he tried to squeeze me into a pulmonologist. Luckily, they got me in that afternoon. After a quick meeting with her and an excruciatingly long ultrasound of what seemed like every square inch of my legs, they determined that I was able to go home (vs. being admitted) and begin taking blood thinners.
Unfortunately, it will take awhile for the blood clots to dissolve, and until then, I will be coughing in people’s faces.
I’m currently on track to go back in a couple of weeks to visit the pulmonologist. She will likely do more scans to see if the blood clots are getting smaller.
So, this was going to be my first year to not hit my out of pocket after a record of five straight years of hitting it. Unfortunately, after all of these scans and tests, I’m well on my way again.
After talking to a few people in the medical world, I discovered that when you have abdominal, hip or knee surgery, you are at a higher risk of having these. They begin in your legs and travel to your lungs. That’s why they give you those unbelievably sexy, uncomfortable white stockings and why they put the squeeze machine (technical terms, guys) on your legs after surgeries.
Except, they didn’t do either of those for me for this surgery.
So that’s frustrating. It is especially frustrating when I think back to how I have NEVER not had compression stockings and machine in my past NINE surgeries, and I’ve never had this problem before.
I’m currently waiting to hear back from Mercy’s Director of Surgery. She listened to my concerns and told me she would call me back by Jan 25. She did not call. I emailed her on Jan 26 to follow up, but she did not return my email.
I’m hoping her responsiveness improves this week. It’s hard to feel like there is a concern for the patient when I don’t get any response at all. Not even a, “Hang tight, I’m still working on this.”