The orthopedic surgeon we saw Wednesday afternoon confirmed that I had a moderate tear in my gastrocnemius (<= the bigger calf muscle).
Then he sent us for an ultrasound to check for blood clots, because my leg and foot were rather swollen, and had been for a while, and I had not had any particular success with getting that swelling to go away.
And that was how it was that I ended up spending two and a half days in the hospital hooked up to a heparin drip and having blood drawn every 4-6 hours to check for progress (and me with my bordering-on-actual-phobia about needles…you can imagine how well I dealt with this) before My Beloved Physician was able to confirm that I didn’t actually have an actual clot, but rather only alarmingly elevated risk of one.
This is one of the things we love so much about this guy: A lot of doctors would have been more like, “Look, you’re already here and we’re halfway down this path, so, my work here is done. You have another four to seven days in the hospital (!!!) while the warfarin takes over from the heparin, then three months (!!!!!!) of taking the warfarin daily (with daily / every-other-day lab work, I might add), because that’s what we’re doing.”
Instead, I got to just come home with instructions to be very alert about the swelling returning, and with a prescription for a mega-dose of aspirin.
It’s not exactly that I’m furious and want to have stern words with anybody for making me go through all that “for no reason.” There was a reason for it. They saw veins that looked like they were under stress, there were markers in my blood that said, “probably has a clot in there” – I think what they did was the right thing to do.
You don’t fool around with suspected deep vein thrombosis. Having a clot break loose and travel up into your lungs can kill you – I’ve still got an awful lot of Denizen-rearing to do, and I’m kinda curious how it all turns out.
So on the whole, I’d like to, you know, not die of something stupid and miss all that.
Still. It’s a bit…vexing, to spend all that time hooked up to an IV and being stabbed by cheerful, smiling lab folks what felt like every fifteen minutes over and over in the same general area, only to be told a couple days later, “Oh. Never mind. You ‘just’ have a rather elevated risk of clotting from that area. Here. Have a prescription for a mega-aspirin, aaaaaaaand if your foot or leg puffs up like that again and you can’t get the swelling back down quickly? Get your arse to the emergency room, what are you, STUPID or something?!”
The crook of my left arm looks like I have a serious drug problem (or like I was attacked by near-sighted vampires mistaking my elbow for my neck or something); plus, of course, the fact that I was on a blood thinner means that I bruise fairly easily, so I have all kinds of beautifully yellowing marks all over me.
I probably have about six to eight weeks of recovery time ahead for this stupid thing altogether before I’ll be back to more or less normal, and a month or two after that where I’ll still need to be a bit circumspect about how much stress I put on the leg; it’s just one of those injuries that take a looooong time to heal.
But, it could be worse. I could have been stuck in the hospital for over a week.
With the convenient, in-house, available 24/7 lab people.