Oldies But Goodies

Post Natal DVT - 'This could have been Fatal'

So Yesterday my leg went purple I've not been able to settle or get comfy on my hip for days, laying, standing sitting all hurt, it was so frustrating... I just assumed my body was recovering from Labour and so I just got on with it.

My Mum's reaction...
This morning though, I phoned my mum in a panic as I wasn't sure it was just recovery any more I'd been in agony all night and it was getting slowly more and more purple. My mum, who I use like my very own NHS direct, would normally just calm me down, laugh at me and tell me something herbal like put a tea bag on it, but she sounded panicked! She said I had to go to the Hospital right there and then! She never sounds panicked, she's a nurse she's always seen and done worse, so she never panics like that, it worried me. I told her I would go to the GP first see what she said. I made an appointment and between then and the initial phone call to my mum she rang me 5 times! Hoff began to panic then too. Her words were 'Alice if you leave this and it is a DVT, which I suspect it is, you could die and leave Hoff as a single Dad'. I knew what DVT was. It's a blood clot that can start in the leg and move up and if not treated it could be a killer as it can reach your heart, lungs or brain. The words DVT and the thought of not seeing my kids again and leaving them with no mum, was enough to kick me up the bum. She had been discussing me with her doctor friends and they had said that I should have had injections whilst in hospital, as I was at risk of DVT due to being almost bed ridden throughout my stay! Especially during an 11hr Epidural! Also because my rib condition is an inflammatory disease and post natal DVT is in my family history. They said that it was negligent that they weren't given to me and that there was a lot about my whole experience so far that they'd have all done differently..... Jeeeees how ridiculous if it has been a slip up I will not be happy!

In the back of my head I was still thinking this was just nothing. I was used to them checking me for clots it was my 3rd time in hospital for the same sort of thing but in different parts of my body. This had been the only one that I was exceptionally worried about because it was obvious there wasn't much else it could be. BUT me being me I was trying to ignore it along with the pain. I was not going to panic properly until they say the words 'It's definitely a DVT'. The pain was in my hip and groin though, yeah my leg was swollen and heavy like a DVT but it was really the hip that was hurting, so I thought it was just a trapped nerve or even a fracture! That was getting me through the day.

The GP...
So when I got to the GP she took one look and said 'uhhhh yeah that doesn't look right does it?!'. She is a brilliant GP, she doesn't make me feel silly or small and she listens and understands that if I am going to her I've tried the basics and they haven't worked, or I wouldn't be there, so she jumps straight in to the medical stuff. I hate wasting doctors time so if I feel the need to go to them then it's because I'm actually worried and have tried everything else before getting there. All my GPs in the past have been patronising, dismissing or just generally not interested so she's been a breath of fresh air. She is interested in all the weird and wonderful parts of medicine and so my Teitze syndrome has been more of an interest for her.
Anyway she looked very concerned and she decided after checking me over that I had to go to the DVT clinic at the hospital quite urgently. She said it could be an infection in my hip BUT she wanted to rule out DVT because she's pretty sure that it is indeed a DVT she asked if the hospital had given me any injections during my stay but they hadn't and she looked puzzled...... so my mum was right to be worried and right when she said they should've been giving me the injections whilst in there. Hmmmm had they just forgotten to give them to me? If so... was this all their fault?

But still I was thinking it was just probably an infection, strain or trapped nerve and I was wasting everybody's time but we made our way to the hospital.

The DVT clinic...
I hobbled from the car to the clinic whilst Hoff carried Rocky in the car seat. It's a good job Kyd was still at school or we would have been stuck with both kids in a very small and stuffy waiting room and it wouldn't have been very nice.
The DVT nurse called us in. She was lovely talked me through what they do, took one look at my leg and said 'YEP looks like an above the knee DVT to me, we will send you for a scan right now to see where it is and what we can do next BUT you may have to stay in'.... Oh my godddddd!!!! I am so sick of hospitals. Please god not another stay in. I wasn't willing to leave my 9 day old baby either so I told her I'd have to be put somewhere I could take him with me.... I knew this was a long shot but it was worth a try I'm not leaving him.

The Scan...
We hopped over to the X-ray department and Hoff was looking quite scared. We got there and they saw us quite quickly. She started scanning around my thigh and then my groin... nothing?! but that was where the pain was.... she moved further and further up my stomach and then she asked how old baby was, odd question I thought but she then said my uterus was still quite swollen compared to what it should have been that she'd note it but she thinks they might send me over to gynecology.... something more to add to the list! Joy!
She was rushing around my stomach with the scanner and she soon started doing measurements. She then stopped said it's definitely a DVT and you're really lucky to catch it as it's very high up already. I explained that my mum had used the scare tactic to get me there and she said I owed her a drink she'd saved my life!! She said the words 'This could have been fatal in less than a few days' IT WAS THAT BAD!!! OMG REALLY? The whole it's nothing thing had faded into the background and the panic had set in I looked at Hoff who looked petrified. She said Hop foot it back up there you need urgent treatment. Hoff hurried me out of the door and I sucked up the panic and decided to smile so not to worry him further. My phone rang and I had no signal, all I heard was 'is that Rhys' mum?....' then it went dead.... he was at after school club I thought there was something wrong. So when I got signal I rung them back, much to Hoff's disgust as we were told to go back asap so he was rushing me. Turns out it was Kyd's new Social Worker and she was arranging a time to come and see us, it could have waited after all. Hoff was mad at me for being so flippant with what I'd just been told but I was happy to take in the news slowly it was all happening so quick.

The Decisions...
So the DVT nurse saw me again. I had sent Hoff home to feed Rocky as I couldn't have him fed in a horrid waiting room and collect Kyd and so that I could deal with this in my head as I knew he was worried and that upsets me.
She looked at me smiled and said it's OK we can fix it. I was relatively calm actually, considering I'd just found out I could've died. She explained where the clot was and showed me on a picture. It wasn't far from my heart or lungs really and that sort of brought it home. She was so up beat that it was hard to be worried. She explained I'd have to have blood thinning injections in my stomach for a while until my INR blood levels were between 2 and 3 and that I would be on tablet form of Warfrain, another blood thinner in the form of a pill, for 6 months because it is an above the knee DVT. She informed me I'd have regular blood tests too to make sure my warfrain dose and INR levels are correct. My first blood test had already been done and my next was on Monday morning. She had said that due to the consultant saying there was no need to keep me in if the baby etc would suffer so I could go home. This was really good news but I was worried it was then up to me to keep an eye on my health and maybe the hospital was the best place for me.... but I don't think I could handle that mentally. I don't know what would've been best but I wanted my own house, bed and a cuddle with my boys so I wasn't going to argue. She gave me a canvas bag full of leaflets, needles and Warfrain and went through them bit by bit. She then went on to give me a list of things that I had to ring 999 for or rush to the hospital for.... the list wasn't as small as I thought, I began to get scared.

Injecting Myself...
I've had these before in the hospital when they thought I had a lung clot but I've never done them to myself. For the next few days though this was going to have to be my job.... I was going to have to inject myself!! I'm not squeamish, I don't mind needles or anything like that but to do it to myself made me want to be sick. But needs must... Hoff was in fact squeamish, so I didn't want to ask him to do it I was scaring him enough as it was.
She started the injections there and then so that she could talk me through it, watch me do it and the fact if I didn't I could die! So here we go, I told myself, I watched closely, she made me do it myself and it was quite easy and simple actually but it stang like a...... lol. it bruised quite quickly too but I could deal with that. I just have to do it again tomorrow by myself!!.... I'm scared I'll do it wrong but I have to do it. Man Up Baillie!!!!!

At Home...
So I rung Hoff and told him to come and get me and he rushed back over in the car with the kids in tow. He looked at me with these big eyes and all I could see was fear. He was just a normal man that had been nowhere near the hospital since he was born, yet in the few short years he had been with me he had become regular to the point he could tell you where most departments were. He had been scared to death so many times watching both Me and Kyd suffer and last week Rocky too. Labour was bad enough for him to watch but to hear the words 'this could have been fatal' cut him quite deep I think. I smiled at him knowing inside I wanted to cry and said 'It's fine, I'll be fine' I then distracted myself by talking to Kyd all the way home.

When we got in I went through everything the nurse had said to me. I explained each thing that we had to be aware of and each thing that would be classed as an emergency. He looked even more scared. I felt horrible like I was taking part of his heart out. People forget about the people around when news like this comes in, he was panicked, my mum was panicked and those I'd told that understood it, were panicked too. It can be treated but if we hadn't got to it in time, that's where the scary thoughts were. He had watched me through the most hideous pregnancy, then a horribly long and painful labour and then slowly losing my health up to this diagnosis...... and there was absolutely nothing he could do to help me either. I text a few people around us some info as to what was going on, as I thought they needed to know so that Hoff had help with the kids whatever happened, whether I was in hospital or not. I was going to be out of action for a while, much to my annoyance, so he needed some help. My mum is coming to stay again next week as Hoff was supposed to go to work Monday, his paternity leave is over and we can't afford any more time off, so at least I have someone with us.

I have to go to sleep now, if I can, but tomorrow is a new day...... the first day of the rest of my life.

2012, HealthAlice Hassall