27 July 2017

Dear Doctor Stanley

One year ago today, I ended up in the emergency room of Marymount Hospital with a deep vein thrombosis that ran the entire length of my left thigh. My entire left leg was basically the color of Voldemort and your wonderful resident, Dr. Nicole, could find a smidge of a pulse in the very bottom of my left foot.

Yes indeed: we are upon the one year anniversary of Clotapocalypse.


I would later learn that I basically had the trifecta: recent injury + road trip immoblization + a decade of birth control pills. Add in going on my annual summer spinach smoothie kick in the weeks leading up to the event (vitamin K, yo) and having a family history of blood clots (but, thankfully, no family markers in my blood) and my leg was pretty much a ticking time bomb.

Hoping that my instincts about my swollen, discolored leg were wrong, I went to work that morning. But just walking through the office I knew this was something that needed medical attention so I left thirty minutes later and went to urgent care (again, still hoping my instincts were wrong and it wasn't really as bad as I thought it was). That doctor sent me to Marymount, where I had an ultrasound done on my leg which is when they identified the clot that literally ran the entire length of my thigh.

(This is also the point at which I looped my family in. BC knew where I was, but I didn't want to tell my family until I actually had something to tell them.)

From there, I was admitted to the ER and hooked up to a Heparin drip. BC and my mom got there and we were told that the hospital was just waiting for a room to open up. The plan was to just keep me on the drip and in the hospital for a day or two and wait for it to work its anti-coagulant magic.

And that's when you stepped in.


I'm not sure how it happened, exactly, but somewhere in there, you saw the ultrasound of my leg and put a halt to that whole Heparin drip, wait and see thing. Immediately the plan shifted from me getting a room to me going into emergency surgery -- it was so fast that nobody told me I had to take my bra off or that I had to take my contacts out. Because of the drip, my bra had to be cut off and I have now been wearing glasses for a year because it was too much work to put the contacts back in with two more days of surgery ahead and by the time I got out, my eyes were all hell no.

I was in surgery Wednesday night, Thursday morning, and Friday morning. In between, I was in the ICU, waited on by some of the most amazing nurses. After about four days I was finally moved to a regular hospital room, but it was still another two days before I convinced the other doctors to let me go home. By "convince," of course, I mean "begged."

Initially after getting out of the hospital, I was on Coumadin and Lovenox shots, the latter of which I hated with a passion, not the least of which because the shots were so fucking expensive. But you advocated for me and put me on one of the newer meds, which I've now been on for about 11 months.

My new normal now consists of twice daily pills and a rotating supply of compression socks that I wear every single day. Because I can't take BC pills, I had to get an IUD back in November and because my DVT was partly hormone related, even though the hormonal IUDs are different hormones, I still went for the copper IUD which creates both more cramps and heavier periods, the latter of which is not helped by the whole blood thinner thing.

It's all very annoying and sometimes a pain in the ass but it's better than the alternative. I'll be seeing you sometime in September for my next follow-up and while there's a small part of me that is holding out hope that you'll tell me the pills are no longer necessary, I've also fully accepted that there is a chance I'll be on blood thinners for the rest of my life and I'm okay with that because, again, it's way better than the alternative.

Next to the guy I'm marrying next year, you're basically my most favorite person in the entire world. BC later told me that after I got out of surgery, he was leaving and in the elevator ran into the nurse who prepped me for surgery. She was in street clothes and heading home but she recognized BC (the mutton chops tend to give him away) and she asked "What strings did she pull to get Dr. Stanley on her case?"

"Just lucky, I guess," he told her.

Lucky I was indeed.

Thanks. From the bottom of my heart (and leg),
Jill
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