Thursday, January 30, 2014

Peg legs, Emergency scans and Curb appeal

The last 3 days have been up and down and filled with anxiety and exhaustion, but also some really cool things.  On Monday my left calf started feeling a bit sore.  On Tuesday the feeling was like a charlie horse that was right in the middle of my calf muscles at the base of my knee, of my calf, however you want to see it.  By the middle of the day on Tuesday I couldn't walk because of the pain.  (bear in mind that I am on a constant stream of oxycodone 24 hours a feeling pain means that the pain is pretty big)  Tuesday night we tried massage, stretching, heat and Tiger's Balm.  Stretching helps for a few minutes and I love the way Tiger's Balm smells (which is why I'm using it again tonight!).  But nothing will make it go away permanently, so I alternate between looking like a pirate with a peg leg and a grown man with yet another pain so severe that it makes him cry like a baby when it's firing on all cylinders.

By Wednesday, the pain was so severe that I told Tami that I'd be willing to involve the medical community.  So after much cajoling and looking for numbers we called the triage nurse at UNMCC.  Why call the cancer clinic for leg pain?  Two of my chemo drugs are known to cause blood clots and since the pain was so severe and so quickly onset we called them as instructed on our instructions sheets.  For those not in the know a DVT (or deep vein thrombosis) is a potentially deadly thing. all know me.  I did my homework.  So when I talked with the triage nurse, I was sure to mention that I wasn't exhibiting any of the symptoms of DVT except for the pain and location of that pain...and speed at which that pain came on.  But nothing else.  No fever, no swelling or bruising.  I was pretty convincing in my opinion.  The triage nurse consulted with my doctor and said we need to get you to UNMH for a vascular scan right now.  Can you make it by 5?  It was 4:10.  She still had to talk to me about the treatment and I live on the other side of the world.  So here's how it played out:

4:10 - Nurse: Do you know where the vascular clinic is?
          Me: No
          Nurse: Are you familiar with parking and the new additions to the hospital?
          Me: Unfortunately not.
          Nurse: Hold on...

4:15 - The nurse gave directions and told me to go the old part of the hospital, to the main elevators and then to the 2nd floor. 

4:20 - Nurse: Do you think you can make it?  If you miss it you will have to go to the UNM Urgent care in the same building.
           Me: Well...I'm 35 minutes away and it's close to rush hour, but I'll try.

4:25 - Tami: You're going to have your Dad drive you right? (Tami was taking care of Myah who was really sick yesterday and needed someone there.
          Me: There's no time.

4:26 - In my car WAY after the hours that I'm used to driving these days, flying down the roads to I-40. 

4:40 - I get to the freeway and think to myself..."I'm totally screwed."

4:50 - I miss the frontage road entrance (the only fast way to the hospital from my direction) and am forced to navigate downtown rush hour. 

4:57 - I finally get to the hospital and find a spot in the parking garage...which, as it turns out, is like 15 miles from the old main entrance . (Of course I'm exagerating, but I've got 3 minutes to gimp through a new addition to the hospital and find a small room that I've never been before. 

5:03 - I give the check-in woman my medical record number and pray.  Thankfully she says that the tech is still there and there wasn't a need to send me down to the urgent care.  *YES!*

So I get the scan.  No clots.  No answer as to what my pain is...but NO CLOTS.  That's a good thing.  A clot wouldv'e meant getting admitted right then and there and a whole new circus starting.  So here I sit on Thursday with the same pain and no good way to fix it.  I soaked in Epsom salts tonight and will douse myself in Tiger's Balm again tonight.  But we'll see how I'm walking in the morning.  Sitting and being otherwise immobile aggravates it.   In fact, the hour I spent in the car driving home from the hospital last night became one of the most painful experiences outside of second chemo day that I've had in a while.  I hobbled in the door and just started crying while Tami tried to stretch it out for me.  (Man...does it seem like I cry a lot more lately?  I think so.  Hmmmm.)

So my walking speed has moved from snail's pace to glacial.  Just in case you wanted to walk anywhere with me anytime soon.  ;)

But it hasn't been all bad news and sour grapes.  We got our new storm door and rear gate installed today and they look UH-MAZE-ING!!  Here is our new storm door and (an in the showroom picture) our back gate.

Pretty cool eh?  I think they look so wonderful.  

But to cap the night off, Myah and I had a talk about civics from a 9 year old perspective for almost an hour!  And then she wanted to talk to Tami and I about health and other things for the rest of the night.  She amazes me so much.

Sometimes ask your kids challenging questions like, "From a 9 year old's perspective what do you think the most important thing is, that government can do today?"  You might be surprised by their answers.  

We talked about federal and local government and I got to see her mind going through different scenarios and the benefits and downfalls of each position.  If you really want an independent thinker, you've got to start them thinking about the hard stuff early.  And then (the hardest part) let them work it out without you.  (still trying to perfect this step *wink*)


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