I am exceedingly thankful for the blood clot in my side we found one year ago this week. The one that was painful, that required they install a filter in my vein that had to be removed in a few months, the terrifying and agonizing deep vein thrombosis that made me utterly miserable. In recent days I have come to realize I owe that damn clot my life.
That clot wasn’t alone, there were clots running down my leg, and clots in my lungs. Down the leg was bad, and could have eventually lead to issues that might have gotten them identified or caused problems that were noticeable. But the lungs? Pulmonary Embolisms (PEs) don’t cause many symptoms that get them identified. Sure, they contributed to my pneumonia, but the doctors were just going to treat the pneumonia, never knowing the PEs were there.
PEs can cause death, though. They sit there, relatively silent, until suddenly, possibly in your sleep or some random moment of life, you can just die. The symptoms related to them can often be disregarded as other issues, like that pneumonia I had, or my asthma. So they can be overlooked until it’s too late. But because I was in severe pain in my side, sick for so long and suffering the agony every time I tried to lay down, tried to move, tried to lift something, they ran tests. Including ultrasounds, CT scans, and a chest x-ray.
That large chunk of the day I spent in radiology, starving and dehydrated, enduring wave after wave of pain, gave the sharp eyed doctor – the third doctor assigned to me that stay – the data he needed to spot the big clot in my side, which got him looking close enough to find the clots in my lungs.
My trip to urgent care on Monday of that week had been fruitless, because the doctor there blew me off. Luckily the pain on Tuesday was so bad that I ignored his orders to give it time and went to another urgent care. If it had just been the PEs, I wouldn’t have been suffering enough to do that.
Maybe I should have named that stupid clot, because only now do I see that without it raising the red flags, being too huge and painful to ignore, I could have just slipped away. Thank you, nameless clot, I’m not sad you are gone, but I am glad in a way that you were a brief and uncomfortable part of my life.