Very, very early last Sunday Morning -
Mom: Oh, I don't like the sound of that. I want you to go the emergency room as soon as possible...and don't walk around!
Me: Why? (My heart starts pounding harder)
Mom: Movement could cause a blood clot to break off and head toward your lungs.
After a few restless hours of enduring a throbbing, tight feeling behind my knee, I got up out of bed. I couldn't sleep due to the pain in my leg. Naturally, I assumed the worst, that because I had been sitting for an excessive amount of time editing photos on Saturday, I might have a...thrombosis! (a blood clot that can form in the leg due to sitting too long, i.e., long airplane trips.)
By 4:30 a.m. I had sufficiently freaked myself out enough that I did two stupid things: 1) Looked up thrombosis on the internet - which gave just enough information to make me think I had it. 2) Called my mother in Paris at 5:00am our time, but 2:00pm French time. I wouldn't have called her if she were sleeping, but I figured since she was once a Registered Vascular Technologist and she could ease my mind. She would tell me I don't have it, that I'm being silly and go to sleep.
But no! After I explained the location of my throbbing pain, she made me think If I took one more step I was going to keel over.
Interior of Emergency room at nearest Valley Hospital. It's approximately 5:45 am. I'm in my own room behind a curtain, and wearing a backless hospital gown!!! How did I let this happen? A vascular technologist enters to give me a Doppler exam (an ultra sound scan of the veins and arteries of my painful leg).(Photo: On the pain chart I was only a "4")
Me: (Rambling my silly story to the Tech)...And since my mom was once a Vascular Technologist...well, she convinced me I should come in to have it checked out.
The Tech raised my gown up to the top of my right thigh, and then walked over to turn out the light.
Me: Wheeew...I wasn't sure how well I shaved my legs. So the dark is good. (He needed the room dim to see the monitor)
Tech: (laughing) You're silly.
Me: (He touches my upper thigh) Whoa! You're hands are cold.
Tech: Oh, you haven't felt cold yet.
(And then he applies the ice cold ultra-sound gel up and down my leg)
He sits down and presses the scanner along the gelled area of my inner upper thigh. (Again, I'm wondering how it came to be that I have a strange man touching the inner part of my thigh. I can hear my blood pulsing through the monitor... blub, blub, blub (he squeezes part of my leg)...woooooosh.
Tech: (concentrating his eyes on the monitor) So you said your mom lives in France?
(I only told him that to explain why I would call her at 5am our time...I didn't want to sound like a complete hypochondriac nut-case who would call someone as they slept. Nope. I'm just a partial nut-case. I called her in the afternoon France time.)
Me: Yeah, on a boat...on a boat in Paris.
Me: Mmmmhhhm...Anyway she's why I'm here. And because I looked up blood clots on the internet. Don't ever do that...look up medical sypmtoms on the internet. My daughter did once and convinced herself for months she had a brain tumor.
Tech: Your family sounds like a lot of fun.
(I'm thinking, did he mean fun as in "crazy"? And if he did mean crazy, I proved him right by rambling on about other emergency room visits.)
Me: Yeah, so...A chicken came to my door in the suburbs.
Tech: A what?
Me: A chicken in the suburbs. That's weird, right? 'Cuz who sees a chicken in the suburbs?
Me: Anyway, as I open the front door to this chicken, my husband is sitting on the couch laughing that maybe someone's cursed me. You know, it sounds like a voodoo thing...sending a chicken to someone's door. And then, only an hour after the chicken is at the door, while sitting in my backyard, a wasp stung me on my wedding ring finger.
Tech: Oh no...seriously?
Me: Yeah, so, I said, "Ow!"
(Tech starts howling. But, being the professional that he is, his eyes are still scanning for blod clots)
Me: And I thought nothing more about it until about three in the morning when I woke up with a really swollen finger. It was so swollen that my wedding ring was cutting into my skin.
Me: Yeah, so the next day I went to a pharmacy and held up my finger to the pharmacist. By then my finger looked like a purple balloon. I asked if he had something I could rub on it for the swelling. The pharmacist's jaw dropped and he said, "I would run to the emergency room right now if I were you." So I did. And the nurse cut it off.
Me: I'm sorry... I'm tired. I meant, the nurse cut off my wedding ring and said, "I never saw a finger that swollen." He told me I almost lost it... my finger.
Tech: Seriously? (Still concentrating on the monitor, he squeezed my calf muscle - woooosh went the blood - as he watched for my deadly clots.)
Me: Yep. And a few years before that I raced to the emergency room when I nearly cut the top off the same finger while making potato salad. (I shook my head remembering those bills) Oh no...this is going to be expensive (I said after realizing our major medical insurance doesn't cover these visits). I don't spend money on manicures...I just rack up the bills on wacky emergency room visits.
Tech: (takes his eyes off the monitor) Uh... you might want to start getting manicures instead.
Again, he fixes his eyes on the monitor.
Me: So, does it look like I'm going to live?
Me: I'm thinking I am since you're laughing...I hope.
The nice Tech begins putting his equipment away. I thanked him, and asked if I can take a photo. We say goodbye. He leaves.
After waiting alone in my little room, a very serious nurse with salt and pepper hair walks in and looks at my wrist band.
Nurse: Has the ultra-sound tech come yet?
Me: Oh, yeah. I thought maybe you were going to give me the results. (But she said nothing.) So am I going to live?
The nurse ignores me as she places a red plastic band on my right wrist.
And then the nurse starts walking toward the door.
Me: (Yelling at her back) So? Am I going to live?! (She exits)
I sit alone in the room, pretty certain I'm going to live.
Finally, the doctor comes in. Tells me everything is fine with my veins. Again, I explain the silly chain of events (the hours spent photo editing, throbbing leg, internet symptoms, ex-Cardio-Tech/worry-wart-mom in France...better safe than
The doctor still wonders why I felt this pain.
Doctor: Please, do a few squats for me.
I stand up in my completely backless gown, with my back toward the now opened door and do some pretty good squats for a tired person (all the way down and back up), only to turn around and see an ambulance driver - or was it the janitor? - saunter by. There I was, my entire backside exposed to strange men early on Sunday morning. And then, with all the information I gave the doctor, he gave me my diagnosis:
PAIN DUE TO INACTIVITY
Oh the humiliation!! And it wasn't even 7 a.m.