I debated with myself for quite awhile about writing this post. Part of me is a very introverted and private person and the other smaller part of me thinks it's ok to share my experiences if it in some small way might help someone else.
The thing I most want to say to anyone reading is trust your gut instincts. I spent 10 days ignoring mine and it almost cost me my life. If you feel like something is really wrong it probably is! My story is about a physical problem but I believe trusting your instincts equally applies to emotional situations as well.
I'm not going to bore you will all the details of the story of what happened to me but here are the highlights.
*went to doctor with leg pain and fatigue
*told to go to ER for testing, told them of my family history of blood clotting disorder, they found a blood clot in leg, did not xray chest, and did not test me for clotting disorder, told me clot was in a "non-dangerous" location, told me to go home and take ibuprofen.
* spent next 10 days feeling increasingly tired, dizzy, short of breath, and just plain not right. I had made myself an appointment with a hematologist to find out for myself about my own genetic situation concerning the blood clotting disorder but appt was still a few days away.
* I kept telling myself that I might be imagining these weird symptoms and that I was probably making more out of something than I should. I also kept telling myself that I was just really out of shape and that was why the walks I took every single day were getting harder and harder to complete. Of course this doesn't make any sense and I can't even believe that this was the internal messaging I was concocting. I had myself convinced that because I had been to the ER once and they told me I had "no reason to lose sleep at night" that I must be imagining these on-going symptoms.
* on day 9 after first ER visit I felt so funky that I wrote 3 goodbye letters and gave my house keys to my sister "in case of an emergency"
*on day 10 .... I dropped my husband off at work (an hour away from where we live) as we would be leaving that same day at noon for a weekend getaway. I was to go junkin for a few hours and then pick him up at lunch time.
* went to first garage sale, bent over to pick something up, felt like a gorilla was pounding on my chest, started hyper-ventilating, paid for my purchases after scaring the poop out of an old lady with my bizarre breathing and drove away.
* drove 3 blocks, pulled into parking lot and still had internal battle going on .... "don't ruin weekend vacation" vs. "don't be an idiot and don't be afraid to be told again that you're fine when indeed you really might NOT be fine"
* I wish this was the part of the story where I said I drove myself right into the emergency room like a smart lady but no .... I drove myself to the nearest urgent care center where after filling out the form with current symptom .... "can not breathe" I had to sit and wait for half an hour while hyper-ventilating with my head in my hands trying to still convince myself that I was having a panic attack and nothing more.
* no one seemed that concerned for me including the nurse in the room I was brought into. this just validated my feelings of unworthiness and "wasting people's time", until she stuck some clamp on my finger and did a double take and then ran out of the room and a doctor came running in and said "what were your symptoms again??"
* turns out my blood oxygen level was in the 80s and that's NOT GOOD!
* I rejected a ride in the ambulance (again I'm just not that clever I guess) They made me sign a release (probably the stupid lady clause) and told me how to drive myself to the hospital which was only blocks away and I knew that, so in my defense, I didn't think the showy ambulance ride was necessary.
* back in the car I made the call to husband mostly to apologize in advance for possibly ruining getaway weekend and to let him know I'd be dropping by the local hospital to get a "quick" check-up but that hopefully we'd still be driving off into the sunset by 3 or 4.
* handed ER check in lady the paper clinic gave me and she bounded off of her chair and grabbed me by the arm and whisked me down the hallway so fast it was shocking.
* next thing I knew I was IV'd and had a mobile x-ray unit taking photos of my chest. Cat scan, and blood draws followed.
* flash forward a few hours. husband now sitting next to me, me still thinkin I'm bustin out of the joint at any moment, 6'4" doctor (barely said a word to me in 4 hours) walks up and very calmly and with absolutely no hesitation or feeling says ... " both of your lungs are completely filled with pulmonary embolisms and you have a mystery mass on your left kidney. You will be here for 4 to 5 days minimum and we are waiting for a room for you."
* I was treated by urologists, general physicians, cardiologists, lung doctors, and the world's nicest hematologist.
* They all said the same thing to me, some of them said it multiple times. "You are very lucky to be alive." I've always felt lucky to be alive but knowing that I had ignored the little voice inside of me because I thought it might be inconvenient to other people, or because I didn't want to appear to be pushy, insistent or problematic made me really mad at myself. Who knows me better than me??
*This happened the middle of June. I'm still in the process of getting treatments and figuring my situation out. I am feeling great and am in the hands of some great doctors. I'm now back at work and life for me is different but absolutely wonderful. You adapt. Please don't ever be fearful to get a second opinion or to make waves. You know better than anyone else if something is wrong. Deep down I knew I wasn't fine and I waited until my situation was critical. Don't do that!!!! I learned my lesson and I've thanked the "angels" I feel are watching over me profusely.
P.S .... neither the original hospital or the second hospital were local ones. I'm not going to reveal either one because the story is not about that.