Sunday, October 26, 2008

Deep Vein Psychosis

I don't know if you've caught on yet, but I'm a little neurotic. Some Most All of the women in my family have what you might call issues with anxiety on some level. My personal favorite is fixation. Lately, I have become convinced that I will develop, or already have, blood clots leading to an embolism. Fueled more by the fact that a couple of years ago my sister had a blood clot removed from her arm, and my dad had an aneurysm when I was 15. I've asked J about it several times, he being a doctor and all, and he asks several specific questions which always result in the same conclusion...I don't have a blood clot, and most likely won't develop one.

The slightest twinge of pain leads me down a trail of obsession ending with the scene from Steel Magnolias where Jackson rushes into the house to find Jack Jr. crying as Shelby is laying on the porch unconscious with the phone next to her.

And then I take it even one step further...

I logged onto webMD for the first time ever (I know, hard to believe due to my history of compulsion and obsession) and typed 'leg pain' into the search box. Wouldn't you know that DVT was one of the first things to pop up. A-Ha! Confirmation.

Let me back up just one step. Just after I had H, I started having 'attacks' wherein I felt a tightening band around my chest to the point that I felt nauseated and was quite certain I was having a heart attack or some other fatal calamity which was frightening and anxiety producing in and of itself. J was in medical school and was wary of weighing in on family ailments, especially mine since I wouldn't listen anyway.

I had about three incidences where I felt that way, usually late in the evening, and by the time I would decide that maybe I needed to go to the ER, got H loaded in his car seat and ready to head out we would literally have the car started and the pain would be gone. Completely gone. I felt like a crazy person.

J gently suggested after the second foray to the car that maybe I was having a little bit of anxiety. Now, he was obviously not off-base in his suggestion, as I am a neurotic anxious person. But I know that I'm a neurotic and anxious person and am generally very in touch with why, and I just didn't feel like that was it.

I suggested the possibility to J that I may have gall stones, but he didn't say one way or the other (although he was fairly dubious of the self-diagnosis and still leaned toward me having anxiety attacks), just encouraged me to make a doctor appointment with a GP, which I didn't have. I got a recommendation the following day from my OB and made an appointment to be seen.

When I went to the ER, I asked that J just drop me off, as neither of us thought the waiting room at the ER was the best place for an infant and I promised I'd call him as soon as I knew anything. About five hours later (about 2am), a phone in my room rang and a frantic J was on the other line telling me he'd called all over the hospital and they first didn't have any record of me, blah blah blah. I told him through my fantastic morphine haze that apparently I was being scheduled to have my anxiety gall bladder removed the next morning.

I only tell this to illustrate that even though J has several years of training and education now under his belt I will always rely on this one story as proof that my obsessions sometimes have basis. Read: I grasp at loose straws.

I emailed J at his conference to let him know that I had a reason to be paranoid because the Lovenox quiz classified me as 'high risk' for DVT. All day as I went about my business I'd periodically reflect on my breathing to see if I had "Sudden shortness of breath, sharp chest pain that is worse when you cough or take a deep breath, or a cough that brings up pink, foamy mucus." Uh, no to all accounts. Whew! looks like I was in the clear for a Pulmonary Embolism for one more day.

I don't know about anyone else, but I just go into spin mode when I have too much time to think (aka, no adults with whom to share my evenings). I had pushed my ineviteable, impending clot to the back of my mind when I went to check my email tonight because I felt so, well, healthy and I got the following response from J:

1. No family history of clotting disorder - blood clots and a clotting disorder are two different things

2. IUD doesn't count, only estrogen based oral contraceptives

3. Based on the risk stratifcation tool that I use every day to determine the probability of DVT in patients, your probability is essentially zero.

I love you honey,


I noticed that he didn't make any note of the fact that I listed overweight as a factor that boosted me to high risk, and one of the prevention tips on webMD was "lose weight". What?! You mean consuming mass quantities of ice cream isn't the promotion of overall health? What about a spoonful of sugar making the medicine go down?

Perhaps the good to come of all this wasted time is the realization that my weight is the one thing I do have control over, and it's a major contributor to my lower back pain (and a host of possible future health concerns to be quite frank). I am making a promise to be serious about healthy eating habits. My meals are already healthy, it's all the refined sugar I eat throughout the day.

I am going to have to make the huge lifestyle adjustment of not eating dessert everyday. I know! So, I'll be saying to White Sugar what Samantha said to Smith "I love you. But I love me (and my husband and children) more."

1 comment:

Amy, Bryan and Zoey said...

Seriously. We have SO much in common. My current fixation centers around a deep fear that our house will burn down in the middle of the night and, because we sleep downstairs and Zoey is upstairs, we will not be able to get to her in time. *shudder* I, too, find that these fears take over when my mind is left idle for too long. (Like, say, when you're home all day with your sick toddler and your husband is away golfing. There's only so much concentration you can devote to the 19th reading of Curious George Feeds the Animals.)

Hang in there sister. And good luck with the healthy eating...don't deprive yourself of dessert ALL the time!!