Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Happened Wednesday 5: Trying to Find the Cause

This is the continuation of the story about how I got where I am. It started here.

Because the helicopter ride was so fast, about 30 minutes, I reached the hospital long before anyone else could. I was exceptionally lucky and had a great nurse. She was so nice, I think she realized how scared I was there all alone. By the time I was settled I had been on oxygen and an IV for a couple of hours.  I hadn't been hungry for days but I guess the IV fluids and oxygen got my stats up and my body was screaming for food. The nurse, did I mention how nice she was, went to the cafeteria and got me a grilled cheese sandwich and a Coke. It tasted so good.  It was not the easiest thing to eat but I was hungry.  I remember taking really small bites and chewing and then resting a minute because I would be out of breath.  When my parents arrived I was sitting up in bed eating grilled cheese and drinking a Coke. My mom told me that when she saw me sitting up eating she was relieved. I think they were scared they would come in and I would be hooked to wires and unconscious. I've always told people that I'm tougher than I look.

I only had to spend one night in ICU. I was lucky that the oxygen, IV fluids and blood thinners the doctors were pumping into me did the job. There had been talk of having to do a surgical procedure to remove the clots if I didn't stabilize. Since that consisted of basically sticking a wire down my throat into my lungs and pulling the clots out I was glad that it could be avoided. The next morning I was moved to the cardiac floor.  The doctors decided it was the best place for me because they needed to monitor my heart to determine if the strain from my clots did any damage to my heart and the make sure that a stray clot did not manage to get to my heart. I was the youngest patient by at least 30 years. I saw many doctors, and medical students. Apparently I was an interesting case.

The doctors informed us that I probably had a blood clotting disorder or some type of immune disorder that made me at risk for developing clots.  After a lot of blood work it was determined that I do not have any blood clotting disorders. It was also determined that I do not have any immune disorders that could result in an increased chance for blood clots.  That left the doctors asking why did a 21 year old end up with 6?  Two words: birth control. It was determined by my doctors that I am one of those rare people that is at risk for blood clots from birth control.  If you listen to the warnings at the end of birth control commercials it's people like me that they are talking about. Oddly, I didn't meet the normal criteria to be at an increased risk of blood clots. I was under 30 and a non smoker. I am the anomaly. I had a doctor tell me it was maybe a 1 in 10,000 chance of something like that happening.  Generally, women my age that develop blood clots have some underlying factor as the cause. 

So what does all of this mean?

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