If you been over to RBCJ-Hub lately, you will have seen a post where I touched briefly about how everything about the site etc has suffered due to ill health.
I thought I would update in more detail as to the situation.
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up struggling to breath, and every time I tried to walk anywhere, I had severe pains in my chest and side causing me to quickly get out of breath.
Panicking, I asked my wife to ring 101. The paramedic arrived and did all the routine checks etc, after about 10 minutes the ambulance crew arrived and after a short conflab with the paramedic, they decided to give me gas and air to relieve the pain, alongside codeine & paracetamol.
The pain subsided enough for me to board the ambulance and be taken to Barnsley General Hospital.
On the way, I asked what the problem could be (as rather stupidly, I left it and left it thinking it was a chest infection, lesson learned!).
Of course, they could only speculate with the symptoms I had described.
Waiting in A&E for what seemed like an eternity with my brother (god bless him for coming and meeting me at hospital) I was told I needed several blood tests.
I can’t really say what I thought, but to put it politely, I thought “Oh dear”.
After 35 years, this was my first ever blood test, and I’m scared of needles…
Now I will just clarify something, I say I am scared of needles and certainly the first thing the doctor said,
“How can you be scared of needles when you have tattoos?”, and simply my reply was, “I was pissed!”
In short, throughout the course of the day, I had 8 needles! (not much to some, but enough for me).
Trying to get blood from my wrists to test blood gases (or something like that) and blood from my arms. The reason I had so many, was, well, in short they couldn’t find a suitable vein lol…
After spending 10 and a half hours in hospital (A&E (Accident and Emergency) and AMU (Acute medical unit)) I was sent home. Yey…or not.
The suspicion of blood clots was believed to be the cause of everything, but they could not confirm this at that moment.
As they suspected blood clots, they had to treat me as such and start treatment right away to get a “head start”. In addition, I had to go to DVT for a daily blood test to monitor my INR (international normalized ratio).
Click here for more information on INR.
My INR was very low, 1.1 in fact, my therapeutic range is between 2-3. My blood was too thick, so I was given a regular (daily) injection into my stomach of Clexane. Great, more needles…
After a week or so of this action being taken, I had to have a scan on my lungs which involved laying flat on a ‘table’ and have a very noisy ‘polo mint’ type machine scan my lungs after they had injected me with a special (radioactive) dye.
The medical staff’s suspicion was confirmed. I have indeed got blood clots on both my lungs and I had suffered a Pulmonary Embolism.
Anyway…Having overcome my fear of needles (and pretty bloody quickly! (no pun intended)), as mentioned, I now have to attend regular blood tests to continue monitoring my INR, and continue on a prescribed anti-coagulant ‘Warfarin’.
So far my INR has fluctuated from 1.1 to 4.0 over the last month, but at least I am only having to go to hospital about once or twice a week now.
So, there you have it. My month in a nutshell…
Despite the seriousness of the condition, I am quite well in myself. I have a few pains and twinges now and again, occasionally I have to walk with a stick to support myself if I get breathless when I’m out and about, but other than that I am fine.
Just as a side note, after 6 months I have to be screened for something called “Factor 5 Leiden“, which is a genetically inherited blood disorder. It basically means, my blood is trying constantly to clot.