I have a history of blood clots.
I have a genetic condition that makes me have a high risk of future clots.
I have had one PE and one superficial clot. A superficial clot is generally considered no worse than a bruise. It's minor, usually caused by iv's or injury or otherwise... and they are not usually considered dangerous, nor are they treated with any type of medication.
However, sometimes, if left untreated (about 10% of the time, they can lead to DVTs.
If I get a DVT, it will be considered my second clotting event and I'll be stuck on blood thinners the rest of my life. (superficial clots don't count as a true clotting event).
My first superficial clot came along after surgery in the arm about an inch away from my iv site. It's pretty common to get them after an IV... and as it was I was being put on blood thinners for two weeks as a preventative treatment after surgery - so within three to four days, the clot started to feel better and to shrink. It shrunk down to about the size of a pea... and all was right in my world.
However, last Tuesday, my arm got sore again - in the same place as my previous superficial clot. A small patch of the area on my bicep was red, swollen and warm to the touch. When I poked and prodded I found a little pea sized lump... only it wasn't in the original location. Sure enough, when I poked some more, I found two pea sized lumps - the old one and a new one. Since I knew they were low risk and didn't necessitate immediate medical treatment - and that the treatment (warm compresses and aspirin) is low risk if I'm wrong... I just started the treatment on my own.
Two days later, I had some pain in my left upper arm... found another itty bitty lump. Hmmm.... that's not good. But I'd only just started taking the aspirin a day or so before... so I figured it might not have had a chance to take effect yet.
Third day... and the lumps in my right arm were both larger than they used to be. Which means that my old clot has gotten bigger as had the second, newer clot. They went from pea sized to marble sized.
I broke down and did something I didn't want to do - but I called the doctor to ask if they could see me. Only they wanted me to go straight to the emergency room. I got a little pissy and grumpy and stubborn. I didn't want to waste the time to go to the ER... I knew that these are not life threatening, in and of themselves... and that if I could get treatment (true blood thinners) that they wouldn't get any worse and therefor couldn't reach the point of being life threatening. So, I didn't go to the ER on Friday.
I went home and pouted instead.
Saturday morning I woke up and it was hard to feel the lumps in my right bicep because the whole area is much more inflamed. I think I need a new doctor, but on Satuday I realized that I wasn't going to get diagnosed and treated any time soon if I didn't go anywhere.
I can't find a new doctor over the weekend. And a walk in clinic that doesn't know me isn't going to do anything except send me to the emergency room ... sigh.
So, I broke down and went to the emergency room on Saturday. TOTAL WASTE OF TIME. They concurred that I do not have dvt's (deep vein thrombosis) and that my life is not in danger at this time. And they recommended I talk to my doctor. Which is all I wanted to do in the first place.
The two lumps in my right arm are now around 2" long... the bump in my left arm is about the size of a marble... and now I have a new pea-sized lump in my lower left arm.
I may not be a doctor.
I may not be thoroughly familiar with everything about how the body works.
But I know a LOT more about my blood clotting disorder than a lot of doctors.
Basically, the body needs the clotting mechanism to deal with injuries. And when you are hurt or cut, you need blood clotting to stop the bleeding.
But sometimes, the trigger that initiates the blood clotting 'process' isn't obvious. And with my disorder, once it's turned on... the body has a hard time stopping it from building clots even where they aren't needed.
When you develop multiple superficial clots in different locations without any preceding injury, it's evidence that the clotting mechanism has been turned on.
I've taken aspirin, which is the recommended treatment... and it hasn't phased the process.
Per the studies I've read, aspirin is very effective in helping folks with heart conditions and with arterial clotting risk in preventing platelets from sticking together. Veinous clotting disorders, on the other hand... are created by fibrin sticking together. Aspirin has not been successfully proven to be effective with veinous clotting disorders. I have a veinous clotting disorder.
And aspirin has not been an effective treatment.
This isn't rocket science. It only makes sense that unless I start taking medicine proven to be effective in preventing veinous clots from forming... it will only be a matter of time before I'll start having dvt's or another PE which would be life threatening.
I am fully aware that the ER did their job. They made sure that I'm not on my death bed. But now I've been laying in bed for two days and getting worse. I HATE the idea of waiting to get worse instead of attempting to do something to get a handle on my condition. While it wouldn't be in the ER doctor's job description... it would have taken ONE prescription of a drug that can't be abused to have put me into a safer situation. It would have taken thinking outside the box and connecting the dots that a person with a clotting condition actively building clots (no matter whether they form outside the deep veins or inside of them) is probably going to need treatment to stop the process.
SIGH. I am really sick and tired of trying to get common sense medical treatment and getting brushed off. It's my life they are putting at risk because they don't know enough to connect the dots and see where this is heading.