Roadtripping with a DVT

This past year really has been a doozie for me. Not only with COVID-19, quarantines, and the travel restrictions that came along with that. In late April, I also found myself in a leg cast with some pretty serious complications (a DVT)! I still have a long way to go before I am “healed” but I want to pass along some of the things that I have learned… that way if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you know how to handle it.
*Note – I am not a medical professional and not authorized to give medical advice. These are just my own meandering experiences.

Roadtripping with a DVT
Photo by Cristina Schek on Unsplash

The Squirrel and the backstory… and there is always a story.

The reason that I ended up in the cast. The day had started like any other during the 2020 quarantine. My husband is an EMT and was on shift that day. So, I had Breakfast, checked emails, sat in on a zoom meeting, and did other productive work things. Around lunchtime, I decided to take a short break, as is customary. I walked into my kitchen and heard a terrible racket outside. A squirrel was trying to get into my hummingbird feeder and ended up knocking it over. I went outside with the intention of setting it back upright before the ants could get into it.

However, when I stepped off the edge of the porch, my legs went out from under me and I ended up with a face full of dirt. On the way down, I hit my Tibia bone on the stone stair and heard a very loud pop. It took a few seconds for me to get my bearings. I realized I was on the ground. I prayed… really hard… that there were no snakes in that area of the yard (My husband and I live out in the country, and its not unusual). That is about when my leg started to make me VERY aware of its current condition. My next thought… OMG… my mobile phone was still upstairs.

The First Lessons Learned

Somehow, like any good country girl. I managed to pull myself together, dust myself off and crawl on two hands and the one good leg up the stairs to get to my phone. What was the first lesson learned? Always, and I mean always keep your mobile device on yourself at all times. You never know what is going to happen. The second lesson? Always provide the squirrels with their own feeder, so they leave the Hummingbird nectar alone. That one is important.

The Cast

Due to the intensity of COVID-19, I was nervous to visit the Emergency Room. Thankfully, the Campbell Clinic had started taking emergencies at their facilities and I was able to snag a last-minute appointment. After the first set of x-rays, they couldn’t yet tell if the leg was fractured due to the swelling. It actually took them 4 sets of Xrays to find it. It was just a hairline fracture, so not terribly serious. They casted me up for a few weeks and then transitioned me to a walking boot. That is about the time that things got interesting!

DVT Round One

I had been in the boot for about a week and a half when I first started to notice some swelling and discoloration. I call the DR and we did a tele-visit and determined that nothing was wrong. About 3 days later… I was starting to feel a little rough. I had developed a low-grade temperature, no biggie. Tylenol took care of that.

But between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, my leg tripled in size and started turning blue!! I was starting to look like Violet Beauregarde, the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. That is when we decided it was necessary to go to the Emergency Room… in the middle of the COVID pandemic. An ultrasound was done, it was mostly painless. This gave the DR the info that they needed to make a diagnosis. An Iliofemoral Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) also called a blood clot. They kept me for a few hours and then sent me home.

DVT Round Two

I was home a little over 36 hours before I began to have chest pains. Ladies (and gents) pay attention, this started out feeling like indigestion and like I had a light cat sitting on my chest. My heart rate was through the roof (It was nearly 160 by the time that we arrived back at the ER). The lady at the check-in desk was starting to know me by name at this point. I came in with chest pain, they wheeled me right back into the ER to do my assessment. This time, the blood clot was causing a Pulmonary Embolism. Thankfully, I listened to the changes in my body and we caught it very early. I didn’t fully realize at the time, just how life-threatening this was!

DVT Round Three

Yes, treatment for this has been ongoing for several months at this point in time. Despite our very best efforts, a follow-up Ultrasound proved that the treatments were not working. The next logical step was to do surgery to remove the clots. A Thrombectomy they called it. This wasn’t an easy surgery but it was necessary. Basically, he inserted several catheters into my leg behind my knee. I had to lay flat for 24 hours, while clot-busting medications did their job. Then, Doc took a tiny little “vacuum” and removed anything that was left. He wasn’t able to remove all of the clots but he got the ones that were most critical. My DR did a fantastic job and now I am on the road to recovery.

The Road to Recovery

What does all of this mean for someone that loves to go on road trips? Really, this just means that I need to make a few easy-to-make changes to how I travel. Arteries push blood and fluids down your leg, but your tiny veins are responsible for pushing them back up the leg. So, I need to be extremely conscientious about staying mobile and not sitting in the same position for too long. I need to make an extra effort to stop about every hour to stretch my legs and to walk around for 10 minutes or so. This helps get the blood pumping back up my legs. Simple yoga and stretches are good for blood flow too. This honestly just gives me a reason to stop and visit more landmarks along the way!

About Discovering Roadtrips

DiscoveringRoadtrips.com is a labor of love. This site isn’t designed to sell sponsored posts. We aren’t here to sell you anything. If I make a recommendation for a product, service, restaurant, or accommodations, it is because I have experienced them (on my own dime) and truly believe that they are worth a mention. I am interested to hear about your stories and adventures. If you would like to submit a guest post, please email me at hello@discoveringroadtrips.com.

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