South Park Self

she took those pills from the pill concoctor...

Things I Have Learned Over the Last Ten Days:
  1. All that stuff they throw at you on aircraft about long-haul flights and deep vein thrombosis? It's not urban legend. Or old wive's tales. Or scaremongering. Or a cunning way to make you look ridiculous while waving your feet in the air.
  2. Deep vein thrombosis really hurts. Your calf builds up quite ridiculous amounts of pressure, and putting foot to floor after having it elevated invokes the Screaming Agony Death Type Three.
  3. Developing the bloody thing on the flight out to Australia is neatly timed to give you a “gosh, sprained calf” pain which increases only in gradual increments, reaching its full apotheosis in Johannesburg airport after the 14-hour return flight, as you hobble at frantic speeds down the approximately six million miles of Oliver Tambo airport to catch, with a 20-minute window, the replacement connection you've been rebooked on after missing your actual Cape Town connection after high winds in Sydney. At this stage, “desperate to get home” is a thundering understatement.
  4. The ultrasound with which they prod your leg to determine the existence of the doomful blood clot lurking behind your knee is quite ridiculously cool, particularly as operated by the little ultrasound goddess on whose slightest pronouncements doctors hang.
  5. Hospitals are not, contrary to vague expectation, designed to be about your comfort. They are designed to be about your treatment. Your actual comfort and reassurance does happen, but it's very clearly secondary on the priority list of all these incredibly busy people whose actual allegiance is to this enormous unwieldy structure full of important rules.
  6. The above notwithstanding, a lot of hospital staff are actually lovely and empathetic and do deal with your comfort. Eventually.
  7. Hospital is mostly about waiting around. After ten days this gets tired.
  8. If you are a generally unfit sort of person prone to bodily ills, and have moreover trotted obliviously around Australia on a deep vein thrombosis for ten days, you will inevitably develop complications. This means that a few nameless bits of the clot have detached themselves from their spawning ground behind the knee, and have wandered vaguely through the heart and into your lungs, where they've stuck. This causes small sections of collapsed lung, chest pain, shortness of breath, your doctor to put his head into his hands helplessly, and a disconcertingly sudden transfer to the ICU with strict instructions not to move.
  9. If you have multiple pulmonary embolisms, the ICU is an incredibly reassuring place to be. It is also bedlam, filled with noise, chatting staff, beeping machines, and the continual entry and exit of patients.
  10. Hospitals are not restful places. Fortunately their drugs are good.
  11. Pain and concern about collapsed lungs are surprisingly distractable by cool machines, particularly the ones which are a cross between alien tech and the X-Files, and where they give you weird side-effect sensations by pumping you full of iodine.
  12. Avoid any illness which requires you to have blood taken through a pulse point. It hurts like hell and damnation.
  13. Friends are absolutely the only way to retain sanity through a ten-day hospital stay. I am blessed with incredible friends, whose dedication to visits in the teeth of my bored and disconsolate growling, has been wonderful and miraculous.
  14. ”Medical aid” is a swear word until you're in hospital for ten days.
  15. There is a bizarre comfort knowing that you can tick the "injury on duty" box on your leave form when you eventually get back to work.
  16. Hospital food is inventively awful.
  17. When it comes to the crunch, the Evil Landlord is actually cheerfully matter-of-fact about being asked to go through a lady's underwear drawer in order to bring fresh underwear to hospitalised housemates.
  18. The list of foods you can't eat while on Warfarin is quite bizarre.
  19. Ten days of internet absence, apart from the withdrawal symptoms, generates a ridiculous quantity of livejournal spam, mostly in Russian.
  20. It's really worth moving around a lot on long haul flights.
  • Current Mood: annoyed very tired of hospitals
There is no emoticon to adequately convey the expression on my face right now; O.O is just an introduction.

I am so glad you are OK, on this side of all of that.
Aaaaand suddenly I an intensely grateful that I happened to have flight anti-embolism socks to wear all the way to the US and back!

Glad you're ok now. =)
Walk around lots! do the foot exercises! honestly, the only possible justification for the last ten days is if I scare lots of people into paranoid behaviour which ensures the same bloody thing doesn't happen to them.
Oh no!

Hope you are recovering well.

I shall remember to take aspirin on long flights in future. It's supposed to thin the blood.
Aspirin is good, but apparently it's the moving around that's really important. Aspirin, and breakdancing in the aisles.
Oh, dear...hopefully you are on the mend. That soudns so scary!

In the interest of scientific verification my father (who has been on warfarin for years ) claimes he cannot eat: grapefruit, brocolli, brussel sprouts and spinach--is this true?
The main category is leafy green vegetables, which you need to keep at a constant level - i.e. eat continuously small amounts or not at all, no large quantities - or they cause wild swings in the warfarin effects. You also can't eat cranberries, for the same reason, or green tea. Anything high in vitamin K, basically. There are also ominous rumblings about alcohol, to which I say woe. If the last ten days have given me anything, it's an urgent need for a gin.
Goodness me. I've been vaguely wondering where you are. Very, very glad some medical people got hold of you in time!
*runs out of room*

*long stream of muffled, yet colorful invective*

*runs back into room*


Hope everything clears up soon....
Oh my god!
My expression as I read went from ._. to O_o to O_O

I hope you're better now, and please don't do anything like that again!
Eish, nasty :( Very glad you got help in time and hoping you are able to get back to normal (well, as normal as it is possible to be in this small corner of the continent) and home asap.
But all the beeping machines with the waves and stuff were so cool! Also, I found it reassuring rather than scary. Absolutely the best place to be when your knee is mounting a sneak attack on your lungs.
I was particuarly miffed that I was hospitalised and internet-deprived just when you were having that lovely discussion of tone over on your blog. I would have brushed off my English Teacher Blithering skills and weighed in.
All comments welcome when you're feeling better. I'm going to rework those posts as one coherent entry at some point, so will be good to have some fresh takes on it.

More importantly though, get well soon!
Glad to hear you're on the mend. I can't believe you didn't grab the opportunity to use the provably accurate heading for your post: "I Aint'nt Dead"
Valid point, but I think Ogden Nash is also always relevant. Besides, I feel exactly as though I just escaped from an enormous bear.