Friday, November 27, 2009

The Thing I Fear Most

I remember being in Argentina and The Spouse ended up in Miami for a project that was supposed to close but didn't for weeks.

It dragged on and on with me down there and him in Florida.

During all of this he called me one evening to say he was alone in the office and, oh, by the way, "I'm having chest pains."

I believe my response was, "Why the hell are you talking to ME?! Call Reception before the lady who vacuums finds you on the FLOOR UNDER YOUR DESK!"

Frankly, I was relieved he was in Florida, not so much for the healthcare delivery but because my big fear has always been that something would happen to him and I would have no one to deal with the children.

How do you even get someone to an Argentine hospital in the middle of the night when the kids and all your friends are sleeping?

Thankfully, I never had to find out. And the diagnosis that time was muscle spasms probably due to job stress.

In the last week we've had a similar situation.

Patient presented with what was at first hard-to-define chest pain (I thought it was a rotator cuff injury initially), no fever, trouble inhaling at times, and occasionally coughed up blood.


Wednesday he finally went to the French place across the street where a VERY concerned GP sent him to a Big Russian Hospital out by Izmaylovsky for a chest scan.

Which ruled out lung cancer, but did confirm pleurisy and identified something in his lung right where the pain was.

He came home with pain killers and antibiotics and instructions to check in Thursday (yesterday) for word on all the blood work they did.

Seems all those symptoms are the classic, textbook definition of pulmonary thrombosis, otherwise known as blood clots in the lungs.

So The Spouse was instructed to

  1. Leave work immediately and
  2. Get over to the hospital. That very evening. Please.

So here is what I have learned so far:

  1. I have lots of friends who are willing and able to help out. Kids slept over with one family, and we even got a ride to the hospital (although it is very close, and I walked home).
  2. Blood clots can land in the lungs, the heart, or the brain. Seems we won that spin of the roulette wheel.
  3. Yes, it can be a fatal thing, but it is very treatable with blood thinners. That just requires a few days in the hospital usually at first because blood thinners are, essentially, rat poison, and monitoring is encouraged. But after that the patient can typically go home and take a prescription.
  4. The smell of freshly cut hay? That's produced by a natural anticoagulant.
  5. EMC has a LOVELY new facility near the Olympic Stadium.
  6. We're not sure what caused this (the broken ankle in 2001 is a possibility, as is job stress).

I went with him to the hospital last night where he was examined again, had a hep lock installed, and was assigned a room (on the website you can see the funny, pointy-end of the building that is all glass . . . that's what he has). They gave him some drugs (I'm guessing IV heparin, an oral warfarin/coumarin-type drug, and a sleeping pill), and I left at midnight as he started to doze off. I should be allowed back after 10:00 this monring. I want to run by his office and pick up some toys (MP3 player, etc) and hope I can hang out with him until school is over at 4:30. Not sure if kids can visit.

At the moment we think he'll have to stay until Sunday, but it all depends on how he responds to the drugs.


TRex said...

Hope everything works out well.

Bethany said...

Wow, that's terrifying. I hope all goes well and life gets back to normal soon.

Jen said...

So pleased you have good people around you right now. Trying to send good thoughts your way. Hang in there :)

jkatze said...

Thank God you raised the alarm in time and speedy recovery to your Spouse!

Tina in CT said...

Thankfully it was found in time and he is getting good treatment/care. I'm sure it put a scare in you.

Tami said...

Thinking of you this morning. Hope everything is going smoothly and that hubby will be home soon!

Susan said...

Having worked in the medical field for the past 35 years, Ive always feared the worst, for both myself and my kids. Blood clots are right up there with worrisome events!
Prayers for you and your husband:)

Anonymous said...

good luck to you! I have nothing constructive to say. I just wish you the best of luck. I hope you have a good doctor.

Aunt Becky said...

Holy shit. Sending my prayers.