The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Friday, September 10, 2010

Living in Clot City

I've wrestled a bit with posting this, but finally decided to since I've always used writing as a way of dealing with and actually coming to understand what I believe or feel about whatever is weighing on my mind.

First the bad news: I had some pain in my leg, upper thigh, week before last and thought it was a muscle sprain or tear. Over that weekend it continued to hurt a bit (but nothing excessive). On Monday I felt a little less pain but still decided to see the doctor at the clinic near our house. He immediately sent me for an ultra sound. Turns out I had two clots. A superficial one about half way down the thigh and another, a deep vein one (DVT), in the groin area. The groin clot was the large one and the most dangerous even though the pain from it had barely registered on me. Guess I'll be living in Clot City for a while; that's the bad news.

The good news is that I apparently caught it in time before it broke loose and went to my lungs, heart, or brain. My regular doctor prescribed the blood thinner coumadin in pill form and a series of ten shots of Heparin that would take me to the point where there is enough coumadin in my system to do the job. In addition to reminding me of my evening coumadin pill, Joyce gave me 5 of the shots in my stomach over the next two days. I went back to the doctor last Thursday to check the coumadin level and it was already within the desired range, so we stopped the shots. That's another good thing!

Maintaining the desired coumadin level for the next 6 months to a year will prevent further clotting and allow the deep clot to begin to dissolve (actually only part of it dissolves, the rest, as I understand it, attaches to the vein wall and is covered over by a new layer of skin, or whatever they call the insides of your veins). During this time I'm supposed to keep my feet up when I sitting and never cross my legs (I'm finding this part pretty hard to do). I'll be visiting the doctor on a regular basis for a while to ensure that the coumadin level remains stable. And at some point a few months from now I'll probably have another ultra sound to determine if the clot has been taken care of by my body.

I know this isn't a trivial event and it did get me down when I got the news. But I'm feeling okay now, mentally and physically, taking it easy as per doctor's orders. No heavy lifting, elevating my legs when sitting, etc. I'm also getting up from the computer or tv frequently to make sure there's little chance any more clots will form. My neighbor Ronnie had a clot about three years ago and it did get to his lung. But he was lucky and they were able to treat it in a fashion similar to mine. He was hospitalized for a time however, since it got to his lungs. He's fine now and does more yard work in a day than I could ever do in a week.
BTW, some of the causes are sitting still too long in a car or on a plane or at a computer, standing too long, etc. Any kind of prolonged inactivity that doesn't allow the muscles in your legs to move the blood back to your heart is a risk. Hospital stays, surgeries, etc. can also lead to clots. Take my advice, stop the car, get out and walk around some as you travel. I suspect my two long recent car trips plus some other factors may have contributed to my problem. If you're traveling by air, get up and walk up the aisle and back from time to time. If you're not traveling, get your butt up from the computer or tv and move around frequently.


  1. I'm glad you went to the doctor to get that checked out, Dan. A lot of us wouldn't have done that... I'm also glad things are back on track. Take care!!

  2. Keep on truckin'... er... a... walkin' we need you at the PC keyboard. I'm at the Eureka, MT public library killing time waiting for Sara while she's being interviewed for a sub. teaching position. I'll let her know about your good/bad news on the drive home. Electronic and medical technology is a good thing. It keeps us up-to-the-minute informed and healthy.
    I think I'll take a hike when I get home.

  3. Buck, I almost didn't go. When I got up that Monday things seemed better. Why I went ahead, I'm not sure. But I'm glad I did.

    George, I'm going to start a walk routine as soon as the doctor clears me to do so. Say hi to Sara and enjoy your hike.

  4. I'm sorry to hear this, Dan. A friend of mine has been too sick to work for nearly a year because she got a clot after a trip to Egypt last year. It went to her lungs.

    I'm a firm believer in herbal remedies but the most effective herb, bromelain, should not be taken with Coumadin. However garlic and cinnamon are safe and also reduce the formation of clots.

  5. Dan, I'm late getting around to this. I've been as busy as a one armed paperhanger, and set Sunday morning aside to catch up with my friends.

    Man, I'm glad you did see to it. Those things are nothing to mess around with. In my regular business, I never sit for very long, but in my new job I must sit for extended periods. I know my boss thinks it odd that I stand up and meander a brief moment, but I do it for just that reason. I have seen many folks develop clots from sitting too long.

    Glad you're on the mend, my friend. Seriously.

    I have mixed feelings about the Koran burning deal. But, none whatsoever about burning the paper. I haven't subscribed to one in 15 years, and I doubt I ever will.

    You be a good boy, and do what Nurse Joyce says, now...y'hear?

  6. Joubert, thanks for the kind words and the advice on herbs. At present I feel weaker than normal and a bit fuzzy in the head; I suspect it may be the coumadin. Since this happened I've read some about it, the side effects, etc. I know you were a pharmacist for some time and I wonder what your opinion of the drug is. BTW, I was already taking a small asprin and fish oil regularly before this and I'll definitely ask my doctor about adding the garlic and cinnamon.

  7. Andy, the thing is my wife and I were both aware of the dangers of extended sitting, especially on trips and always took precautions in the car. With the car on cruise control we'd usually jiggle our legs for up to five minutes at a time every hour or so. I was, however, unable to do this on our trip to the mountains because of the curvy roads. And the day after we returned I was tired and sat at the computer too long without getting up. I suspect it started right there.

    As for minding Nurse Joyce, you betcha! And thanks for your kind words.

  8. Dan, unfortunately Coumadin has some awful side-effects including dizziness, fainting, fever, numbness or tingling. But watch for any severe rashes or shortness of breath as those can be signs of an allergic reaction. Of course you cannot take aspirin at the same time.

  9. Yeah, listen to ol' Joubert. He knows his pharmaceutical junk. Trust me. I mean, trust him...don't trust me.

    I mean...well, I'm not sure what I mean. Just do what he says.

  10. Joubert, thanks again for the advice on coumadin. I have felt some itching but no serious rashes. Yet. I will definitely be on guard for all those possible effects you noted.

  11. Andy, thanks again for your concern. I really appreciate it.

    I expected you to razz me some about LSU crushing Vandy. Where's the old Begal Tiger machismo? And is it true that you guys are changing your mascot to a crawfish?

  12. Well Dan, I don't have a lot of smartass working for me right now.

    We're just not that good. I mean, sure we lucked out against NC, and beat Vandy...but it's just Vandy after all. I mean, even as a Commode fan you know what I'm saying'.

    We're not strong this season. And honestly, I'm not all that revved up about football in general this year. Got so much on my mind (and on my plate) that it's really way out there on the fringe for me.

    Odd time, my friend. But, if you like, I'll razz ya'. But please, please, pretty please with sugar on top...please beat the Klan next week. I do not think there is a team in all of college football (save USC) that I despise as much as the Rebs.