A Travellerspoint blog


Pain in the leg a precursor

View The Rhine for the 2nd time -2022 & 2022 Cruising to Hawaii in a Pandemic on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

I got home and resumed physical therapy and aerobics classes in the pool. I didn't think much about the leg pain I had on the cruise.

In mid April, I began to have breathing difficulties and when I walked my blood oxygen went down to 88% It got so that I couldn't do any exercises except in the pool or lying down and even then, afterward I was exhausted. I canceled the Physical Therapy.

I went to my pulmonologist (lung doctor) but he thought it was just a pollen allergy. He gave me steroids, antibiotics, two inhalers and two things to squirt up my nose, and had me do a CT scan without contrast. He said the CT scan showed no problem.

Finally on Tuesday, May 10th when I was out of breath just sitting on the toilet, I told Bob to call 911. I wasn't sure if I could even get downstairs, but I managed. The ambulance came and took me to the ER. I felt a lot better when they put me on oxygen.
In the ER

In the ER

They did a CT scan with contrast and told me that I had blood clots on both sides of my lungs and that the right side of my heart had gotten enlarged from working so hard to get oxygen.


I gave my engagement ring to Bob and they put me in a helicopter and flew me up to DC. (No photos of the flight as I couldn't reach my cell phone)
My view in the Washington Hospital ER

My view in the Washington Hospital ER

I sat in the ER for a couple of hours while they were waiting to get a room for me. I heard people coming in with gunshot wounds or stabbings (This was Washington D.C. after all) and then one of them would die and a detective would inventory their clothes and possessions.

I went up to the ICU and they took my wallet and put it in an envelope and I signed that they had taken it. I had $13 cash, a couple of credit cards and car keys. The next morning on the way in to the operation they also took my wedding ring. I hadn't thought to take it off because it is a a very thin gold band and I didn't think it was that valuable.

I had the operation - they just put a catheter up through my groin - and they got 20 blood clots out. I asked if they could have come from the trip and they said they didn't come with dates on them. They asked me if I want to see them, and I said yes, but I don't have a photo.

They took me to post-op and then up to a room. My daughter came to the hospital (she lives reasonably near) and was with me to organize the room. My roommate was a lady who had had her leg amputated -- she had diabetes and was on dialysis. They had me on heparin (blood thinner) and I pretty much slept for two days. I just put HGTV on the TV with the sound almost off and just slept.
TV and bulletin board at the bottom of my bed

TV and bulletin board at the bottom of my bed

Lunch - all I hate was the sweet potato and a little cauliflower and of course the chocolate pudding

Lunch - all I hate was the sweet potato and a little cauliflower and of course the chocolate pudding

They had and echogram done of my heart and also of my legs. I had a blood clot behind my left knee. They did have a physical therapist and an occupational therapist come. They took the one stitch out that they put in. They faxed the new prescriptions down to NAS Patuxent and i activated the prescriptions.

Bob came to get me on Friday. I got my wallet back, but they couldn't find my ring. Eventually we left without it. Bob drove directly to the NAS pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions. And we got there on time even on Friday with DC traffic
It was raining on the way home

It was raining on the way home

They think that the plane rides to get to the cruise were the inciting incident in the blood clots. I've never had any trouble before. Since then I've seen a cardiologist (he said my heart was fine), a pulmonologist (to try to get rid of my chronic cough - a different one than the one that thought it was just a pollen allergy) and a hematologist (I'm a littl anemic). I've resumed arthritis classes in the pool but I've gone back to using the scooter instead of walking in like I was doing before the trip.

I was to go to the wedding of my great niece in September with my sister. But my sister has said that she is too afraid to travel with me now and won't go with me. The doctors all say that I should be OK to travel on blood thinner and maybe with compression socks, but that doesn't convince her. So it looks like my next trip is a Rhine river cruise in November.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 01:52 Archived in USA Tagged helicopter

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Very lucky that you called 911 and got to the bottom of the cause of your breathing difficulties. Hope you are getting better now. Take lots of rest.

by irenevt

yes i'm lucky - thanks

by greatgrandmaR

I've not been on TP much and had missed all the details of your trip and later illness. I'm glad you got help when you needed it and they found the cause of the problems you were having, and were able to operate so promptly. A shame about your wedding ring however.

by ToonSarah

It wasn't all that interesting as a trip except for all the hoops one had to jump through because of Covid. The blood clots wasn't something I wanted to put on FB as a general post and it obviously couldn't go on One Small Thing. :)

I'm really annoyed about my wedding ring. I should have said I couldn't get it off. I offered a reward for finding it without any result.

by greatgrandmaR

Glad that you are better now and they found the reason for your breathing difficulties!
I hope that someone will find your ring so you could get it back!

by hennaonthetrek

No one found the ring, or admitted to finding it. So I had another one made. It wasn't very expensive and insurance paid for some of it.

by greatgrandmaR

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