Yeah! I'm home. It's been a long trip getting here...
Last Friday, we left St. Louis and headed for Oklahoma where we were going to stay the weekend with some family. We stopped at Meramac Caverns and then went a little futher down the road. We stopped and got gas and a snack and then were driving down the highway, when I started feeling a pain in my chest.
Within about 15 seconds, it was a horrible pain. I felt like I was getting stabbed over and over on the left side of my chest. And, when I didn't feel the stab, it felt like there was a knife sticking in my chest that I was having to breathe around.
I pulled off the highway and had trouble getting the car in park. I was crying and screaming out in pain every few seconds. My mother-in-law was trying to get me to climb over to the passenger's seat, but I drive a SUV and there is a big console to get over. I finally made it and we set off again.
I saw that in 3 miles there was a hotel. I really just wanted to go and lie down, even though we were only 2 hours from our destination. It was about 9 pm at night.
My mother-in-law (mil) kept asking if I need to go to the emergency room and I just didn't know. I thought I'd probably pulled a muscle earlier at a museum where I was doing pullups - something I haven't done in years. My mil went to McDonald's and asked where the nearest hospital was and we headed that way.
When we were a few minutes away from the hospital, the pain got worse and I felt like my chest was on fire.
My mil got a wheelchair and wheeled me into ER where I could barely answer the few questions they asked and it took me several minutes (at least it seemed it did) to sign my name. Then, they wheeled me back and got me hooked up to various monitors and got to work.
They did a chest X-ray, CT scan, some kind of heart monitor, measured my oxygen, and just ran a lot of tests. A few minutes after I was lying down, I felt pretty much OK and then I just knew there was nothing wrong with me but a pulled muscle, especially when the doctor told me they'd found no heart problems but they'd run a few more tests and would like to keep me overnight so they could do a treadmill test in the morning.
I had my mil and Alexandra come back to sit with me then. What a shock when the doctor came back in a little while and said he'd found blood clots in both lungs. I just couldn't believe it and hated the my mil had to call my husband, who'd just gotten home from Canada, and the rest of my family.
I finally talked my mil and Alexandra into heading out to find a hotel at 1:30 am. They got me in a room at about 2 am. That first night, I slept a total of 20 minutes. Thankfully, the nurse "fought" for me and got me in a private room the next morning. What a blessing that private room was - without it I would have only been able to have 1 or 2 visitors at a time and my husband couldn't have stayed with me. Also, it was MUCH quieter. My family arrived that next day.
I was at the hospital for 7 days/6 nights. Alexandra went home with my mil and stayed the week with her grandparents & great grandparents. Besides the blood clots, the doctors also found that I was pretty anemic.
I slept a lot after that first night. And, I kept getting sick from pain meds until I didn't need them any more. I really didn't do much except watch some TV, when it didn't make me dizzy, and sleep a lot and just talk with my husband.
I'm praising God that we were in a pretty good hospital. We had a lung specialist who was great, very caring wonderful nurses & nurse techs, but we didn't care for the regular doctor. God was good to let me get off the road OK and to be so near a hospital.
I do want to let you all know that my doctors said my highest two risk factors were the fact that I took oral contraceptives and that I was on a long trip. If you drive a long way, make sure you get out and walk often and drink plenty of water. I always drink a lot, but this time we'd actually started the trip without any water.
I will be on blood thinners for 3-6 months during which time I'll have to be careful not to get hurt. And, from now on, this will have to be on my mind as I travel. I'll just have to be extra careful.
If you ever have chest pains while driving, please go to the ER! I've read on 2 different sites - one says that 30% of people with this condition die within hours if not treated immediately and Mayo Clinic says 1 in 10 people die within the first hour. I thank God that He was in control and He had this situation in His hands.
Thank you for your prayers. I'm giving God the glory for taking care of me during this time. And, I really appreciated all my family did for me and all of the people who prayed for me.