While I adore Hawaii it might be that Hawaii is not good for me. Turns out that – as suspected – I have a large pulmonary embolism caused by the flight and some medication I was taking which can cause these embolisms in some circumstances. They call it a saddle embolism and from my googling this is not awesome.
When they see what you have on the scans like that, they do not make you wait a couple of days for the results. They saw it right away and so once the scan was done they asked me to wait in the waiting room.
Within 20 minutes of the scan being complete the doctor who read the results had been on the phone to my local doctor, and then was on the phone to me, telling me that I needed to head straight for an unplanned trip to the local hospital, do not fly via Hawaii, no shopping, no bargains on the way. 😦
Symptoms I had experienced were tightness and burning in the chest, shortness of breath, and feeling like my heart was racing or trying to escape my chest. It felt a bit like little asthma attacks 15-20 times a day. I was pretty certain before the scan that this would be the result, nothing else made much sense.
I was taking Aspirin while we were away – I got a huge bottle from Costco cos the tablets were pink and the price was great. I don’t usually take it regularly so lucky I was taking it – this could have been much worse. I will now have to take blood thinners for 6 months.
They kept me in overnight which I hated, and they wanted to keep me longer but I said no thanks, I have a partner at home who is much more obsessive about my health than anyone here will ever be, plus he has all the gadgets you have here at the hospital, and you have ZERO cats here, which means nothing is sleeping on me and purring which means my recovery will be much delayed.
The blood oxygen & portable EKG machine my nutty other half bought.
So, they sent me home with some charts that the other half can keep all his observations on, and I spent a good hour cleaning all the glue from those sticky things they stick on you with eucalyptus and orange oil, and then the longest shower ever. Ick. I am a germophobe, so not a big fan of hospitals at all.
In speaking with the doctors I know now exactly when it happened – probably 3-4 hours into the flight, one of my legs went to sleep and when I got up to try and wake it up, there was this pain in the back of my thigh. I asked the other half to punch and massage that spot a little – and he did. This may have been an excellent thing breaking up the clot into smaller pieces.
After that I found it hard to get comfortable and I ended up sitting on my travel pillow. I did get up a few times and go into the galley area and do some leg exercises and stretches however that spot was still sore and I kept sitting on my travel pillow thinking it was a muscle cramp and trying to stretch it out but not being very successful. Now I understand why!
I knew something was not right as early as Friday last week but just thought I might be getting a flu and ignored it, I pushed through, kept going to work and struggling against it. Stupid, yes. I will admit that.
If you know something is wrong, you know and I did know something wasn’t right. It was weird even the smallest exertion and I couldn’t get my breath.
So my new advice for anyone travelling
When you visit to get your scripts before you leave, speak with your doctor about –
– whether you are at risk of forming these clots before you travel
– whether any of your medications could increase your risk factors
– whether you should be taking aspirin before flying
– whether you should wear compression socks
Whether or not you are at risk, you should keep hydrated while in flight – a lot of us ladies flying think it is a big hassle to go to the airplane bathroom so we cut back on the fluids. This is not a good idea.
Usually in flight I have a water bottle which I brought on the plane – this time I did not thanks to the TSA not allowing them through the checkpoints and I did not pick one up before getting on the plane – my bad – so I had to rely on getting water from the flight attendants which is a bit more difficult than it sounds. I probably drank half the amount of water I normally would over the space of 10 hours.
You can take an empty bottle through the security checkpoints so I highly recommend you do that, and then take it into the galley while in flight and they will fill it up for you – they did this for me on the way over.
Also you might want to google leg exercises while in flight – here is a decent one I found.