Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Long Trip Home

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.


Robin said...

Oh, I'm so glad you're doing better!
That was SO scary! I can't tell you how often I feel pain that can't be explained, and you get to the point where you dismiss them all.
I'm so glad that you didn't listen, and that you actually went into the hospital. Just think if you hadn't! And I'm sure your mil can take lots of the credit for that decision.
Take it easy now, and don't push yourself to get back into your normal routine. Remember, less is best; especially in this case.
{{{hugs}}}} ( said...

My goodness, how very scary! I'm so thankful you are okay...praise God! I'm sure Alexandra was so frightened and worried.
Dee (

Rhonda said...

Oh Dana, thank God you went to the hospital when you did. How terrifying that must have been for you and your family. I am so happy to hear that you are at home and resting now. Please take care of yourself. Big HUGZ to you my friend.

Melissa Telling said...

Praise God for His goodness! I'm so glad you are doing OK. Sounds like you had an unforgetable trip.

Rhonda said...

Hi hon, I stopped in to answer some of your questions. I use google video and have no problems uploading videos to their server. It may take a little while to go "live" with it, but it always works for me and has given me no problem at all. Just open up a Google account and it is easy enough to figure out what you want to do, upload video, start a blog, etc...

As far as the baby dove goes. He made it and is doing wonderful! We turned him loose the other day and he flew into the same tree that we saw him fall from. Sometimes we think that we see him every now and then, but we are not sure because we have so many doves in our backyard. It was wonderful to see him fly though. Sad, but wonderful!

Melissal89 said...

So sorry this all happened to you! But, yes, praise God for His awesome goodness that you are ok! You are the second person that I have known who has had blood clots that they say were probably from taking oral contraceptives. My other also friend drove a longer than normal distance to work everyday.

So happy you are doing better and praying that you do well with the rest of the meds. Take care of yourself.


Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...


Thank you so much for sharing this. My husband, who is a paramedic, did not know about the effects of oral contraceptives. He says he will file that away in his memory in case he ever comes across a woman with chest pains...he will know to ask the right questions. :)

I am so glad that you are getting better, I love your blog and your adventures.

Sighs of relief,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

keri said...

Blood clots...
How very scary!
Hope that you stay healthy.

Kathy said...

Oh my!! How very shocking for you and your precious family! So glad to hear things are under control.

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