The threat of Blood Clots

The threat of Blood Clots


12 photos

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Earlier this week, we told you about the Governor’s Daughter being treated for a Blood Clot in her leg. As I listened to her relate her story, I was touched on a very personal level because I too suffer from clots.

Several years ago just after I started working for KSL, I went in for emergency surgery. During my recovery, I did something a little stupid – I sat around watching TV. My limited mobility, combined with some other factors combined to form a clot in my right leg.

I came back to work for a couple days, but kept feeling this muscle cramp like pain in my calf. Much like the Governor’s Daughter, I realized something was wrong, but unlike her, I realized I probably had a blood clot. I didn’t think much about a clot, and scheduled an appointment through my doctor to get the leg checked. After the ultra-sound of my leg, the technician began coloring with a red pencil on a picture of a human leg. She left the room, and returned with a phone.

On the other end of that phone call was my doctor. When I answered the phone, the first words out of her mouth were, “Would you like to be admitted there at LDS Hospital, or at Pioneer Valley?” Confused, I ask her “what?” Then she explained that I had a severe clot in a deep vein, also known as a “Deep Vein Thrombosis.” Much like the Governor’s Daughter, that didn’t mean much at the time, but over the next three days as I lay in a hospital bed, I learned just how deadly a DVT can be.

I learned how they can break loose and clog your lungs, or brain, causing respiratory problems, a stroke or in some cases, even death. I had no idea just how close I came to cashing in. After leaving the hospital, I was placed on a blood thinning medicine for a year. During that year, I had to get a blood draw every week to insure my blood wasn’t getting too thin, and I was absolutely prevented from participating in Martial Arts competitions -- all in all, not my best year. Even now, my doctor has me on an aspirin regimen to try and prevent another clot, because once you’ve had one, you’re much more likely to have another.

I’ve chose to tell you about my clot for a reason. I don’t want anyone to have to go through the pain and suffering I did. There are some easy things you can do to prevent clots. One of the easiest is to simply get up and walk around every hour or so. Force the blood in your legs back your heart, so it can’t pool. If you know you’re not going to be able to get up and walk around, buy a pair of pressure socks. They’re some of the most uncomfortable things I have ever put on, but if they keep you out of the hospital, I figure a little discomfort is worth it.

The Governor’s Daughter was asked if there’s anyway to tell the difference between a clot and a muscle strain. Her answer was “Yes, just listen to your body.” I agree, but there’s also a nearly surefire way to tell the difference. If you start having pains in your leg, ask yourself, “Do I remember straining my leg anytime in the last day or two?” If not, get yourself to a doctor immediately. Don’t wait, because if you do, the decision can be fatal.

This is a long entry, but if this message helps just one person avoid a DVT, I’ll feel my time has been more than worth it.

Photos

Don Brinkerhoff

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