A little over a year ago, a blood clot developed in my leg. Being clueless about blood clots and wanting to know exactly what was going on in my body, I dove in and researched the subject.
Reasons Why: My Job Was a Culprit
Although there were several reasons why this could have happened, one of the main causes is standing for long periods of time. I work in Specimen Receiving in the lab at the UVM Medical Center. For most of the day I am on my feet, especially when I am on the STAT bench. I also realized that I was a little heavier than I used to be. OK, who am I kidding? I was packing on the pounds! After reading many reliable articles, I am now a proponent for wearing compression socks, especially when you work at a job similar to mine. I wear them all the time now, and have found some cool ones with funky designs to order online.
I love my job, but I had to find a way to keep it without compromising my health.
Consequently, I made some life changes. I started a healthier diet, increased my exercise, lost weight, wear compression socks, and now take a blood thinner medication. With these new habits, I hope to avoid a reoccurrence of a blood clot. Plus, I feel sensational after making these changes!
DVT Strikes Twice
Now, here’s the incredible part of my story.
This past May, my husband underwent knee surgery. A week after the surgery he complained of pain in his calf. He said it felt like a pulled muscle. He tried to massage it, but it continued to be very painful. From my past experience and newfound knowledge, I suspected a blood clot, but he brushed it off as muscle pain from walking with a limp after his surgery.
I earnestly asked him to go see a doctor, strongly encouraging him to schedule an appointment several times a day for at least a week. I flooded his email box with links to medical websites that explained the signs and symptoms of a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Confession: I admit a little bit of nagging on my part.
Finally, maybe just to get me off his case, he sent a message to his doctor through the MyHealth Online. He quickly got a response and his doctor arranged for him to get an ultrasound. It was apparent to me that my husband was now taking this seriously. As I suspected, the ultrasound confirmed a DVT, and he was sent straight to the ER where they prescribed a blood thinner medication.
Thankfully, he is fine; however, if I hadn’t strongly encouraged him to see a doctor, he could have ended up with a pulmonary embolism. I may have saved his life! My husband likes to joke by telling friends and family that he actually went to the doctor to get earplugs to stop hearing me nag, but “accidentally” wound up in the ER. Despite the teasing, he really does understand the seriousness of a DVT.
It’s important that everyone knows the signs and symptoms of a DVT, because awareness of this condition could save a life. A little persistence is worth it, and potentially saving the love of my life was definitely worth it!
Lisa Mallabar works in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center.