Blood Clot!

March 14, 2013

blog_judy_coolsMoonlighting

A blog by Judy Cools

Alrighty, boys and girls – today we’re going to talk about blood clots. They can be mysterious, and they can be life-threatening. They can masquerade as something simple. A few basic facts and stories…..

First, let me say that I have absolutely no medical authority to discuss this or to give advice, so please do your own checking and consult qualified professionals if you suspect a blood clot. Second, this is the voice of concerned experience and there just might be something of value here.

Blood clots happen for any number of reasons. Injury, secondary side effects from chemotherapy or radiation, lack of circulation, chemical imbalances in the blood – or for no clear reason at all. Many times they are in an arm or a leg. Pieces of the clot can break off and travel through the blood system and cause all kinds of havoc like a pulmonary embolism, stroke, or – yes – death. So don’t mess around if you even suspect a blood clot.

Don’t make assumptions about age. A blood clot can happen to anyone, any age. Some of the symptoms of a clot are sudden pain in an area, particularly in a leg, and especially if it’s intense pain. It could be unusually itchy, or it may feel like a badly pulled muscle. Swelling is also an indication of a blood clot. The ones I’ve seen have swollen the limb to extremes, where the skin was stretched tight. Not all are that dramatic. The area can also get hot, and feel almost like a sunburn to the touch. Skin can turn red with heat, or blue/gray with lack of circulation.

Think back – does the affected person take medications where blood clots can be a side effect? Was there an injury to that part of the body? Did they do a lot of sitting, or driving recently? Have they had cancer therapy? Do they have a history of blood clots or stroke, or does that history run in their family?

Any “yes” answers simply underscore the need to seek immediate medical help.

All of that being said, no it wasn’t my blood clot that created the insanity of my last few weeks. A loved one had the experience. Now the immediate crisis is averted, after a week in the hospital. The road to recovery is about a year long, with blood thinners and my overly protective concern about bleeding injuries during that year to come. Weekly blood tests and ongoing dietary adjustments due to the blood thinners, and the long list of details goes on. All of that, though, is so very welcome as an alternative to funeral arrangements and the hole that would be left in life if things had gone differently. Please – don’t mess around with something that might be a blood clot.

© 2013, J. Cools

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