Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Well, they know why I'm short of breath.

Just a quick recap, on Thursday, I mentioned that the physiotherapist explained to me my shortness of breath was caused due to my infection in the upper lobes of my lungs. I was off oxygen at rest on Friday which felt awesome. On Sat, I walked to the St. Lawerence Market and my lungs had a bit of a panic. I'm sure it was the cold, wind, and unexpected exertion. My oxygen sats dropped, my heart rate spiked despite the fact that I was walking as slow as a turtle and taking a ton of breaks. I ended up being on oxygen at 1-2L at rest when I returned to the hospital for the rest of the day as my lungs never seemed to recover.

On Sunday, Mom and I went off to the drop-in pottery class but this time cabbed it to try and give my lungs a break. I barely walked at all and felt as though I was walking very snail-like but kept getting super short of breath. It was beyond frustrating. Afterward, the doctor said that her explanation of why I was still short of breath despite my high lung function was because I had serious inflammation. Her theory was that I had a build up of stale air in my lungs due to my not exhaling completely. She was thinking of starting me on a anti-inflammatory today.
The doctors switched rotation today so I have a new attending doctor for this week. I kind of assumed he would have his own theories as to why the shortness of breath continued. While the doctors all work together, they all seem to have their own way of treating and testing things.

So I wasn't super surprised when in the morning, I was whisked off for a ECG with no real explanation as to why. And then in the afternoon, I was whisked off again for a CT scan. It was the gross one where they injected me with the radioactive dye that makes me think I'm peeing for about 5 seconds. It's not a pleasent time and is as random as it sounds. 

The new doctor showed up around 5 to tell me the good and bad news. The good news is that they now know for sure why I'm short of breath. The bad news is that it's a blood clot.

Yup, that's right. I have a pulmonary embolism (aka blood clot in the lung). Gah!!!  

To try to answer all your questions:

1) No, they don't know where it came from/how it happened, the doctor has a few theories but no solid answers. They did a leg ultrasound this evening and will do an arm one tomorrow which should inform them more.

2) No, they can't do anything about the actual clot. All they can do is start blood thinners to prevent any new ones and hope the clot dissolves quickly (within a few weeks).

3) No, this will not affect my transplant listing. If anything, it will probably make me higher priority. They can reverse the effects of the blood thinners if I get the call.

4) They started me on blood thinners tonight. They gave me the 'loading dose' (a giant dose) and then will be running it slowly during the night. They'll be closely monitoring the levels with blood checks every 4 hours (I don't expect to get much sleep) and adjusting as necessary.

5) They've stopped the IV antibiotics as of now. However, since I had a fever today, hey may give me a few more doses. Although now that my temperature is declining, they might not. I'm still waiting for the resident on call to show up and make a decision. He was suppose to be here three hours ago...the nurses are not pleased.

6) Finally, yes, I'm kind of freaking out. This is way more serious/terrifying than an infection or inflammation. However, I've calmed down slightly now that they seem to have a solid action plan.

I'll keep updating as I know more. The information seems to be changing or updating rather frequently. Seeing as I found out 6 hours ago and am now on blood thinners, this has been a lot to absorb in one evening. 


Sue said...

Oh Allie...don't blame you for feeling a bit "freaked out". hugs but I am glad they discovered what it is and are doing what needs to be done. thinking of you and Isaiah as you face this new challenge!

Mark said...

Wow, terrible news.. but if it's there anyway, at least it's better now that they know about it so that they can actually work towards improving things. Carina and I will be thinking about you!

Bonnie (Pitman) Werner said...

Our prayers and positive thoughts are with you Allie .

Glad you are in one of the best hospitals in the country ,and it sounds like they are on top of this now that they have discovered it.

Love to you and Isaiah,

Bonnie,Rick and family xxxoo

Helen said...

I had one of those and it made me super short of breath too....I know exactly what you felt, I remember too how excited the staff got at the hospital! Glad you are in good hands. Thinking of you lots and praying for perfect lungs real soon!

Dave VanSlyke said...

Doctors are essentially mechanics and they have their own experiences, personalities, biases and training so their approach to a problem will be quite varied from one to the other (there are often no absolutes in health care).

We're thinking of you and Isaiah and wishing you all the best as you scale this latest hurdle.