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Jul 17

Phlebitis


Milk Drop 5989, originally uploaded by Buck Cash.

It’s been a long time since I posted anything medical here, but last weekend my right arm got sore around the elbow for no apparent reason. There was no evidence of a bug bite of any kind, and I hadn’t injured it in any way. Over the next couple of days, it swelled up and got more painful, until it reminded me of the DVT (deep vein thrombosis – aka: Blood Clot) I’d gotten in my left leg several years ago. That was enough to send me to the doctor to get it checked out.

My DVT put me in a wheelchair and I had to give myself injections of Lovenox a couple/few times a day in the leg (which now has no feeling in that area at all – go ahead and stick me there – can’t feel a thing). In addition, I was eating pain meds for it like candy, and drooling a lot. Eventually, the clot dissolved from the injections, I weaned off the pain meds, and started physical therapy to learn how to balance and walk again. My wheelchair’s been parked since. I wasn’t looking forward to any such experience from this pain in my arm, and the costs in my mind without insurance just made me wince in more pain.

Since I have no insurance, I checked into the emergency room at a nearby hospital bright and early Monday morning. They got me right in and started checking things out, and I was actually quite impressed with their efficiency. I didn’t have to fill out 3 acres of forms – in fact, I didn’t have to fill out a single one. A hospital worker with a laptop on a cart came by, asked the relevant questions, gave me a card with info and said when the bill comes to call the number and they’ll set up payments with me. It hasn’t come yet, so I don’t know how many millions of dollars it will be this time.

White blood count normal, so not fighting an infection – check. No bug bites – check. Though I’m not allergic to anything I know of, I got an overall allergy med, and nothing changed – check. Then an ultrasound from my neck to my wrist – revealed some inflammation in the veins – phlebitis.

Doc said it’s not really a big deal, and to treat it with a heating pad and a baby aspirin a day till it goes away. If that doesn’t help and it gets worse instead, come back and see him.

That was on Monday. Now it’s Friday and it seems to be working pretty well. The swelling has gone down considerably, and the pain is going away. So, it’s all good news from where I’m sitting.

Though I haven’t seen the bill yet, I know it’ll be a lot cheaper than I thought it was going to be if it had actually been a DVT. In fact, I’d say it’ll be a drop in the bucket (photo at the top of this post is actually a milk drop I shot. Click it to see it and others in detail on my Flickr page).

;>)