We went back to Selmer over the weekend, and we're going to move into a different house than we lived in last year. Friends set up a bed for us, and when I got a stiff neck on Saturday, I assumed it was from sleeping wrong on the new mattress.
I know something about treating sore muscles, so I massaged the specific sore muscle and did some acupressure. The next day (Sunday, the day of the wedding), it was even more sore. I was frustrated that my treatments weren't working, but I figured if I gave it a couple days, it would be fine.
Yesterday we drove back to Nashville for appointments today. By late afternoon, as we were on the road, my neck was getting sore enough that I was starting to wonder if the tube of the Hickman Catheter had moved and was pressuring the base of the muscle or something.
|You may be able to see the tube running under my skin from the bandage up over the collarbone.|
When I got up this morning, my neck was killing me. It was terribly painful, and it was swollen, too. I decided to go in early to my photopheresis appointment and drop in on the stem cell clinic and the nurse practitioner, Kelly. She had said to feel free to call, so this was my "phone call."
She looked at my neck and said, "Is that swollen?"
"Sure is," I said.
"So you know what that makes me think of?" she asked.
I didn't, and I told her so.
"Blood clot. I want to order an ultrasound."
They had to really push radiology to get an appointment today. The only appointment that radiology could give me was right in the middle of my photopheresis appointment. They rescheduled photopheresis for next Monday.
Apparently, this was pretty important.
I'm starting to figure out that blood clots are a big deal. I'm not sure how big a deal this one in my neck is, but Kelly did tell me it's a good thing I dropped in on her today.
I had pretty bad hemorrhoid issues (better now) the few days before the wedding, so I did a lot of laying around and even skipped the family dinner so that I could be sure I'd be able to sit and stand through the entire wedding on Sunday morning. It's possible that laying around for most of three days contributed to a clot forming.
Anyway, I got prescribed 14 days of twice a day shots with a blood thinner called Lovenox.
They administered one before I left today. I got a bunch of insulin shots when I was being fed intravenously in the hospital in February, so I'm somewhat used to the idea of taking shots in my belly. The insertion of the needle was almost painless. However, about halfway through the injection of the Lovenox, it started burning. It burned uncomfortably for 5 to 10 minutes.
You'd think that after all I'd been through that would be no big deal.
Nope. I'll be nervous as can be when my wife jabs me tomorrow morning.
Maybe I can ask the psychologist about it. I have an appointment tomorrow morning with someone whose name I didn't recognize. I knew I'd asked about it once about 3 weeks ago, but I'd forgotten what it was for. As it turns out, it's the psychologist. All transplant patients get a psychological exam, mainly to check for depression (I think), before we get moved to long term care.
Right after that, they're going to pull my Hickman Catheter. It probably contributed to the clot. Kelly wanted to get it done today, but radiology couldn't get me in for that.
The photopheresis nurses showed up shortly after the decision was made to pull the catheter. It allows the nurses and doctors access to my bloodstream without sticking a needle in me. The photopheresis nurses, if they were going to have to stick me with a big needle, wanted to see my forearms, specifically the veins in my forearms.
They were happy. They picked a vein in each arm, and they told me not to share them with other departments. "Make them use the veins in the back of your hands if they want to draw blood. Those look great," they said.
So it's psychology and the catheter removal tomorrow. (Yay! Showers without Press-N-Seal!) Then it's the long-term doctor and nurse practitioner on Thursday, which hopefully will result in my being able to drive again. Then Friday and Monday I'll have photopheresis treatments, which will probably be the last ones, but we don't know that yet. The final decision lies with Dr. Savani, my long term doctor, on Thursday.
That's the news. Great day to all of you!