Pulmonary embolism

To recap, I was officially diagnosed with cancer in June 2015, started radiation treatment and was relatively well when in July I suddenly developed a fever. I arrived at the Emergency centre on Friday 24 July where I was admitted and sent for blood tests. On Monday 3 August I had another severe heart palpitation attack and was moved to ICU. On Wednesday 5 August I finally got an MRI scan after Medical Aid approval.  I was appointed a physician because I had pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism. Lung cancer patients are susceptible to both. I was finally discharged on Monday 17 August. By that time the hospital felt like home and I was so comfy in my room!  I remember my mum being all embarrassed because I literally left with luggage loaded on a trolley, I had accumulated so many things in hospital. I’m one of those creature comfort people, I need everything at the tip of my fingers!  And of course I couldn’t sleep because of the cortisone so I just spent nights sorting out my healthcare accounts that were mounting and working on my laptop.

Looking back, it really was an awful period because firstly, lying in bed is no exercise and muscles weaken almost right away.  Then you have the slave driver physiotherapists, all for a good cause but jeez, they don’t even give you a chance to swallow your breakfast. Exercise, exercise and more exercise!  I think we did it 2-3 times a day. Use your lungs, breathe! Walk!  Oh boy I couldn’t even walk.  I remember lying in my room setting “small step” targets. My first and main target was just to walk to my own loo and do it without assistance!

It was because of the embolism that I left hospital connected to an oxygen tank.  I also got a script for a blood thinner (Warfarin), to prevent further embolisms. I go for two weekly blood tests at Pathcare to monitor my INR level.

I spent hours on this oxygen machine.

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And the worse was the oedema (water retention).  My legs were like stumps.  I couldn’t bend or get to my feet at all!  When I left hospital, Bianca had to come and help me bath every day. I wasn’t sure if that was the start of a new life I had to get used to or what.

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My arms were completely buggered from all the blood tests and drips.  Ahhh… so painful. Sometimes they had to try over and over for a vein.  Oh dear and if those needles get blocked and they have to push fluid through to open them up…. No, childbirth, anytime!

Below was my last day in hospital, getting ready to leave after my ordeal and I was sooo impressed that I could finally find my toes, that I painted them and posted them to all friends and family!