Friday, March 19, 2010


Those who follow me on Facebook or Plurk will know by now that I was recently diagnosed with a DVT. The full story is as follows:

Back in the second week of January we were at a conference. After an enjoyable night including dancing and a generous flow of alcohol, I went to bed. Approximately two hours later Iwoke to the most excrutiating pain in my left leg, like the worlds worst cramp. No more sleep for me that night, and when I got out of bed in the morning I nearly fell over as I couldn't put weight on my leg. However I found that the more I moved around then the easier it became. I managed until the night when, after 30-60 minutes of lying down, the cramp started again. Anyway, another night without sleep, but made it through the next day and drove home. A day or two later the pain was easier, especially if I kept moving and even going down the gym, but I noticed my leg was swollen. And I mean really really swollen.

I'm not a fan of doctors. There are probably a few reasons for this, not least a psychological one that my father was a doctor and yet smoked himself to death before I was 10. I suspect there might be some lingering resentment! I was therefore reticent to go to the doctor. After all, the leg was improving (barr the swelling) so why bother them. I could get around well enough. I kept on riding. Describing the symptoms to medical friends and family, it just wasn't a DVT, there were no precipitating factors, no reason I should have one, and it didn't act like one either. If anything the pain was in my ankle and heel, other than that the twinges just shifted around.

After about 6 weeks I decided that I had had enough of my mother nagging me to see the doctor. By this time she had decided that my leg was going to drop off. I went to my doctor ad within 10 seconds of me walking in he had decided it was a DVT without even examining me. That was a sure way to wind me up. I said I thought it might be a deep infection and he agreed to put me on antibiotics. I made an appointment to see him again in a week.

The swelling went down a bit on the antibiotics, but the reality was it was still an unusual looking leg. So I went for my appointment. Minor problem, I turned p at 1910hrs, when I beleived my appointment was, but it had actually been at 1030hrs. Not entirely sure how I got that wrong. Despite the fact that the surgery was empty the doctor refused to see me. I left muttering something about being paid to do nothing with tax payers money, and resolved to find a new doctors. Which I did. But it took more time.

So another week or so passes, and I go to see my new doctor. I get examined. He doesn't think it is typical of a DVT but he can't think of anything else so feels I should start on heparin. Unfortunately it is too late for me to have heparin there so he sends me to the out of hours doctors at the hospital. Who are more than somewhat surprised that I have been sent to them for heparin injections. Partly because they don't think it is a DVT and partly because that isn't the arrangement they have. Anyway, after about an hour and a half I get my injection and we send a form to the DVT clinic so I can get checked the next day.

The next day arrives and I go down the DVT clinic. Where everyone is very nice, probably aided by the fact that there are no doctors around. They assess me, check me over, and announce it isn't a DVT and I can go home. At which point I beg to be scanned. Not because I now beleive I ahve a DVT but because I want proof for the doctors. So the nurse calls the scanning department, who initially say it isn't a DVT so why scan me. Luckily they are quiet and they have a trainee who needs practice. So they let me go down. The scanning proceeds in a very jovial manner (although I wished my underwear was tighter around the leg area, the probe got very intimate) and we are beginning to talk about other things when there is a sudden tone of surprise in the voice of the scanner as she announces that she has found a DVT. And then a second one. One in the ankle and one at the back of the knee. When she gave me my forms back I think the term she used was that I had "bamboozled" them.

Two things annoyed me at this point. One was that the doctor was right. The second was that I wouldn't be able to go to Munster for the Heinekan Cup Quarter Final. The second is now sorted, I am on the warfarin and a nurse told me I can fly to Ireland. The first, well the doctor wasn't right - I have two not one DVT!


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