I used to think that after the accident we had a golden ticket as a family. We had our tragedy and nothing worse could possibly happen. I learned that's not the case last Friday.
Last Tuesday K started complaining about pain in his rib, especially when taking deep breaths. Being a typical guy, he blew it off thinking that L might have kicked him or head butted him in the night. He hadn't done anything strenuous to cause any trauma, but thought that must be the case. Each subsequent day he felt worse and worse. We were up all night Thursday. Every time he laid down to sleep he'd have to sit up because of the pain and inability to breath. I thought he was having a heart attack, but he insisted he was fine and it was just the pain from his ribs. By Friday morning he was feeling so bad I convinced him to go to the doctor. He was back 1.5 hours later after a clean EKG with a diagnosis of bruised ribs or cartilage or a muscle strain. They did take an x-ray but the results wouldn't be in till the late afternoon.
I went off to school to volunteer and he proceeded to hit Home Depot, buy a hedge trimmer and a bunch of 80 lb bags of soil which he deposited around the yard. He insisted he was fine. I came home around 4:40 with A so they both could head off to soccer practice. The rest of us made dinner and settled in for a relaxed Friday night. At about 6:45 I was in the front of our house in the street tossing pop flies to D when K and A pulled up and he sputtered, "call 911." A was crying, K was gasping for air.
I rushed in to grab the phone screaming for E to get outside (she's certified in CPR as a lifeguard). By the time I got through and gave our address, he managed to get out of the car and stand up. In this position he could breath much easier and insisted he was feeling better. At this point, I handed the phone over to E to talk to the dispatcher and tried to assess what was going on. L was screaming. D and A were cowering on the porch. M was trying to help me with L.
The firetruck and paramedics finally arrived and started checking him out. He continued to insist he was fine. We argued in the middle of the street with me yelling he was going to the hospital. They moved us into the ambulance and the paramedic calmly told K it was a good idea to go and get checked out.
I had called K's mom right after I called 911, so she arrived to take care of the kids while I headed to the ER to get there ahead of the ambulance.
I waited for another 20 minutes till he finally got there. It was awful. They did another EKG and determined his heart was fine. The doctor came in and decided that a cat scan was in order. At this point, K was getting very agitated and insisting he just wanted to go home (he hates hospitals and is the exact opposite of a hypochondriac). He refused to take any narcotics for the pain or anything to calm him down.
At 10:30 pm the doctor came in to tell us he had multiple pulmonary embolisms in his lungs and things quickly got very serious. A nurse came in and administered a blood thinner (a shot in his abdomen). We were admitted upstairs to the telemetry unit where he could be monitored 24/7 to make sure no other clots were thrown). We were up all night with ultrasounds on his legs, drugs, etc.
The doctor came in Saturday morning and gave us the news that he has a blood clot behind his left knee. He has two clots in his right lung and one clot in his left lung. There has already been lung damage on the right side which has cause pleurisy (fluid sac) around the lung causing the pain. The seriousness of the situation sunk in. A nurse commented how lucky he is that he's not dead. With no other symptoms, situations like this usually end fatally.
It was a long and stressful weekend. I had hard time leaving his side. I was really scared. We spent many hours just sitting and holding each other. It was horrible and continues to be shocking that this is really happening.
We were able to come home yesterday afternoon. They taught me how to give the injections twice a day which is keeping him safe until the oral blood thinners do their job. We go in this afternoon for a reading to check his levels and will get a better understanding of the next steps. What we know so far is that we'll do the injections for another week and then he'll be on the blood thinners for 6 months in to break up the clots and hopefully prevent more from forming. He'll have some lifestyle changes as a result. After that, he'll have tests done to determine why this happened since he doesn't have any of the classic precursors (not overweight, pregnant, recent surgery, or a big traveller).
The kids are fine. Spooked a bit, but doing okay. E definitely stepped up to the plate. Of all the months for this to happen of course, when we all are reminded of the fragility of life.
So I guess my illusion of our family being spared is partially true. K is still here. He didn't die. Maybe we have the golden ticket after all. Or maybe life is just life. Random. Unfair. I'm just thankful he's still with us and our kids didn't have to get another horrible life lesson.