Thursday, June 23, 2011

June in Texas

You know the saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans"?

I apparently have been keeping the Lord in stitches.

Cause I had a plan, you see. I was going to leave my job on a set day, pack up my life in CA, set off for a grand new adventure in Texas, with a brief pause to go be a maid-of-honor in PA in the midst of this.

You'd think I'd know better.

The week I was to leave my job, I was sick. Horribly miserably sick. The kind that makes it hard to breathe, and you go through about 3 boxes of tissues. My last two days at work were half-days, because I couldn't do much. Talk about leaving not with a bang, but a whimper.

My roommate took the day off to help me pack before I had to drive to Tucson, my first night's stop in the trek to Texas. Good thing she did, because I couldn't have gotten anywhere close to done/ready if she hadn't. And good thing because she ended up driving me to urgent care, because my doctor was on maternity leave and her nurse was booked up, and I needed something a lot stronger to kick the cold I had. So I got a mini Z-pack and some cough syrup with Codeine. Had me all set. I thought.

So, with her help and another friend (sometime roommate) I got the car packed. Got on the road okay Friday morning, got into Tucson with no real blips. The part I usually dreaded in driving wasn't bad, and I thought I could relax.

Mom was going to make the drive from Tucson into Austin with me, because its about 16 hours, and a lot of empty space which, given the age of my car, made me a little nervous. I was happy to have her along, especially since Saturday morning was off not with a bang but a whimper.

Apparently I've never had Codeine before. Not that I recall anyway. Apparently I'm allergic to it, because I woke up Saturday morning with my eyelids swollen to twice their size. Not enough to keep me from seeing, but a definite reaction. Paired with a rash I had thought was from stress or heat, it was definitely a reaction I didn't want to keep having. So, goodbye cough syrup, hello Benadryl.

And can I say, Benadryl is not a good substance to have in your system when you're driving cross-country.

Despite all that, we made it to our stop that night okay. Even made it into Austin okay the next day, got unloaded, got Mom to the airport for her flight back, got unpacked enough to repack for the wedding.

Wedding went off as planned and I flew back Monday June 7.

Tuesday morning I woke up with this pain in my shoulder. With all the different beds I'd been sleeping on (and couches), this wasn't surprising, I thought I was just in the adjustment phase of new bed here in Austin. Only, the pain didn't seem to go away. Got worse. My breathing started to become painful. I medicated somewhat, took it easy, but by Thursday I let (because I didn't think I had insurance at this point, since I'd never gotten my paperwork on that from my employer, but that's another story) my new roommate drive me to a clinic to get looked at. She didn't do anything official, just hearing that I was having chest pains and trouble breathing she said to go to an ER and get an EKG.

So, we did, despite my misgivings. I didn't want the cost of all that, since I didn't have a job or (I thought) insurance, but I'd rather be safe that sorry.

Apparently chest pain is a magical phrase when you go to the ER. I have never been treated so quickly. Never even sat in the waiting room. Just whisked into the EKG, then back to the cardiac area (which was a bit alarming, let me tell you). They hooked me up to a machine to monitor it all, and apparently the EKG results were such that they wanted a CT scan, because they thought it might be blood clots.

Now, one thing I forgot to mention was that lying flat seriously aggravated my shoulder and breathing. I'd been sleeping somewhat propped on pillows since I got back to TX, and Wednesday night into Thursday morning I had a lot of trouble with pain and breathing, and they tend to feed off each other until I was gasping, trying to breathe deep enough to fill my lungs, but not so deep as to make it hurt worse.

So when they take me to the CT scan, where you have to lie flat on your back for at least 15 minutes, I wasn't expecting good things. I was, to quote the roommate "waxy looking" when they brought me back. And the CT scan confirmed that it was blood clots, or pulmonary embolism is the technical name for it. And it required immediate admittance to the hospital.

Which didn't figure into my plans, not at all. None of this did. I thought I'd move to Texas with God's blessing, and this didn't feel very much like a blessing. Felt more like I was being punished for something.

So in the hospital I go, and after several days of having needles poked in my arms (Seriously, the bruises are still fading), blood transfusions because I was so anemic, iron infusions, blood thinners, I was finally released, given a prescription for Coumadin (blood thinner) and off I went.

Not really. Not as easy as all that. But the devil's in the details, you know? Sunday, June 12 I got out of the hospital and faced a life far different from the one I'd expected in Texas. For starters, my mom ended up staying a full 2 weeks with me, to help in so many different ways. I now wear a medical alert bracelet for blood thinners, and I get to take more pills every day than ever before. We're still tweaking with my dosage of blood thinners, and I'm sure it's why my body's so out of whack right now.

One question I've gotten a lot is what caused this. The two most likely risk factors for blood clots that I exhibited were all the travel I was doing (3 days in a car, 4 flights total for the wedding), and the birth control I was on. Extra Estrogen is apparently not good for blood clots. And for now, it's a one time thing. The tricky thing about blood clots is, you don't know if you're predisposed to have one until you have more than one, if that makes sense. Can be a one time thing, but if it happens again, you're considered predisposed and on blood thinners forever, pretty much.

So, I'm lying in bed, no job, COBRA insurance (which will be worth having given the hospital bill), and a lot of questions that I know will go unanswered. Why? Why now? Why me?

Actually, I think I know at least one of them. If I'd been as settled in my life in CA, I might have ignored it. Until it was far more serious than it was. As it is, I got excellent medical care, and am in a place where I can rest until I feel better. And can apply for jobs all day online, too.

As for the rest, God knows. And that will have to suffice. If it means I have to work that much harder to carve a place for myself here, then so be it. California was easy by comparison, though I thought it'd be the other way around. I'll do what I have to in order to find my place. Because I firmly believe God has one for me. I just haven't gotten to it yet. Maybe I needed all this to get there. Maybe I'd have rushed things. Or not rushed enough. I don't know. But I'm trusting. Trying every day. And if I'm whiny or scared or otherwise not at peace, well, so were a lot of folks in the Bible. Didn't stop their lives from unfolding as God intended.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Lord, have mercy on your servant Jenn.

Hang in there, girl.