The Birth Of A Book – “My First DVT”

Brian HaydenThis week, I want to begin by clarifying the time line. Each of these three posts discuss events which happened in 1998. Each of these posts triggers an “imagine that!” light bulb over my head moment.

This first post was insightful, although I had no way to know it at the time. I still had fifteen tortuous years of living with heart failure ahead of me. Looking back I wonder: would I have had the courage to stick around if I knew that fifteen years of needles, catheters, surgeries, emergency rooms and all manner of medical drama lie in wait for me? Today, after having undergone my heart transplant I can say yes.  I am not so sure the “me” of 1998 would have concurred.

The second post marks the inaugural DVT event. As I was dealing with this condition, it never occurred to me that DVT would come and go a few times in the following years. I could never have guessed that descendants of this DVT would reside in my leg even now – July 2013.

The posts are still being written as the memories hit my brain.  Three days in a row – I post small thoughts and memories. The posts are hardly big enough to be called a blog post, but I am not deterred.

Yawn, Yawn, Yawn

April 13, 2010 by brha99

Over the past week I have been writing about my experiences with heart disease. At first, I had lots of people looking in to see what would happen next. Eventually the readership dropped off, until when last week, a glitch in the system caused the post not to be posted. It did post eventually, but by then everyone was pretty much tired of reading about how many ways I can die, and then live. My point is, living with heart disease is much the same thing. Time after time there are emergency room visits after emergency room visits. Then there are the inevitable hospital stays after hospital stays. I tried to figure out once how much time I’ve spent in hospitals and I stopped counting at the one year mark. The fact is I am in hospitals too much. Living with heart disease gets to be TOO MUCH. Not only for me, but for my wife and my children. When we reach the 15 year mark on our sickness time line ( about 7 more years) the aggravation and futility will reach a boiling point. You will just have to keep reading to find out what I mean. In the mean time, if you are taking a break from this journey, I don’t blame you. I wish I could as well.

Special today – Heart ,Liver or DVT?

April 14, 2010 by brha99

Amiodarone is an anti arrhythmia drug. It is nearly as dangerous as the arrhythmia. Long term problems include liver and lung damage. You need to understand that in 1998 I was 44 years old. I didn’t want to face the real problem of having to be denied a new heart because my liver or/and lungs are messed up. So, after careful consideration, discussions with my family and doctors, I chose not to use the Amiodarone. They sent me home on another, less toxic anti arrhythmic drug. It is discouraging when the choices your doctor gives you are all so dangerous. They did, however give me one bit of good news. My defibrillator was due to be changed out. It’s a simple procedure really. Slice over the area in my stomach where the old one is, pop it out and replace it. This will be the fourth time they’ve done this. The leads are fine. This new model (this is the good news) has an extra layer of therapy. Instead of shocking me at the onset of an arrhythmia, it will attempt to pace me out of the irregular beats. Pretty cool. Then, if it can’t pace me back to normal, I will get the shock. Time will tell if this works. So I was released from the hospital. I was getting along well. Everything seemed to be healing. I did, however notice my left leg begin to swell and turn red. It was warm too, like only that part of me had a fever. I went back to my cardiologist because in my gut I had this feeling that maybe it had something to do with the long cath procedure. Boy was I right! I am the proud owner of a 13 inch blood clot in my Femoral Vein, aka DVT (deep vein thrombosis)

Don’t walk, don’t run, don’t sit, don’t stand

April 15, 2010 by brha99 

All I could do was lie still in the hospital bed while heparin (an anti coagulant) was poured into me through my I.V.. The idea is to give my body a chance to re-absorb the blood clot. The goal is to do it without part of the clot breaking off and giving me a stroke, another heart attack or lodge in my lung (pulmonary embolism). That was a tall order indeed, considering the clot ran nearly the entire length of my thigh. After a week in the hospital, I was allowed to go home, with instructions to limit my walking, limit my getting up and down, and of course, no running! I was given two special meds to use at home. One was Lovenox, a sort of synthetic heparin (roughly speaking). I just give myself the injection in my stomach twice a day. Sounds easy except my stomach began looking like the sky of those old world war II movies. You know. When the anti-aircraft guns left puffs of smoke in the air. My belly had puffs of black and blue marks, (bruises) all over. Don’t let anybody fool you, it hurts. Some days less than others, and most of the time tolerable, but it always hurts. The other medicine I was given was Coumadin (warfarin, better known as rat poison) Another anti coagulant. Over time, the Lovenox was stopped. The coumadin stayed. Before long, my life settled back into a routine much like my life was a couple months ago. You know what the doctors don’t tell you? They fail to mention that blood clots will often times damage the veins they occupy. We will re-visit blood clots again, and again…and again in the coming years, but for now, the storm has passed, and calmer days lie ahead.


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