This week I did something to my lower leg. I don’t know what it was exactly. It may have happened when I was taking out my frustrations on a mini-van seat that would go up or down. I jerked, yelled, and finally gave up. Of course, then Dan calmly reached over and had it up in two seconds. Anyway, the next morning my left leg was very sore, like it feels after a work-out. (Yep, I work-out infrequently enough that I am sore EVERY time afterwards. That is sort of what I’m getting at here today.)
So I don’t pay much attention to it even though a passing thought that morning was, you know, this hurts right in that place where you are supposed to watch for blood clots when you are pregnant. (I’m not pregnant, but I have been so many times that I remember all the rules.) Off I go to church, lunch, naps, more church, and Sunday Night Football. Nothing much to see here, folks, just a routine Sunday.
Monday rolls around and I teach all day (literally, I have a night class on Mondays from 6-9). Tuesday my leg is still strangely sore, but I’m still not thinking much about it. I even put on heels. Then Tuesday afternoon I look down and see ELEPHANT CANKLE! I had swollen ankles all the time when I was pregnant, but this was just the one side. The side that I now knew contained a blot clot that would soon be rushing to my brain or heart.
I went into Serenity mode. This is it, isn’t it? I’m going to leave behind a gorgeous husband and four beautiful children because of that stupid van seat and my obviously inferior blood supply-and-carry system! I called Mom who said call Dad. Never good. I called Dad who listened to my symptoms and then calmly said, “Huh, it sounds like you’re working on a blood clot.” I knew it.
Since my pain wasn’t acute, Dad prescribed aspirin (to thin my blood?!), a little exercise (to work it out?!), and then elevation. I stood around at a volleyball game with the kids for awhile twisting and moving my foot into all kinds of positions trying to determine WHERE exactly it was hurting. Dad’s point your toe up indicator was opposite for me: I had more pain when I pointed my toes down. This information must have put his mind to ease right away because he sort of laughed at me when I called him back and said, “Dan wants me to make sure I’m not going to throw a clot to my lung in my sleep or anything.”
Still, even when you know that it is probably nothing, you still worry. I knew I wasn’t hiding it well when Dan asked me more than once, “How’s your head?” Meaning, how well are you controlling your thought life? Not so well, Mr. I Don’t Have a Bad Feeling About This and That’s Good Enough For Me! Around that point he forbid me from looking anything up on WebMD and made me promise not to google “blot clot in the leg.”
And so I laid there on my old sofa with my foot as high as pillows and blankets could make it and I watched Biggest Loser with my kids. And since I was feeling introspective anyway, I let Jesse hold my elevated foot on his lap. And I let Macy crawl all over my head. And I let them all stay up until the challenge, which is their favorite part of this reality show and which is usually not on until after their bedtime. They DVR the weigh-in and watch it early in the morning when Dan and I are still asleep. Dan put everyone to bed while I laid there and listened to the hustle of teeth brushing, allergy medicine taking, and brace strapping. Then the required rounds of last minute trips to the potty and drinks of water. Good sounds that sometimes annoy me with their longevity. This night so sweet. It was, perhaps, the last night I would hear them. : ) I didn’t sleep well that night.
But, no, I woke up the next morning after all. The pillows I had stacked under my leg had long slipped off the bed in the night and my ankle was still puffy but much less swollen. Since then my pain has lessened and my swelling continues to go down. I’ve accepted the fact that my body is not 20 years old anymore. I bought some of those little low-dose aspirin bottles. I’ve put my foot up every night but slept well. The famous words in our family, although proven to not always be true (and therein lies the problem), are from Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop: “It’s not a tum-ah!” And it wasn’t. And I’m fine. Just old and occasionally dramatic.