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A short hospital stay
Old 08-30-2013, 03:02 AM   #1
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A short hospital stay

I woke up in the night of Friday/Saturday last with an intense pain in the right side of my stomach/chest/shoulder. Managed to get back to sleep, woke early, drove home (I was in a hotel 250 miles away), and called the duty doctor. He suggested either my recurring back/pinched nerve issues, or maybe a kidney stone. (He quite liked the second diagnosis because he stuck his pen in my ear at a few points which he claimed were to do with acupuncture and the one that hurt most was "kidney-related". )

Anyway, he sent me to the ER, on a Saturday evening in a medium-sized town, where in the space of 6 hours I had several blood and urine tests, three X-rays, two echoscopes, and an MRI scan. The last one nailed it: a small pulmonary embolism. So they admitted me and gave me IV antibiotics and painkillers, and Xarelto.

My deadline for getting out was today, because we are leaving at 4pm for a week's vacation. So I was pleased to be allowed out on Thursday morning. Quite a few movements are still slow and/or painful, and I have to control the contractions that seem to flare up every time I have any sort of internal movement (gas, or a bubble of air from my stomach, or an impending cough); plus I have to wear thigh-length support hose for the next three months. But overall, it could have been a lot worse.

The hospital was amazing. Of course, this is France, "world #1 for health care", but never having being hospitalised for more than a day visit before I didn't know what to expect. The amount of resources deployed was very impressive, and with only two exceptions (there's always someone on a power trip, right?), the staff were friendly, helpful, and caring. Score one for socialized medicine.
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:55 AM   #2
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So glad to hear that you are doing okay. Have a wonderful vacation.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:26 AM   #3
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Yikes. The things that can just jump out of nowhere. You're mighty Mighty, driving 250 miles with a condition that could have blown up at any time. (I drove myself to the hospital once while in anaphylactic shock.)

Did they say what causes these "gratuitous" embolisms?
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:37 AM   #4
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He quite liked the second diagnosis because he stuck his pen in my ear at a few points which he claimed were to do with acupuncture and the one that hurt most was "kidney-related". )

Score one for socialized medicine.
This is the only part that gave me pause... Not sure they go together!

Glad you are doing alright and on the mend!
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:57 AM   #5
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Sacre bleu! You were lucky. Those pulmonary embolisms can be fatal. I hope the anticoagulants dissolve it completely. You know this already, but monitoring clotting and keeping the dose properly adjusted is very important. Was there an obvious precipitating factor, e.g long flights?
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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Those pulmonary embolisms can be fatal.
+1

I was sitting next to my brother talking with him when he was hit by a PE. It was like flipping off a light switch - he died instantly.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:31 AM   #7
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This is the only part that gave me pause... Not sure they go together!
According to DW, they do.

Her "Western trained" doctors fix the easy things and her "Eastern trained" (an accupuncture expert - trained in China - yes, he's Chinese ) takes care of the things that the others cannot (such as IBS; corrected the condition she had for years).

I have no opinion on the subject, but we all know, "if momma's happy...",.

BTW, we're off to China (mainland and HK) next month. Maybe we'll both have the opportunity for "alternate care" if an emergency crops up...
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:27 AM   #8
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Sacre bleu! You were lucky. Those pulmonary embolisms can be fatal. I hope the anticoagulants dissolve it completely. You know this already, but monitoring clotting and keeping the dose properly adjusted is very important. Was there an obvious precipitating factor, e.g long flights?
Agree. For the record, if you have any kind of acute chest pain, shortness of breath or similar symptons and are not a kid (over age 30) it's off to the ER with you -- none of these 250 mile scenic jaunts .

But most importantly I am glad you are recovering safely. In the US, further workup of a PE of unknown cause is routine and antibiotics would not be given (but perhaps the CT was nondiagnostic for pneumonia, etc.)

Count on 3 - 6 months of anticoagulation in most cases.

Best wishes.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:51 AM   #9
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This is the only part that gave me pause... Not sure they go together!

Glad you are doing alright and on the mend!
Every doctor makes intelligent guesses based on presentation of symptoms. That's what the machines are for.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:44 AM   #10
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. In the US, further workup of a PE of unknown cause is routine and antibiotics would not be given (but perhaps the CT was nondiagnostic for pneumonia, etc.)
.
I wondered about the antibiotics too. The health care culture in France tends towards lots of medications. One time my friend fell off her bike and sprained her wrist. She was given nine (9) prescriptions, including something for constipation and a tonic for her liver!
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:50 AM   #11
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I wondered about the antibiotics too. The health care culture in France tends towards lots of medications. One time my friend fell off her bike and sprained her wrist. She was given nine (9) prescriptions, including something for constipation and a tonic for her liver!
Just kidding, but I am imagining from those prescriptions just what your friend was doing on that bike and where her wrist was when she took her tumble , and the doctor's exam. Sounds like the basis for a Monty Python skit. With French accents. Hope she healed with or without the prescriptions.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:52 AM   #12
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Glad you are OK, it sounds like maybe a nice restful vacation is just what the Dr ordered.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:57 AM   #13
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Just kidding, but I am imagining from those prescriptions just what your friend was doing on that bike and where her wrist was when she took her tumble , and the doctor's exam. Sounds like the basis for a Monty Python skit. With French accents. Hope she healed with or without the prescriptions.
1992, a biking tour in Perigord and Quercy. Friend was cycling on a flat road, holding onto the handlebar with her left hand and manipulating a video camera with her right hand (and video cameras were BIG in those days!). The right wrist was the one she injured. No wine was involved, and AFAIK her bowel habits were normal! The hospital was in Sarlat (a beautiful medieval town that I recommend visiting!).
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:10 PM   #14
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I've spent some time in a French hospital. I didn't speak a word of French, but the treatment was very nice and free.

As for pulmonary embolism, i would not go on vacation for a while. Who was that famous reporter, ah yes, David Bloom: David Bloom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 09-09-2013, 01:09 PM   #15
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But most importantly I am glad you are recovering safely. In the US, further workup of a PE of unknown cause is routine and antibiotics would not be given (but perhaps the CT was nondiagnostic for pneumonia, etc.)
The antibiotics were for a secondary infection. My temperature got up to 103.8F at its peak. At one point they considered taking me off amoxicillin and giving me something more specific, but by the time the blood tests came back I was down to 102F and falling. I assumed I was getting better when they stopped confirming the ear-read temperatures with a rectal reading.
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