Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center: If only I’d had to pee more often, maybe I wouldn’t be here. You get Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT, blood clots, usually in the legs) when you are mostly immobile with your legs cramped for long periods of time. It’s what they warn you about on long airplane flights.
Some people get it more easily than others thanks to their genes.
It can be fatal. A piece of clot can break off and careen through your bloodstream coming to rest in your lungs – a pulmonary embolism, in your heart – causing a heart attack, or in your brain – stroke.
So when you notice that your leg has swollen and turned various shades that it isn’t supposed to be, the smart thing would be to go get it checked out. You might get lucky and it might be something other than DVT. I had about a 36 hour smarts delay when I noticed that about my left leg. That’s not too bad. It’s not to say I couldn’t have simply dropped dead during that time, but plenty of people don’t do anything at all about it.
When the nurse practitioner told me that she suspected DVT and I should be checked into the hospital, I considered waiting until the next morning. After all, it was Thursday night and that’s the only night that Po Monkey’s – a place I’ve wanted to go since I first heard about it – is open. Hell, if I'd dropped dead on the dancefloor there, hopefully they’d just prop my corpse in a corner with a cigarette in my mouth and a Bud in my hand and I’d have gained some sort of immortality.
But I didn’t. I did what you are supposed to do and I’ve been in the hospital ever since trying to get the clot organized and stabilized enough that I can actually go home. If I only had stopped to pee more regularly when I was driving out here, this might not have happened. Instead, there were days when I drove straight through – six, seven, eight hours of driving non-stop. I like that sort of thing sometimes, the meditation of the highway. Damn meditation. I should have known better.
I might get out of here tomorrow, maybe Wednesday, maybe Thursday. Then the drive home is going to be quite a bit slower than is my usual style: no more than 4-5 hours in the car a day, stopping every hour to get out and walk around for a few minutes. It’ll take seven days from here to Los Angeles. I’d originally planned to do it in three.
Oh well, at least I’m not dead and there’s much to be said in favor of that. I have a couple of recommendations for y'all (I’m in the south.)
One – if you’re on a long flight or a long drive, get up or get out of your car and walk around for a bit every hour or two even if you don’t think you want to.
Two – if you are ever in Mississippi and have something go wrong with you, this Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center is a very fine place. The people are incredibly friendly and attentive and beyond merely competent. And they’ll give you bacon and eggs with grits and a biscuit for breakfast.