Thursday, July 19, 2007

Goodbye, Cruel World

Pin It A few months ago I convinced myself that I had a blood clot in my leg. I had a little pain in my leg and I read on the internet that if a person sits a great deal and doesn't get up to move or stretch, it might be indicative of a blood clot, which might then break loose and travel up to their lungs and give them a pulmonary embolism. I sit a LOT - working at the computer during the day and for a long time every night, and this worried me. I consulted my husband, who thought I was insane. I consulted my sister Diana, who advised me that I should be careful and get up to stretch every couple of hours.

I worried about the blood clot for weeks. I started having dreams about it, dreams where I could see a big purple spot moving up my legs and I only had a few seconds left to live. A few nights a week I would get into bed with my husband and burst into tears and tell him how much I loved him, and after I died, would he please not marry someone younger than 25 and would he please make sure the children knew how much I loved them and show them a video of me now and then so that they would remember (unless it made them sad and then, never mind) and would he please also make sure the woman he married was no smaller than a size 8? And he would just hug me and tell me I was crazy, but that if I was worried, I should go to the doctor, and I would sigh that I was probably going to die that night in my sleep, but yes, I would probably go the next day. And then in the morning I would forget about it, or be busy, and wouldn't go.

One night I was working at my computer and I suddenly felt light headed, and I thought, this is it, somehow it has skipped through my lungs and it's gone to my brain and I'm having a stroke. I knew my husband would just laugh and shake his head so instead I typed up one letter to my children telling them how much I loved them, and another letter for my husband, telling him not to blame himself for not taking me seriously, because I loved him very much and I didn't want him to mourn me for long, and I left it up on the computer while I finished my work, just in case I really did die. Which I didn't. (Obviously.)

Then one night I could just feel the blood clot, pulsing in my leg and I started to think - this is it. You are going to die. Right now. And I could totally picture that scene on ER when Lucy Knight died of a pulmonary embolism and she died really quickly, so I very quickly told my husband that I loved him, again, and quickly went and kissed the children, and came back into bed crying, and my husband said, "That's it, go to the hospital if you think you are dying." And at first I protested, but then I thought, well, what if I'm right? But what if I'm wrong? I weighed my options for a while, trying to decide if it would be worse to be a) dead or b) embarrassed, and then decided I should go, but then - what if the blood clot hits my lungs when I'm driving down the street? So we called my sister Wendy and her husband Damien and Damien came over immediately and watched the kids while my husband drove me to the ER. (Did I mention this was at 11:00 on a Sunday night? Thanks Damien!)

So we get to the hospital, and I tell the triage nurse about my problem and she puts the little wristband on me and lets me into the actual ER. It's quite a sleepy little hospital and I've been there twice for kidney stones, so I felt right at home. The ER doctor came back to see me, and when I told him what I thought was wrong, he LAUGHED at me. He told me it was possible but not very likely, and I indignantly explained all of my symptoms and he listened and told me that, yes, it was possible, but again, not very likely. Quite frankly, he was more concerned about the rash on my leg than about any possible blood clot. And he said, probably to prevent himself from being sued in the event that I actually DID have a blood clot, that they could do an ultrasound so that we would know for sure.

My husband was like, "Yes, please, for the love of pete, DO THE ULTRASOUND," because it was the only way to conclusively rule it out so that I would stop planning my funeral. (Although, I must say, it would have been an absolutely lovely service - Mark would give the eulogy, there would be a group musical number, and, er, nevermind...) The doctor tried not to laugh, and I gave him what I hoped was a very dirty look and they sent me for the ultrasound.

OK, so I will preface this next part by saying that I am VERY TICKLISH. And really, the ultrasound girl was putting the ultrasound wand thing right in my leg pit, and you know - TICKLISH, right? I was laughing like a freaking hyena, and she was laughing, and I just could not stop laughing. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard. It was so tickly. My husband was laughing and telling me that I was a freak. And the tech was like, "WHY are you here again?" I told her blood clot, and I know what she was thinking - I was drunk or possibly a psych patient - but really, if she knew all of my symptoms, she wouldn't have smirked like that.

So anyway, they came back a little bit later with the results - no blood clot. I was very relieved. VERY RELIEVED. My husband teased me for days, and I was appropriately sheepish. And everytime he opened a bill from the hospital he gave me a dirty look, but then he usually hugged me afterward too, so it was o.k.

So, that drama was overwith, the end. And then, a few days ago, I read about our governor's daughter. She is younger than me, was in perfect health, and she was flying back and forth from SLC to New York, and she collapsed and it turns out that she had a BLOOD CLOT. BROUGHT ON BY TOO MUCH SITTING!! THAT BROKE LOOSE!! AND TRAVELED TO HER LUNGS!! AND SHE BARELY SURVIVED. !!! !! And so I had to think about that for a few days.

And then tonight, my mother-in-law told me that her mother had several blood clots IN HER LEG and that they all broke loose and that she could ACTUALLY SEE THEM traveling up her leg and that she would try to "squoosh them" before they reached her heart (holy crap, and for the love of all that is holy, she had to try to sqoosh them) and that the only reason she survived was that she was on blood thinners already and she had to put a nitro tablet under her tongue when they hit her heart. And I sat and listened, horrified and transfixed. And my husband told his mom to STOP! STOP RIGHT NOW! Because he saw the look on my face.

And so I've been thinking and what I want to know basically is - where can I get some blood thinners and/or nitro, and also, Damien, can you come over? Right now possibly? Because I think I need another ultrasound.


  1. each post makes me laugh harder adn harder!! oh my gosh, maybe after doign this computer thing you shoudl write a book, just about you and your life!!! I could picture the ultra sound laughing scene and that is hilarious. I hate how ER doctors never take ANYTHING seriously- well except kidney stones.

    And now that my wedding is over, really the only to PLAN is my funeral, I just get so bummed when I think about the cheesy potatoes I will miss out on. seriously!

  2. I agree with Chanel, you need to write a book! Blood clots, ticklish ultrasounds, planning your funeral...the way you write about these things could make quite the book.
    I'm proud of you for going to the ER! I often hear of diseases or other health issues and immediately wonder if I have any of the symptoms and than debate whether or not to get it checked out. Such a dilemma!

    p.s. I'm so glad there are no blood clots.

  3. Okay, i agree with the book-writing thing, but I say you donate the proceeds to us because we were there for you in your time of need. After all, you're already going to be the richest one; you should share the love.

    But seriously, if you promise to be this funny, and yet appropriately devastated, you can give the eulogy at my funeral.

  4. Oh my gosh, I wish I was a Hutchings and had the inherit wit you all have. I believe I'll have to write an ode to the Hutchings on my blog. I would totally read any book any of you wrote.

    I have to, sadly, admit that I, too, am "not" a hypochondriac and I can 1000% relate to this story. You are so brave to go to the ER!

  5. that is hilarious.

  6. Sue....

    Write the book. I am currently throwing my hat into the book wiriting ring myself.

    Go to to learn how to self publish your book.... basically we have to sell copies to friends and family members to pay for the publishing and once it's published you take it to a distributor... when you do it this way, instead of going straight to a large publisher, you have more control and make more money.

    So do it and the next time you need to go to the hospital try and make it on a wednesday early evening... it's ESPN's Wednesday Night Baseball!

  7. wow I am smart! So if you write this book you better AT LEAST dedicate it too me, or put me in the list of people (like #1 b/c who cares about your editor or family or any of that nonsense) you HAVE to thank.
    ok carry on...

  8. What a great post! I'm scared to go to the doctor. I'm always convinced they'll find something deadly.

  9. Tee hee - Thanks guys - but I could never write an ACTUAL book. I've written hundreds of pages of stuff and it's all quite bad. Inflicting my blog upon the world is probably damage enough to the literary realm!

    However - Wendy, I will give you an amazing eulogy, and Chanel, it'll be dedicated to you ;>

  10. Anonymous10:55 AM

    No need for anyone to write a book or a eulogy, Sue. Just keep doing the blog thing. At your funeral, we will stand up and read from your blog so everyone can appreciate how you held up in times of trouble and kept a smile on your face, and how your family supported you in adversity, etc. Then we will publish your blog and get rich and share the proceeds with your bereaved loved ones, especially those who rushed to your side in the middle of the night. And we will sue the doctors for not believing you.

  11. OK Sue... don't write a book... but how many of my book can I put you down for... pre-orders start soon;)

  12. Anonymous7:35 PM

    oh this is so totally me - hypochondriac (sp?) city. Thanks for the laugh!!!

  13. Did you happen to have a special affinity for Anne Shirley in bygone times?

  14. And I really thought I was bad! I'm a pretty bad hypochondriac but have never gone so far as to write the farewell notes to my husband or children. If you are really going to treat us, post THOSE on the blog!

    This was SO funny! I'm glad you're okay but man, what a great post :)

  15. Azucar - yes, I think I've read the Anne books about, oh, 1,000 times...

  16. Anonymous1:51 PM

    ha ha ha ha ha hahahahahahahaha

    Man. You are nuts.

  17. Oh, I just laughed so hard! Thanks for the tummy-ache!

  18. That is the funniest post I have ever read---by anyone! I am sitting here at 1112pm, alone, everyone else in the house is asleep, including the dogs, and I am laughing outloud--loud enough to be heard by my sleeping husband, I can guarantee it. But I couldn't help myself. This was hysterical!!!

  19. p.s. you DO need to write a book! seriously, the stuff that's out there is not any better than this. Get writing girlfriend!

  20. much like yourself, i too was once convinced i had a blood clot in my leg. i too was laughed at by my doctor and sent for an ultrasound for the sake of my family's sanity.
    and i too had absolutely nothing wrong with me. AT ALL.
    but then again, those ultrasound machines probably aren't perfect. i'm sure the clot is probably still in there, lurking deep in my veins waiting to make a run for it. now when i am on a flight longer than two hours, i stand in the aisle for several minutes every hour and do all kinds of 'leg exercises', mostly compiled from what i remember of the ballet warm-up i did as a 4 year old at miss anne's ballet studio. nevermind the fact that i spend about 10 hours sitting in front of my computer (ahem, TV) everyday.
    so don't worry, you're not alone out there, and this---this is a REAL fear. certainly not the fear of silly health-crazed lunatics with too much internet savvy. we are NOT being ridiculous. these concerns are well-founded. or is that just what all us hypochondriacs think....

  21. oh good god i just sat here at my desk snickering like a complete mental patient. you are priceless in your hilarity. but i also think you're my long-lost twin.

  22. Gah! It was difficult for me to read this post. I just had my first baby and the nurses resuscitated my old blood clot fear when they checked my legs before being released from the hospital and telling me it was a risk in postpartum. A month after coming home, I sprained my ankle which made my leg hurt for two months. Of course, I knew it had to be a blood clot. I FINALLY had my leg scanned and nothing, no blood clot. But two weeks later, I was sure they missed it and asked for it to be scanned again.

    My poor husband...