On our last hike in Zion up to the West Rim trail, Jim’s left leg was bothering him and he felt like he was more winded than normal. That is a very steep trail going up Walters Wiggles, and I wasn’t having the best time climbing it myself. The following day he had a hard time putting weight on his leg, but as he was up and walking around it started feeling better. We did a little biking and some easy hiking over the weekend, but it was still bothering him some. A few days ago he noticed his calf was swollen. A Google search for swollen calf and leg pain suggested a deep vein thrombosis, something Jim had been examined for in the past but which just turned out to be superficial clots of his varicose veins, which he was told not to worry about.
I finally convinced him to go to the ER since it was not getting better, so this is where we spent our day, and where Jim is spending the night. St. Rose Dominican Hospital (Sienna Campus) in Las Vegas. Not a bad place, but very busy. As I write this there is no room at the inn, so he is still in the ER hallway. Not good.
The ultrasound and CT showed he surprisingly had deep vein thromboses in both legs and multiple pulmonary emboli in his lungs. Not the diagnosis we wanted to hear, but he was started on anticoagulants and they are keeping him overnight. He joked about wanting to use his new Medicare, but this really isn’t what he meant.
The internist who came to talk with us said Jim should see a hematologist, so he will be following up at the Mayo Clinic while we are there next month. Last year he had tests run to see if he had a blood disease or genetic factor that may have caused the superficial clots, but all of those tests were negative, so they just recommended low-dose aspirin which apparently didn’t do the trick. The ER doc said that he has seen a good number of people of all ages with DVTs and PEs where nothing ever turns up on the testing.
Another exciting day in the life…I would much rather be hiking. And although we get on each other’s nerves sometimes, I sure do miss him when he isn’t here.