Thursday, January 11, 2018

Not How I Wanted to Start the New Year


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After having a painful blood draw on December 20th for a couple of routine tests, my arm continued to stay sore for days. There was never any bleeding or bruising and in fact I could not even see where the needle went in. Five or six days later my entire forearm became sore, almost like I had pulled a muscle, and by New Years weekend it began to swell. By Tuesday January 2, the swelling and pain were worse so I called my primary care doctor’s office and they got me in that afternoon. I saw a different doctor who really wasn’t sure what was going on, but she wanted me to get an ultrasound. She said it was unlikely that I had a blood clot or compartment syndrome, but they needed to rule that out. They could not get me in until the following afternoon, when the tech spent almost an hour doing the ultrasound. I was becoming concerned that something serious was wrong but she told me I could leave, and that there was not a clot.

When I got home there was a message from the doctor who said I did not have any of the bad things they were checking for and “should we wait another week and see if it improves?” I found that to be a rather strange response so I emailed her back and asked what she thought was the cause and was there something I should or should not be doing. She said the swelling was due to bleeding which would take time to absorb and I should use ice, ibuprofen, rest and elevation and let her know if it didn’t get better. Luckily a few days later the swelling and pain began to subside. The ultrasound report was very vague and said that it was possibly caused by the venipuncture. Of course since I had no trauma to the arm other than getting stuck with a needle I am positive that was the cause. Despite being out hundreds of dollars, Jim and I are looking at this as a learning experience since in the future we will ask to have blood drawn from our non-dominant arms in the unlikely event something like this happens again.

I assumed the doctor meant for me to rest my arm, not my entire body, so two days after the ultrasound I joined friends Randy and Sunaree, Doug and Leslie (whom we met here last year) and 8 other people for the Friday fitness hike. This time it started at the Four Peaks trailhead in McDowell Mountain Park, where we did a 10 mile loop around the Escondido trail.

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We’ve also been biking out on the trails, and Jim is really liking this new mountain bike. It has carbon wheels and tubeless tires and is much lighter than his old bike. That must explain why he’s been riding ahead of me even on the uphills, which he had never done before.

Here’s Jim waiting for me at a bench at the Lariat/Pemberton trail junction.

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In cat news this week we have two new favorites. This is Paulie, whose previous owner neglected an ear infection, leaving him with a head tilt. It doesn’t seem to bother him and after treatment it’s not as severe as it was when he came in to Fearless Kitty. He is a real sweetheart, very playful and curious, and has the softest, shiniest black fur we’ve ever seen on a cat.

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We just got to meet Cheeto this week since he’s been in one of the medical rooms recovering from stomatitis, a mouth, gum and tongue disease that causes painful ulcers. He had to have all of his teeth pulled and is feeling much better. The history is that he was abandoned by his owner and a neighbor had been feeding him for 7 years. The woman developed dementia and could no longer care for him but someone contacted Fearless Kitty to see if they could take him in, which they did. His fur was all matted so he had to be shaved, and he was thin and in pain due to his teeth and mouth. With much veterinary care he is now a happy, friendly senior cat (approximate age 10-12) and is up for adoption. His long fur is growing back and he is just beautiful. It’s tempting, but we are sticking to our policy of no cats in the RV ever again.

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27 comments:

  1. I could have swore Jim was writing this post. :)
    Sounds like malpractice to me...
    and we are glad it went away. The long hike probably helped :)
    Box Canyon

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  2. Boy we are glad that your arm is much better Gayle. My arm hurt reading this post.
    Love seeing the cat photos. They are so dang cute.

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    1. Thanks, my arm is almost back to normal but still a little sore.

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  3. Can we get the full technical specs on Jim's new bike? We are looking forward to our McDowell visit starting March 6th. :-)

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    1. Hate that we'll be gone when you guys get here.

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  4. So sorry to hear about your arm, Gayle. And so ridiculous that you've had to pay hundreds of dollars to diagnose a problem caused by a medical procedure. But glad to know you're doing better.
    Thanks for continuing to share such positive stories of the kitties who are getting a second chance at life. Love seeing their sweet faces.

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    1. There is a big turnover of cats at Fearless kitty so every week we fall in love with a different one. For some odd reason we are both attracted to the ones with medical conditions.

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  5. Ok.....I used to superise a blood drawing center and also taught blood drawing. Mark is right....it is malpractice. If you have deep bleeding in your arm causing you pain that means the person that drew your blood totally botched your draw. My advice, contact the place and ask to talk to managemenr. I think they should pay for your medical bills. I wonder, did the person dig around fishing for your vein, are your veins visible, small? Now if you are a difficult draw I do not recomeND you tell them which arm to draw, it is better to let them check and decide what they want to do. The person that drew you blood NEED to be reported, if they were working for me I would want to check their technique. The lab I worked for took this stuff very seriously. Ok gonna get off my soap box. You can e mail me if you like. I as so sorry and hope it is better and does not give you any further trouble.

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    1. Thanks, my arm is almost back to normal so I think it will be fine. Yes, she did have to fish around a bit, which is when the pain hit, but she said she got the vein so I just endured it. I will contact them and see if they might pay the bills but I'm not hopeful since both the doctor's notes and the ultrasound report are very vague.

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  6. Who would have thought you could have developed this problem from having blood drawn! So glad you are feeling better and able to hit the trails again. Glad Jim is enjoying his new bike. Love those kitties!!

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    1. I've never had a problem with a blood draw or IVs in the past and had no idea something like that could happen, but now I know!

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  7. What a scary result of a blood draw! Glad to hear it is better now.

    That no cat in the RV policy is tough!

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    1. Whenever we are tempted to adopt another cat we remember what we went through with the last two. I'm sure there will be more cats in our future but we will have to have a house first!

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  8. Nice to see that you were able to hit the trails biking and hiking despite your arm. Glad to hear it is getting better!

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    1. I don't let much stop me from hiking and biking but I did have to take it easy for a few days when my arm was really sore.

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  9. I recently had an IV put in and later developed swelling and pain at the site. The literature they sent me home with said to put warm compresses on it for 20 minutes every two hours for 24 hours. It finally went away and the resulting bruise was pretty amazing as the blood dissipated. Glad to hear all is better. Jim's bike looks pretty spiffy!

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    1. Maybe had I used the warm compresses initially it would have prevented the swelling. What was so strange is there was never any bruise, which is why I couldn't believe there was bleeding. I just hope it doesn't ever happen again!

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  10. Re blood draw....I had a similar but diff experience some years ago. The draw was routine enough, but several days after I began experiencing a sharp pain in my bicep and shoulder when picking up things. After two weeks I couldn't close my fingers on a sheet of paper without intense pain. They sent me for shock treatment -- maybe goes by diff name such as: electro-stimulation -- to the arm which, after the 3rd, I had had enough. Fortunately, it worked, but every now and then I can feel a twinge. Upon mentioning malpractice I was summarily excommunicated from the medical group (back in the days before Primary Care and referrals). I didn't really think it was malpractice since the draw was as routine as any, but their reaction gave valuable insight. I learned that even the most benign procedure can have major repercussions. Good luck and I hope it heals. PS. Thanks for the cat news!

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    1. That is so true that even the most minor procedures have risks, so it's not really malpractice but more like a complication. Your story is interesting with the pain in the shoulder and bicep. I guess you had some nerve damage? I sure don't look forward to the next time I have to have blood drawn.

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  11. Glad the arm is finally feeling better - that's a long time to be in pain! I'm a difficult draw for blood so have had some painful sticks, but nothing after the fact. I love black cats and Cheeto is beautiful. Thanks for sharing the happy survivor stories for these sweet kitties.

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    1. I too have had painful sticks but the pain never lasted.
      I have a feeling somebody will come along and give Cheeto a home for his remaining teethless years.

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  12. Goodness that sounds like some possible incompetence on the part of the person who did the blood draw. I frequently bruise so when I go in for a draw I always tell them that I get huge bruises and then they are extra careful. Glad it's getting better. Boy Jim's bike looks like a great one. I'd really like something much lighter than my Trek and with wider tires. Maybe I should look in to what he bought.

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    1. Jim's bike is several years old and well used so he got a good deal on it. He would never have bought a new one at $4,000. We test rode an electric bike last week, and although it weighed 55 pounds it felt light as a feather with the motor to assist. What fun! I could see having one someday.

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  13. I don't know about suing, but I would definitely make sure someone knows what happened. Glad hiking and biking resolved the problem.

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    1. No, it wasn't malpractice, just one of those things that can happen. I worked in medicine so am well aware that complications can occur after even the most minor procedures.

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