My ankle had been painful a few days earlier, feeling like a fracture (and I’ve had my fair share of ankle fractures), but an x-ray was fine. Yet still it hurt. And then it started swelling. And then it got hot. Lucky me, I had an orthopaedic appointment the morning I noticed the heat. An ankle surgeon too.
I don’t know why I thought DVT. I had not consulted Dr Google. I do take long flights though and like to think I am a bit DVT savvy since this condition can develop after flights. And I was due to take a long haul flight a day after the hospital appointment. Maybe the planets were just aligned, and it was my lucky day.
So, I mention the new problem, get my ankle examined, and say I’m just a bit concerned about DVT. I don’t want to be a drama queen nor try and be a know all, but I just know instinctively that something is wrong. The ankle surgeon decides to get an immediate ultrasound. Yep. DVT. Deep vein thrombosis. It must be relatively new because I’d had an MRI scan just four weeks earlier.
And, so, a day of excellent treatment at the ambulatory emergency care unit at UCLH began. Who knew these units even existed? They do quick turnaround tests, have a clinical team that can begin treatment immediately, and, hopefully, avoid hospital admission for more tests. Blood tests, x-rays, questions, calm human practitioners, lovely nurses and kind reception staff. It’s the countdown to Christmas and there are decorations in the reception area, and some music playing, quite a few cheesy Christmas songs in the mix. There’s tea and coffee. It’s a warm and friendly environment. I am trying to put back a hair appointment as I know I shan’t get there in time. Hair appointments in December are like gold dust – I’m keeping my hairdresser informed, she’s meanwhile trying to see if anyone later can come in earlier to give me some more time to get there. Reception are asking about the hair appointment, and whether I’ve managed to get it put back.
I am sensible enough to know that flying and DVT may not go well together. The ultrasound doctor in the morning had said it may be down to the insurers. I had already spoken to them – they would cover me according to the medical advice. If I was told that it was okay to go, the insurers would cover anything related that arose during the trip. If I was told not to go, they would cover cancellation costs less the policy excess. I presume that if advised not to travel, and if that advice was ignored, that the insurers would be fully entitled to laugh in the face of any claim.
I am told in no uncertain terms by the consultant that I cannot fly the following day. I am not allowed to fly. The day is so surreal that it feels quite normal to be told that I can’t fly to India for my Christmas holiday. The consultant carefully explains the meds that will be prescribed, side effects, a new world that involves anticoagulant clinics and referrals to haematologists. The consultant allows me plenty of time to take it all in and to ask questions that she has, no doubt, heard a hundred times before, but she answers them as if I’m the first to have asked.
I’m late for the hair appointment. Damn. I pick up the meds from the hospital pharmacy and also become the proud owner of a patient alert card to keep in my purse. I go back to ambulatory emergency care to pick up the discharge letter. The lovely reception staff sympathise that I’ve missed my hair appointment. I thank them. They understand how valuable a December hair appointment is. They commiserate about the holiday too.
I head off to the tube, pleased to be going home after quite a day, one that I don’t want to repeat. I’d asked in jest whether I could use the tube, just in case it too was forbidden transport. It’s allowed.
On the Hammersmith and City Line home, I notice the Three Wise Dogs in my carriage. I love dogs. I have had a bad, strange, scary, surreal day so seeing these dogs makes me feel so much better. Well, actually, everybody I came into contact with that day has worked together towards making me better and ensuring I stay that way.
So what if bagladytravels is not travelling as planned? The beach will still be there when I’m better. And my suitcase is already packed, ready to go. I am invited to a new year party, and then invited to a Christmas lunch by very special friends.
But I am in desperate, desperate need of that missed haircut. I am having a seriously bad hair day. I can live with DVT, but I’m not sure that I can live without my hairdresser.