Thursday, December 14, 2006

Big Clot

I chose the name for this post an expression my father uses when he wants to speak deprecatively of someone without the use of profane language. “He’s a big clot.” “She’s just a big clot.” Though actually, the addressee of this peculiar form of vituperation is nearly always male. My best guess to its provenance is that it stems from lessons in anatomy, when my father was either learning it at Chicago (before switching to physical anthropology) or later teaching it at Washington U. I imagine the dissection of an ugly cadaver...


Anyway, I missed something a few days back. I wrote on December 6th that my father was suffering from a large number of small blood clots. Which are since being treated successfully by my mother, Nurse Betty (no, no, no, not that one). But I missed writing about the circumstances that led to his being tested for blood clots in the first place.

My mother noticed my father’s left arm had noticably swollen a few days before the diagnosis. I thought it appeared edemic. My mother tentatively agreed. But what was the etiology? My mother speculated it could be intravenous infiltration, a side–effect of a calcium drip and an IV administered together a few days prior to the diagnosis, the latter to bring up his fluid levels and his electrolytes back into balance. But we knew it also could be a thrombosis. And so did his physicians he saw soon after, which led to the subsequent Doppler ultrasound procedure and the prescription for the clot–busting injection series.

Happily, the injections have been successful. The clot that was backing up blood flow in my dad’s arm is at least significantly diminished, if not eliminated—as are the others—evidenced by his arm returning to its normal diameter.

So today he seems reasonably healthy and happy. But we’ve already seen a lot and we know we’re just at the start of this journey. So rather than finish on an up note, I’ll close instead with the question that hangs over us all...

What next?

No comments: