Pulmonary Emboli

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Hi all

3 weeks ago I went to Chelsea and Westminster hospital with lower right hand chest pains, after an ECG showed up that it was not heart related I was sent back to the waiting room for 3 hours.  When I was seen it took them 10 minutes to ask  me loads of questions including “have you been coughing” to conclude, without further tests, that I had fractured a rib coughing.

Never actually believed them but what can you do?  After a while I stopped the pain killers and carried on with my life, 2 weeks later I was watching the apprentice the interviews and at the start of the program I was thinking I have a twinge again and by the end I was in real pain.  2:00am I gave in and headed for A&E, 2 hours later and a mix up with lost notes and the like I was admitted to Cheltenham General Hospital

connect me up

By the end of the day they had found my drugs chart, had umpteen blood tests, 1 ultrasound, 2 CT scans, suspected gaul stones and was finally diagnosed with pulmonary emboli.

So this is multiple clots on both lungs, and was a shock to everyone involved doctors, nurses, patient, relatives and friends. Action required thin the blood to dissolve them naturally.  Start with 18000 units of fragmin a day, a usual dose is 2500 – 5000 units, and start the process of working out the required warfarin level to maintain the blood thickness.

A couple of days passed and I had moved wards from the surgeons to the medics, and a doctor arrived, I was fully drugged up, and according to him fine. Cut the pain killers completely, sort out the warfarin level and home tomorrow.

Hmmm 4am rolled round as did the night doctor with me screaming the place down, left side pain this time. Calmed with some oral morphine and some more tramadol I was left sleeping.

morning cocktail

4am rolled around saw Rachael again (first name terms with the night doc now) both sides screaming, good job you can not remember pain! OK lets throw everything at it “pain team” the works doubled the tramadol insisting that they are taken bang on 6 hour intervals regardless of sleep pattern, and throw 30ml of oral morphine on demand hourly if necessary.

Then another Doctor arrived to tell me that from one of the many scans I had had they can see a 17mm unidentified something in my tummy could be a fold or a polip not sure, but they are sure that they wanted to investigate it further.  One problem here is that they can not do this whilst I am on walferin. So Fragin injections to continue walferin to stop with an endoscopy booked for Monday (with the proviso that I am pain free enough to swallow a camera and that a hospital emergency does not crop up)

Lai arrived with a letter from the hospital informing me that I have an outpatient leg scan to look for more clots this is for the next Thursday that indicates that I should be home by then :-) She also topped me up with fresh fruit again


So just over a week into being in hospital and the pain killers have been sorted out so that 4am is bearable again, and I have a plan:

1. Sort out this mysterious “thing” that they have found in my tummy.
2. Start the walferin level process again.
3. Ultrasound scan of my legs to see if there are any more clots on the way,
4  Go home for rest until the clots have dissolved and the pain has passed.

Looking forward I need to stay on the walferin for 6 months then start the tests to see if I am susceptible to clotting and go from there in relation to the longer term.

All seems so simple when there is a plan.

Finally a quote the Chest Surgeon “This embolism is not the problem one its the next one that is”! don’t want to see that one this one is painful enough.


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