The pain in my leg first started last Tuesday. I figured I pulled a muscle in the gym, so I took some ibuprofen, iced it and blew it off. There were other collective symptoms — leg fatigue, shortness of breath, dehydration– that, had I known the signs, would have alerted me to something more serious. But things really came to a head this past Saturday, when I was in Dallas covering the Red River Shootout.
By the time the annual rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma ended and I did my post-game interviews, it was nearly 6:00 pm. I was scrambling to catch a 7:15 out of DFW (with no traffic, it’s at least a half hour drive)…but the challenge is, when you leave the Cotton Bowl, you’re smack dab in the middle of the mob scene that is the Texas State Fair. It’s a perfect place for one of those Snickers commercials… “Not goin’ anywhere for awhile?”
At 6:40 Monday morning, I went to see Dr. John Schneider, a physical therapist Phil Simms introduced me to last year when I was having trouble rehabbing a hamstring injury. He’s terrific, and I’ve dubbed him “The Miracle Man”… but for some reason, not only did inside of my thigh hurt even MORE Tuesday morning, but the front and the back of my left knee were now completely swollen. John told me to stay off it and if it didn’t feel better the next day, he’d send me to an orthopedist.
Schneider changed course Wednesday morning. He sent me to Lenox Hill Hospital to get a venal Doppler ultrasound. “I think you may have a blood clot,” he told me. “If that’s the case, the blood supply to the rest of your leg is being cut off and that would explain the swelling in your knee.”
That afternoon, the woman conducting the ultrasound explained what I was watching on the monitor next to me. “When I push the wand down on your leg, you should see your arteries come together. If they don’t, if a black hole comes between them, that’s a blood clot.”
Not more than 10 seconds later, she pushed down on the most painful area of my leg. Nothing moved. There was a clot, clear as day. The medical diagnosis was deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
I was immediately sent to the emergency room, and within an hour, was getting a CAT scan. The doctors were worried the shortness of breath I had experienced was due to the clot in my leg breaking off and traveling into my lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. Shortly after I got back to my room, Dr. Bushra Mina, a pulmonary specialist, walked in with a calm, but stern look on his face. “You have two blood clots in your lungs. One in your left. One in your right. We need to get you on medication right away.”
That actually made my heart hurt a little. My sweet sweet Bonnie (Awful GF…change the channel please)….what would I have done without you? When you interviewed Gary Williams after the 2002 NCAA Championship I told my roommate that I was to marry you.
Our lives have led different paths, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t still have feelings for you. Next time call me, and I’ll rush to your side and feed you chicken soup until you are well enough to attack those sidelines with your trademark fervor again.
In all seriousness that’s some scary stuff. You’ll probably see a good bit of PSAs from Bonnie regarding the subject as she’s now a Spokesperson for the Coalition to Prevent DVT.
Update: I missed that this actually took place all the way back in October. I mixed the diary entry with this comment from a USA Today article….
Bernstein has learned what might have led to her condition — frequent flying, using estrogen-based birth control, a family history of clots — and now elevates her legs flying. That doesn’t always help: “I thought my leg was going to explode on the flight back from the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.”