Pretty veins

About 5-6 weeks ago I bumped my left leg against a protruding edge. It was painful, etc, but the sort of thing you’ll do hundreds of times over your lifetime. While it is a routine event, it’s not that simple for me. My left leg is my bad leg – it’s the leg I had a DVT a few years back, and the leg I still see a specialist about.

So it tickled a bit at the time and had me hopping around, but in my blithe, male way I thought no more about it. Within a day there was a lump the size of an egg on my leg, and a few days later a splotchy, off-colour bruise appeared on my leg. Not pretty, but it’s a long time since that leg was anything close to pretty (my right leg is a peach, however).
In the weeks after I began to feel concern. It would pain me occasionally to the point I developed a minor limp, and I found my shin had intriguing dips and grooves – as well as the usual swelling.

Eventually I went to the doc, ostensibly to get a new prescription, but had that checked at the same time. It was a new doctor in the local area, and he was taken aback at my condition, and scheduled some ultrasounds. I had those last Friday at Sandringham Hospital.

I can’t drive currently, so caught the bus – the first time in about 10 years I’ve set foot on a bus in Melbourne. It was drizzling and I walked the little bit. As I approached the hospital I spied a middle-aged man in the ubiquitous back-to-front hospital gown, his back to the window oblivious that he was exposed to the world. He had a pale, plump arse, but I was thankful at least that I hadn’t happened by a minute or two sooner.

Thankfully I had no more than a short wait. I was taken into a small room by an interesting radiographer and for the next hour had an exhaustive examination, firstly to check my artery health in general, then specifically to check I hadn’t clotted up again.

I suppose most hospital experiences odd, and many of them unpleasant. An ultrasound is interesting, but inoffensive. I lay there on the bed in my gown (minding the window), contorting into position as required, while the radiographer smeared me with goo and scanned me my feet to my sternum. As always I watched the screen, asking about the different colours and wondering what it all meant.

Initially she was quite impressed. She was an attractive, bookish looking woman of about 40 with a good Jewish name. She told me I have ‘very photogenic arteries’. I was chuffed without having any idea what that meant. She explained that arteries thickened as people got older, but that my arteries were still healthy and well defined. She seemed to take a professional fascination in them. It felt like a personal compliment – forgetting, as I was, that I was there because I had problems with my vascular system.

 The scan for clots was not quite as positive. She confirmed that I had experienced another thrombosis when I bumped my leg, though it was quite minor.

It annoys the bejesus out of me that I have this problem. Mostly it’s aesthetic. It’s a bloody ugly looking leg. And it’s a nuisance. I’m meant to be on daily medication, and as far as I know I have to continue to visit a specialist every 6 months for the rest of my life. And then it’s bloody annoying that any bump might cause problems, and with the medication (which I’m meant to be taking), any cut potentially becomes an issue to.

Whatever. I’m as strong as a bull generally, and considerably fitter than most my age. It’s just another thing I have to deal with.

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