Oh, Spain. A trip to the hospital right after my return from my amazing US vacay wasn’t the warmest welcome back.
But let’s be honest, I really can’t blame it on you.
After 5+ hours in the plane from Seattle to Philly, then another 7 from Philly to Madrid, plus a 6 hour unplanned nap in the car (damn jet-lag!) and yet another 6+ hours driving down to el sur, my leg was hating me by the time I lugged my bags up to my apartment.
It felt like a leg cramp initially, but got progressively worse as the hours passed.
Did I wear compression socks on the plane? No.
Did I take an aspirin before boarding. Oops.
Did I get up and walk around often? Err…sleep won out on that.
Apparently compression socks aren’t just for old people, because I wound up with a blood clot in my leg. Yup, you enter the quarter-of-a-century-club and it’s all downhill from there.
After 6 hours in the hospital, needles and catheters being poked into me, an ultrasound, and being pushed around in a wheelchair, I was given my diagnosis, some meds and was told to rest up. Thankfully, this blood clot is superficial (meaning it’s located in a vein closer to the surface of the skin, not to be confused with deep vein thrombosis which is life-threatening.)
It was a huge wake-up call, not only to be more diligent about getting up and walking around on the plane, but that the peace of mind of going to the doctor is completely worth the huge pain in the arse of going to the hospital.
So, what does it feel like? Well, it felt initially like how your leg feels right after a bad Charlie horse subsides, then the pain increased and I couldn’t walk without limping. Walking is painful—my leg feels hard and stiff and sharp pain shoots through it when I’m standing. It only really feels OK when it’s elevated, but I’m breaking up rest with just a bit of walking around as the Dr. instructed.
So to all you travelers out there, promise me you’ll: 1) get up frequently and walk around the aisles 2) take off your shoes and rotate your ankles/wiggles your toes 3) stay hydrated and avoid alcohol on the flight.
Get it? Got it? Good.