Teenager With Pulmonary Embolism.

Hey there, my name is Jessica and I'm 17 years old, from British Columbia, Canada. December 30th, 2012 was a day I'll never forget. It was the day that the doctor giving me an ultrasound for a possible bladder infection told me that the pain I was feeling was a burst appendix and I would need emergency surgery. Thirteen hours later, I was in the pediatrics unit of the hospital recovering from the surgery. Three days into my recovery, I noticed that my left leg was tingly and very swollen compared to the right one. The nurse attending to me told me that I probably had a small clot in my thigh, a "regular and completely harmless complication from surgery". Was she ever wrong. Although I was given shots of Heparin daily to dissolve the clot, unknown to me, it travelled from my thigh up into my lung, creating a pulmonary embolism. The swelling in my leg went down, and by day six, I was released and sent home to recover. Not even twenty-four hours after getting home, I noticed something was wrong. My breathing had become very irregular and short, and I was having fits of shallow coughing that brought up blood covered phlegm. My mom called the hospital and they told her to bring me in right away. I was put in a bed in the emergency department, hooked up to ECG machines, and an oxygen machine. Ten hours later, I recieved a CT scan and had x-rays taken on two seperate occasions. The x-rays showed that I had fluid in my lungs that shouldn't be there, and the CT scan showed that I had a very large embolism in my left lung and also that I had caught pneumonia in the same lung. It was then realized how serious my condition actually was. I was admitted back into the pediatrics unit and was there for another four days. I was given more doses of Heparin, and was started on the pill Warfarin to help dissolve the clot. Every morning, I would have blood taken to check my INR levels, making sure my blood was thinning as hoped. Once my four days in the hospital were up, I was sent home to recover...again. Once I got home, I went through daily nosebleeds for four days straight, lasting anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes. Being home also helped me realize how painful a pulmonary embolism actually was. Not being on a morphine IV anymore, and only having low grade painkillers really showed how painful it was to breathe, cough, sneeze, or hiccup. Even moving around, trying to get comfortable was super difficult for me. There was one day where my INR levels spiked extremely high (about a 4), and anything I took for pain or my regular antibiotics made me extremely ill since they dissolved into my bloodstream so rapidly, leaving me vomiting all day from strong antibiotics and sleepy/loopy from the painkillers. That incident helped me realize how important taking the right dose of Warfarin and watching my vitamin K intake was, knowing I didn't want to go through another day like that again. Now, three and a half weeks from my first hospital admittance, I still feel a lot of pain. Walking around the mall with friends, or climbing stairs at school can leave me doubled over in pain. Sleeping is a nightly struggle, where I can't ever lay in a spot where I don't feel dull achy pain or turning the wrong way, which will wake me up with a hot stabbing pain unless I take sleeping pills or heavy painkillers. Focusing in class is difficult because I'm constantly worried about whether my embolism is going away like it should, or when I'm going to go through the next bout of breath-stopping pain that radiates through my chest to my abdomen, down to my pelvic area. I think the worst part though would have to be the constant need to be careful. Being careful and being a teenager don't go so well together. I constantly have to be careful about cutting myself, even if its a little nick from shaving my legs or cutting a finger on a sharp knife. I have to watch out for bruising since it happens so easily to me now, and I've been warned that if I ever fall and hit my head on something hard while on the anticoagulants, to go to the emergency room for scans right away. I just want to do normal teenager things again! Hopefully when my Warfarin therapy ends in five months, I'll be able to say I am clot free and I'll be able to do all the regular things a 17 year old should be doing (:
JessicaPerrry JessicaPerrry
18-21, F
2 Responses Jan 23, 2013

I've been goin to the doctor since June and my story is so similar to yours! I have PE, as well! It is definately a difficult thing to deal with.

Hi! My name is Katarina and I am a senior in high school. I am doing a project for my anatomy class about PE! Your story touched me and I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions about you diagnosis if you had time! Thank you and stay strong!