In April 2009, I could have died. I didn’t *almost* die, but I *could* have if I had delayed a hospital visit by much longer.
The school year of 2008-2009 was a mess. I was an RA in a residence hall on campus at the University of Cincinnati. My boss absolutely despised my existence and made no pretense of otherwise. That’s a story for another day…
By the time April rolled around, I had a new boss who was great. He genuinely cared about our RA staff and wanted everyone to be happy. Unfortunately, the Boss from Hell had already destroyed all good staff dynamics.
I was fat, unhappy, and a mental health disaster. Sometime in the beginning of April, it began to become more difficult for me to take deep breaths and I was feeling my heart work really hard anytime I moved. One afternoon, I called my parents to let them know I wanted to come home for the evening because I didn’t feel well and I wanted my mommy. I never showed up and stopped answering my phone.
When I wandered down in my robe to my floor’s bathroom to shower, I started to feel even worse. I felt dizzy and confused. Apparently, when you’re dizzy and can’t get a good full breath, you lose control of your bodily functions. I may or may not have left a turd trail through the bathroom. Sorry, 3rd floor Siddall residents of 2008-2009…TWAS I, THE POOP BANDIT.
After desecrating the bathroom, I got into the shower. I immediately felt even worse due to the steam. I sat on the disgusting concrete floor with the water running to try to catch my breath enough to be able to stand back up. It never happened.
After not hearing from me after an hour or two, my dad came down to campus to find me. He located me in the bathroom and I was coherent enough to agree that perhaps I needed to go to the hospital to figure out what the hell was going on.
My dad and the dorm staff called for an ambulance since I was weak enough that there was no way I was going to be able to walk out of the building. Once the EMTs got to me, they tested my oxygen. It was low. Their best guess was that either I had pneumonia or blood clots in my lungs. I remember thinking that I really hoped it was pneumonia. Because sane people wish for pneumonia.
They launched me onto the gurney and wheeled me onto the elevator. All of this happened during dinnertime, so I’m pretty sure there were lots of residents in the lobby who saw me not so modestly covered with my robe. It is what it is.
They turned on the sirens of the ambulance and sped to University Hospital. The sirens were a highlight of my trip for sure. I like knowing that I’ve caused chaos in my wake.
Once they got me into the ER, asked questions, and ran some tests, they quickly came to the conclusion that I had blood clots in my lungs that were cutting off oxygen to my brain and making my heart pump harder.
I was on Yasmin (birth control) to regulate my periods and make my hormones get their shit together. A nasty little side effect of that is that it can cause blood clots that can kill you. The doctor in the ER was livid when she heard what I was on. She mentioned that it needed to be taken off the market because I was not alone in my experience. Other countries have banned Yasmin. It’s still prescribed in the US today.
After a heparin drip, spending two nights in the ICU, and a few more nights on a regular floor with the wackos of University Hospital, I was released.
For the first week or so, I had to inject myself in the stomach with Lovenox. I gave myself a nasty skin infection that I had to get an antibiotic for…because my body likes to keep things fun.
After that, it was six months of warfarin and weekly blood tests. Everyone always fails at drawing my blood on a good day, and while I was on blood thinners, it looked like I got into weekly street brawls with how bruised I would get.
Once six months passed, it was determined that I was fine and did not need to continue blood thinners for the rest of my life. I was not genetically susceptible to blood clots. Mine were purely caused by the birth control.
Moral of the story? Don’t take Yasmin unless you like dropping deuces in dorms and showing too much skin to college freshmen.