Hit in the Gut
Sunday, February 14, in addition to being Valentine’s Day, was Losar, the Tibetan New Year. We spent a lovely evening at our friend Rebecca’s house celebrating Losar with about 95% of the Buffalo Tibetan community (six students), and I ate more than my fill of momo, or Tibetan dumplings. The next day I had a bit of an upset stomach, so I figured either I ate too much, or something I ate didn’t agree with me. Tuesday I was still feeling poorly and was not at my best in class. Wednesday I decided to cancel Thursday’s classes. Friday day night I was in severe pain and finally asked Kristina to take me to the emergency room around midnight [UPDATE: Kristina tells me it was Thursday night. I was out of it and lost track].
I was taken care of quickly, and a catscan showed that I had portomesenteric vein thrombosis–a blood clot in the portal vein that leads from the bowels to the liver. This explained the painful feeling of fulness and extremely tender abdomen and inability to eat anything. I was immediately admitted and treated–IV, ultrasound (to make sure there was no ulcer), heparin, the whole nine yards. Since I had a deep vein thrombosis in my leg a few years ago (the result of a 14-hour plane flight from Australia), I’m now waiting on test results to see if I have a hypercoagulation disorder.
I’m fine now–resting at home for the week with an assortment of DVDs and a bed full of cats to keep me company–and will be back in the classroom next week. Of course, I’ll be on blood thinners for a while–and if I do have a hypercoagulation disorder, probably forever. The thing is, I had never heard of any of these conditions four days ago. So, first of all–thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the union movement that I have health insurance! (Now we just need a single payer plan so everyone is similarly protected.) And second, stomach pain that lasts for more than a couple of days is nothing to be trifled with.
I Tweeted updates from the hospital room, and I really appreciated all the kind thoughts from my Twitter and Facebook friends. Kristina was an angel, by my side the whole time, and my wonderful friends Rebecca and Kunchok came to visit me–thank you all!