Friday, March 13, 2015

In case you were resting easy

Scanning the headlines this morning looking for cutting edge info for you, Dear Reader.  I am always on the alert for items to uplift you, to keep you safe and brighten your day.

And we are in luck:  From the TodayShow.com5 potentially deadly body pains you should never ignore. 

I figure the Today Show staff put this article together a while ago to use as filler on a slow news day – you know, a day where nothing truly awful happens in the world, but they must fulfill their mission of keeping us unnerved.

Or, maybe in their efforts to court the paranoid hypochondriac viewer, the Today Show has doomsday medical personnel on hand to develop a cache of items to stress about, just in case our days are filled with rational assessments and calibrated responses. 

For example, #1 on the list of You’d-better-worry-over-that-twinge-you-just-felt-because-everyday-things-are-just-waiting-to-kill-you! – Leg or calf pain could be: Deep vein thrombosis!

Deep vein thrombosis – A blood clot in a leg vein.  Yikes!  

“If you have a pain in your leg that feels different from a cramp, get to the emergency room!" admonishes emergency room physician Leigh Vinocur, with an urgent tone.

“We don’t want a clot to travel to your lungs and cause pulmonary embolism." 

No we don’t!  And thank you so much for putting me in a state of constant anxiety since I am now at a stage in life where everything hurts sometimes and leg cramps are the least of it!

Now we do not want to make light of a serious condition, but really?  That’s the progression of thought?  From, “Hey, this feels different from a leg cramp,” to “911!  Help!  Help!  My leg hurts!  I’m dying!  I’m dying!  Come get me!”

I’m just sayin’ there must be an interim step or two.

Because if you do go to the ER, it will require a sophisticated analysis of your leg pain.  You want to be sure that the pain you describe to the emergency room doctor is not confused with a garden variety charley horse.  So get your details in order before you pick up the phone:

“No!  This is not just any cramp.  I wouldn’t ask for a gurney for a common cramp!  This is totally different.  I would call this more of a contraction.  On the whole twinge–convulsion spectrum, this would probably rate somewhere in the realm of a spasm.  Not your typical spasm, though, or I would have just rubbed it like I usually do and begged off my Pilates class, like a normal person.”    

Deep vein thrombosis is sometimes called “economy class syndrome” because it affects car or plane travelers who sit long hours in cramped spaces, or people at work, or those who watch movies curled up on the couch or maybe a baseball game from the cheap seats. 

Great.  We’re in the ER, now what?

"They will do ultrasounds.  If it’s positive, they’ll give you blood thinners because we don’t want the clot to travel to your lungs and cause pulmonary embolism!" says the doc gleefully. 

OMG!!  Thank you so much for your dark warning!  What else should I be worried about?

#2. Upper back pain?  No!  I get that every day when I hunch over the computer to read this stuff!  Could be: Aortic dissection?!  You mean I could have a tiny tear in my aorta that allows the blood to create a false passage!  A false passage!  I hate that!  Not to mention the fact that all this screen time could lead to stroke, paralysis and kidney failure.  Holey Moley!

#3.  Dental pain?  Could be the popcorn hull that I couldn’t dislodge last night during our binge-watch of “House of Cards,” or: Ludwig's angina; a tooth abscess that has traveled down your neck causing swelling, your voice to sound funny and drooling.  Oh.  That. 

“It can actually track down to your airway and cause airway obstruction” Vinocur said, adding: "Don’t let a tooth ache get that bad.”  Thanks Mom.

Let’s see…#4.  Headache?  I’m afraid to ask…?  Sleeping funny?  “Downton Abbey” is unavailable to stream?!  No!  It could be: A bleeding stroke!  Aaauugh!

#5.  Abdominal pain?  Brace yourself…Could be: Ruptured ectopic pregnancy!? 

OK.  Well.  Some things don’t scare me.