Ticking Time Bomb

By Caitlin Branen

My name is Caitlin, I'm 18 years old. I'm from New York and this past fall moved out to Los Angeles for College. Everything was great, making new friends, seeing new places, enjoying my freedom and independence. I had just gotten back to school after I was home for two weeks for Christmas vacation. I started having really bad abdominal pain, I also was getting extreme leg pain. I couldn't go to any classes, I could barely walk to the bathroom without wanting to pass out. I had been to the emergency room twice in a matter of 5 days they did a bunch of tests and said nothing was wrong and sent me home.

Finally I couldn't take it anymore I called an ambulance to take me to the Hospital for a third time, when they arrived they wouldn't take me to the Hospital stating that they felt it was just a bad virus and not an emergency. So my friend took me to the emergency room again. Finally in a room in the ER, they thought it was my appendix, then they thought it was pelvic inflammatory disease. Finally after numerous tests and multiple doses of Morphine, they told me my entire lower body was filled with blood clots and emergency surgery had to be done the following morning.

I was by myself, my parents were still in New York. Long story short my parents eventually were able to fly out to me and what should have been a quick surgery turned into a 3 time thing, with other multiple procedures due to complications. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks, I had to stop school and hopefully start over again in the fall. Because of the surgery I am rebuilding myself physically and mentally. They told me that if I hadn't been persistent and come back to the ER, there is no doubt I would have died. The clotting was so severe my IVC was completely blocked as well as most of the blood flow in my legs, they had also found traces of clots through my heart. Thankfully they were able to get the blood flow back almost completely in my legs but my IVC was so bad it had already started to collateralize.

This is something I never expected to endure especially at such a young age. I am now on blood thinners for what they tell me will be the rest of my life. They have warned me about risks with certain foods, medication, drinks, and pregnancy. It's very difficult to understand why this had to happen, and why this happens to anyone, but then I think, it could be worse.