19 September 2003
Well, nothing can be simple.
Today was going to be simple.
The plan was for me to go to the office and help interview the four
"finalists" for my replacement. Dr. G's wife picked me up at the appointed time
and we were off to a good start. Dr. G was interviewing one applicant while I was checking
out the computer skills of the other, etc.
when there was a break in the interviews, I asked if he could just check out my knee.
It's still quite swollen and I just wanted to make sure that it looked like
"normal" healing. He said he would look at it, but he wouldn't give me any sort
of opinion, since that's not his field.
Last week I had called the advice nurse at Kaiser about the same knee, worried that I
might be developing thrombophlebitis (blood clot) due to the dark bruising on the back of
my knee (which I hadn't noticed before because the front was so swollen). We decided at
that time that since I was seeing the orthopedist in 2 days, there was no need to panic.
But then in the 1-1/2 minutes I had with the orthopedist, I simply forgot to mention
it, in my euphoria about not needing surgery.
It's still quite swollen and there are now some red blotches down my leg.
Dr. G took a look at it, felt the skin (warm) and said "this must be seen NOW.
Call Kaiser and if they won't get you in right away, let me talk to them."
I called Kaiser and they said that my primary care physician would call me back. In
about half an hour, he did. I described the problem and he asked if I thought I should be
seen or if he should prescribe something. I got him on the phone with Dr. G, who described
my symptoms. Ultimately, John (my primary care physician) said to come in now and he'd see
Well, this presented a little problem. I can't drive and Walt was on his way to San
Francisco to see an opera. And we had patients in the office later in the afternoon, which
meant Dr G's wife needed to be there, but she drove me to Kaiser and I told her I'd find a
ride home. A number of people have generously offered to give me a ride whenever I need it
and I was confident I could find someone.
John looked at my leg and said that he didn't think I had a blood clot, but that
he had to be sure so he was sending me for an ultrasound.
20 miles away.
If ultrasound showed a blood clot, I was to come right back and he would start me on a
I borrowed a phonebook and the phone and started calling all the wonderful people who
have offered to help, but at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, they, surprisingly, weren't
sitting by the phone waiting in case I needed help.
I finally reached Nancy, who has been so supportive of my food fotolog project, has
brought me plates for photographing, and has just been a wonderful friend. "I can
drive you later," she said, "...but I'm having a luncheon here right now."
I thanked her and told her that I really needed someone right then, and that I'd find
someone else (tho, in truth, I was running out of options).
"No," she said. "I'll be right there." She left her luncheon table
and drove right over to pick me up. Somehow I had garbled the full message and I think she
thought she was driving me home, but when I explained I needed a ride to Sacramento, she
got on her cell phone to her luncheon guests and explained the situation and we were off
We got there, I got greased and poked and prodded and finally pronounced clear of blood
clots--big relief all around.
It was 5 by the time Nancy returned me home. I called the office to let Dr. G know that
I was OK and it turned out he still had two candidates to interview so I agreed to come
back down and finish the interview process. His wife came and picked me up again.
We selected a candidate to offer the job to and then Dr. G brought me home, with
instructions to keep my legs elevated as much as possible until the swelling goes down and
the danger is past.
So I now have a good reason to be slothful and spend my time reclining in the recliner
with a remote control in my hand. But at least I don't have a blood clot--right now--and I
am very grateful that I finally got it all checked out.
Most of all, I am so incredibly grateful to Nancy for dropping everything to take me to
Sacramento. Thank you, my friend!