I'll apologize in advance...its going to be a long, personal post.
My family is really close. Mostly they are obnoxious, loud and crass, but that makes me love them all the more. When we get together for family functions, usually at my Aunt's house, the men congregate around the TV in the basement to argue about football or anything else that may come up. That's what they do, argue (in that funny family way) at the top of their lungs about.any.thing!
The women have their own little ritual...gather in the kitchen around the food and the TV to argue about the men...and football of course! We are all very much alike Grandma, Aunt, Cousin and I.
Cousin is my only fellow women in my generation in my entire extended family. She means a lot to me.
If you follow me on twitter you know she has had a rough couple of days and here's the story...
A few years ago she started bruising easily. None of the doctors could figure out why. She went for tests. They turned up nothing unusual. She went for more tests, to new doctors and nothing. Finally, after leaving one doctor's visit the doctor came running out of the office to catch them. She had an idea to go on.
Cousin got a genetic profile done and after waiting what seemed like forever, the results were back. She had tested positive. She has a rare genetic disorder (sorry its rare enough that I don't think I should name it) that makes her veins, arteries, and connective tissue weak. Weak to the point of just breaking and rupturing without a source of trauma. She will get a bruise by just looking at her arm the wrong way and there's nothing that can be done to fix them.
(Looking back on it Husband says that all they needed was a 2nd year medical student and they would have had a diagnosis sooner. He has learned about her disorder in almost every class because they only teach the things that can go wrong with the body and the more rare it is the more they learn about it...go figure. Needless to say, he has never missed a question over the topic!)
Even more shocking news to the family was that it is an autosomal dominate trait, meaning eanyone in her family blood line should have it too. No one else shows the severe symptoms she has. No one else has been tested. I don't know that I'm ready find out the truth myself yet...
Well, Monday morning Aunt called me. Cousin is in the hospital. She thought she and ruptured a vein in her leg. It kept getting worse and the pain became unbearable. Turns out she had ruptured not one, but 2 ARTERIES!
The doctors in Home-Town refused the case because the surgery to repair them was to difficult and risky. They transported her to the Big-City Hospital. (Which I was glad for, because I could visit her now)
Her lower leg was completely black and blue, the pulse in her foot was weak, and she hadn't eaten anything for a long time because they knew she would have surgery. All of this made for a
typical cranky cousin. (the women in my family like to eat and complain. I recommend not coming between us and our food fancies!) The surgeon agreed to take her case though and she was in surgery the next day. It took him 3 hours to feed a infant sized catheter up a vein in her foot and to her shin. The artery was to compromised to fix it the way they had hoped, but they stopped the bleeding.
She will hopefully go home tomorrow, but I worry about her. She is coming out of the hospital more bruised than when she went in. She had 3 IV blow outs because her veins were to weak to take the needles (bruising up and down both arms), the EKG monitor pads on her chest bruised her, and the tape from any adhesive bruised her too.
One of the saddest things is that she cannot get health insurance. No one will cover her pre-existing condition, not even the state plan because she doesn't have any children, she doesn't qualify. (Seriously people! If she DID get pregnant it would kill her!) At least they can still choose what doctor to visit and give her the best care possible. The surgeon was really good.
Wow that was a long drawn out story. Congratulations to those of you who made it this far! And thanks for listening. Finally I'll leave you with a couple pictures...