Sometimes life can get crazy, and everything happens at once. That was the case for me during the last few months of 2011. There were so many things going on that I took a break from blogging. There were a couple of weddings and the holidays. Meanwhile, I continued to battle bleeds, chronic pain and depression.
Last time, in part 1 of Signs of Life, I told you about the time I was in first grade and fell and hit my face while playing outside in the snow with our dog. The accident landed me in the hospital repeatedly for transfusions of cryoprecipitate; I was out of school for more than a month with a swollen, horrifically bruised face. I was an unrecognizable caricature of myself. A woman had just confronted my mom about my bruised face.
Animals have been a part of my life since I was about 4 years old. I grew up on a 56-acre farm. We had up to 50 quarter horses (my sister showed them), Black Angus cows, barn cats and dogs. It’s my belief that animals, especially dogs and cats, know when their owners are sick or not feeling well. Because I have hemophilia, I’ve noticed this with each animal I’ve had in my life, particularly dogs and cats.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about all the experiences I’ve had with my health and hemophilia over the past year. What I haven’t really talked about is the effect hemophilia has had on my relationships over the years—family, work and romantic. It’s tough for people with hemophilia, in that they experience pain from bleeds and have to endure endure infusions, hospitalizations, etc. These things affect their loved ones, too—spouses, partners, parents, siblings and friends.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve written about the issue with my left hip. I had numerous bleeding episodes into that joint throughout my teens and 20s and am now dealing with significant arthritis there. I experience daily pain and mobility issues as a result.
Last week, I left off wondering, “Could it be that driving a car with a clutch was making my hip bleed after all?” While I was at the hospital receiving a transfusion of cryoprecipitate to treat the most recent bleed in my left hip, the hematologist talked with my mom about what we needed to do going forward. The doctor felt it was certainly possible my hip bleeds were a result of me driving cars with manual transmissions and using the clutch.
After my 15th birthday, all I could think about was turning 15 years and 8 months old—the age at which I could obtain my learner’s permit to drive a car. I grew up on a 56-acre horse farm and had been driving around the farm for some time. We had a driveway that was a quarter-mile long, so I was allowed to drive to the end to get the mail.
Last year, when I had to leave my job as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) due to hemophilia-related issues, one of my biggest concerns was how I would maintain my medical and dental insurance coverage. For the previous 3 1/2 years, my health insurance had covered 100% of my hemophilia-related expenses.