Life in the Intensive Care Unit is not a picnic. Bright lights and a constant roar are a way of life. Of course, life is the business of the ICU. The easy existence in a world of chaos cannot be. When a patient has a blood clot perched in a precarious place, and the docs determine that the future can be long or very short, every minute counts. My blood was as thick as spring water as the Heparin flowed into my veins. What was happening was clear. Why this was going on became the murky question of the hour.
I introduced the answers into the conversation myself as a light went on in my thick scull. This threatening situation was my fault. Instinctively, I knew that. I am working on a book proposal and writing this blog. I am spending an enormous amount of time, maybe five or six hours at once, sitting at he computer. It never occurred to me to stand and take a few steps.
When healthy individuals sit, they move their legs around and change positions with some frequency. Legs are crossed or extended straight out. Feet tap or rest on a stool or other object. When someone with MS or other illness that limits mobility sits, legs become dead weights. They do not move, sometimes sending a warning signal by going to sleep or pulsating with pins and needles. I was oblivious.
Now add insult to injury. My right side, extremities and all, is worthless. Fine motor skills abandoned ship long ago. I wrote my last books with my left hand alone. And I am legally blind, which means I must sit with my face practically touching the screen. The scene looks ridiculous. My back aches as I hold that position for long periods of time. When I finally shift in the chair, my feet do not move. When my back aches, I do not think of my feet.
I do not think of anything but my sorry prose. I stay focused and trust my language will grow sharper with endless revisions. Learning to concentrate is an acquired skill for a writer. A wandering mind is no friend in the world of words. I was too busy to entertain the idea that a quiet killer was stalking me. And I was aiding and abetting the would-be murderer.
The lesson is obvious. Stand up at least once in every hour. Move around, and when you sit, try to change position. It is easy and painless. This easy act may clear you brain as well as your vein. I do not begin to know what an individual in a wheelchair does to stave off clots. I suspect that moving legs, even with hands, will do the trick.
I am convinced that mine was a self-inflicted wound. Live and learn.