CHAPEL HILL, NC (WNCN) – A woman from Leasburg is grateful to be back on her feet after months of surgeries and rehabilitation.
It all started with an unusual accident, but the disease discovered by doctors affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.
Lori Dodson never expected her to spend so much time in the Deep Vein Thrombosis Clinic at UNC, and never imagined the series of events that would get her here.
“It all happened just by falling into a tiny little hole,” she explained. “You know those little water meters that are sometimes in the grass but have a cover on it like a manhole cover … The cover slipped to the side and I fell into the hole in the meter d ‘water, up to the thighs. ”
It happened while she was on vacation across the country. The accident left a huge gash in his leg which required surgery. Then the family had to return from Texas to North Carolina.
“I really thought that would be the end, and it really was just the start,” Dodson said. “My leg swelled really big and the swelling never went down.”
Doctors at UNC determined that blood clots were the cause of the swelling.
“It was a very serious case,” noted medical assistant Cassi Frank, who runs the deep vein thrombosis clinic at UNC.
“I ended up having blood clots that started from the top of my leg to the bottom of my leg,” Dodson added.
According to the CDC, blood clots affect up to 900,000 people in the United States each year.
“It can be very serious very quickly,” Frank said. “We really want people to recognize the signs and symptoms and kind of think, ‘My leg is swollen; It is an emergency similar to a heart attack or stroke.
Many patients can be treated with medication alone, but Dodson also required two surgeries. Doctors believe the trauma from the initial accident and the operation as well as the long drive back from Texas may have led to blood clots. Due to his injury, Dodson was unable to stand or move around during the trip.
She is grateful to her medical team for finding the clots when they did, as blood clots from the legs can travel to the lungs. “This, in a lot of cases, can be fatal,” Frank explained.
UNC physicians can refer patients directly to the UNC Deep Vein Thrombosis Walk-In Clinic rather than sending them to the emergency room. The clinic treats patients and then follows up to make sure they are recovering well and have the medications they need.
Dodson will need medicine for a while, but she is grateful that she can walk again and hopes what happened to her will remind others to take the signs of blood clots seriously.
These signs include: swelling in one leg, chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain when breathing deeply. Any symptom like this should be considered an emergency.
Dodson, who retained his sense of humor throughout the situation, also offered additional advice. “Just watch out for the holes in the water meters,” she said. “Don’t step on the covers.”