What I did after my holiday

This week has been somewhat eventful.

While in San Francisco, I managed to bark my shin on the metal step of a streetcar. A queue of people were boarding – those in front of me stopped, those behind didn’t, jostling me forward.

It hurt like hell for a good half-hour, but then it quickly dulled to an ache – nothing to worry about. The skin was broken, so I found a chemist, and applied antiseptic. I then got on with my holiday – it didn’t stop me walking or otherwise hold me back.

Just before I flew back, I noticed that my shin felt warm, and the skin around the cut looked red. I applied more antiseptic, and put ice on it, which calmed it down. Again, I considered it only a minor annoyance. The day after I got back, my shin was still inflamed, so I made an appointment with my GP, just to be safe.

So I went into the doctor on Tuesday, explained what had happened, and that I thought I may have cellulitis or something similar. He agreed, and gave me a week’s antibiotics. He then started talking about DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). I said I didn’t think that was a problem, as I had no history of it, I always wear compression socks when flying, and the pain was in my shin, not the calf or thigh muscles. Nevertheless, he insisted.

Which means that on Tuesday, I had to have two blood thinning injections to the stomach. On Wednesday, I returned in the morning for blood tests, and in the afternoon for two more injections, also to the stomach. This morning (Thursday) I spent at Peterborough’s shiny new hospital, answering the same questions my GP had asked, having further blood tests, and having my leg scanned by ultrasound.

During the morning, I think I was asked by 3 different people how long had I had calf pain – each time, I patiently said that I thought there was nothing wrong with my calf, my pain was in my shin, because I had banged it against a step. It didn’t seem an unreasonable diagnosis to me.

Finally, they let me go – no DVT, no problem. “But that cut looks inflamed – you’d better see your GP about it.”


  1. March 24, 2011

    It could have been worse. If you ask for a “chemist” in the US, you’re apt to be sent to a university chemistry department.

    • chris
      March 26, 2011

      Oh, I didn’t need to ask, I just walked into a place I passed that looked right. Of course, it was a pharmacy, but my mind was thinking “chemist”.

      Generally speaking, we do use the word pharmacy over here, but it tends to be the *department* of the shop we call the chemist, for the prescription only medicines. So you would go into a chemists, and then go to the pharmacy counter.

      (Although I am always wary of saying “this is what we say here”, as there is so much variance across the country)

  2. chris
    March 26, 2011

    As an aside, up until yesterday, I was wondering why it was taking so long after my flight back for me to stop feeling tired all the time.

    Then the penny dropped – I have been on high-dosage antibiotics since Tuesday. That will do it.

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