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  • Writer's pictureemma beckett

Defying DVT: My Wilderness Travel with a Torn Muscle

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

A Twist Before the Adventure: My Calf Injury

Hey guys, as you know, a few days before we were due to travel to Granada, I put a grade 2 or grade 3 tear in my left calf muscle. This led to me being in A&E until five in the morning where the orthopaedic surgeons wanted to perform a simple operation to stitch my muscle back together.

"View of padded crutch handles, Emma's medical-booted left leg, and visible thigh tattoo. A marble floor complements the scene."
Walking through the airport

However, I knew that would mean a longer recovery time and no flying. I wanted to still come on our trip to Orgiva because it felt very important to me.

Making the Tough Decisions: Choosing Adventure Over Surgery

I make these decisions regularly. While I am completely aware that most people don't understand the perceived risks that I take a lot of the time, I take the risks within parameters that feel comfortable to me.

After speaking with the specialist at the hospital and telling them in detail about my trip, including that we were going to live in the wilderness in mountainous terrain, I expressed my passion for keeping the trip alive. I truly believed I could go ahead.

Navigating The Risks: My Commitment to the Journey

The surgeons decided that I could be given their permission to try a more conservative treatment. This would include wearing a medical boot, the same as you would wear for a fractured bone, for six weeks with a wedge in the heel to keep my toe area slightly pointed. This would give my muscle the most opportunity to knit back together and would prevent the biggest concern which was a total rupture of the muscle.

The Silver Lining: Missing Our Initial Flight

As you know, I missed our initial flight.

Looking back, I believe that was a great thing because what that meant was I had five more days where I was relatively sensible. I spent a lot of time with my leg elevated, no weight-bearing, allowing the muscles to knit back together.

Medical Measures for Safety: Fragmin Injections

In order for them to clear me for flying, they gave me injections of Fragmin 5000 IU 0.2 ml. This is a blood-thinning injection that they asked me to give myself into my stomach every day within two hours of the same time because the torn muscle was extremely close to the area where DVT is often caused.

"Close-up of Emma holding an unopened preloaded injection, with River's hand blurred in the background."
Unopened Fragmin injection

In the Face of DVT: Ensuring Safe Travel

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious concern on long-haul flights and is a serious concern with an injury where you've torn some tissue, especially around the calf area.

Knowing I was going to be combining the two with limited movement, which is another concern for DVT, they insisted that I took the blood-thinning injections even whilst out in the wilderness to lower my chances of getting DVT with

River, My Lifesaver: Administering Injections

I found my rhythm with these injections at home, and River became an expert at helping to give me the injections. This took away some of the pain because it's much easier when someone else is administering an injection. Since the injections were subcutaneous (under the skin), it was very simple for anyone to administer with some education.

I felt that this was a great part of River's education, and we talked about safety when administering injections and when handling needles.

Side effects they don't warn you about

After 10 days of these injections I woke up with a blood clot on my mouth, confused and slightly concerned I went to the bathroom and started rinsing my mouth out and could see that my gums were bleeding. A quick Google told me that this was normal and my gums had probably been bleeding all night in my sleep then slowly forming the clot. Gross!

Now, 3 days after I have stopped taking the medication, my gums are still so sore and delicate. I've always had great oral health so this isn't the most pleasant and I'm looking forward to getting back to normal.

Blood-Thinning and My Cycle: An Unexpected Challenge

As I have adenomyosis, which is a disorder where the endometrium grows within the muscle of the womb, I'm actually on blood-thinning medication when it is time for my cycle to stop me from bleeding out.

It's going to be interesting to see how my cycle is affected by two weeks of blood-thinning injections, but deep vein thrombosis is not something to play with.

Understanding DVT: A Dangerous Complication

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis. It can also develop in other areas of the body. DVT can cause pain and swelling, but may occur without any symptoms.

The biggest risk is that a piece of the blood clot could break off and travel to the lungs, causing a potentially fatal condition known as a pulmonary embolism.

To prevent DVT in travel with a torn muscle its vital to follow medical advice in my opinion.

Factors that increase the risk of developing DVT include immobility (such as during long flights), surgery, injury, certain medications, and some medical and genetic conditions.

For the Love of Adventure: Taking the Risks Head-On

Clearly I educated myself on the risks and the ways to mitigate the risks and went ahead with our trip. I believe all we have is right now and life is for living - carpé diem all the way!

The things I do for travel and adventure…

Love and adventure always,



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