Warning to anyone reading this post: this is material I wrote five years ago. I posted it to keep the blog turning over while I prepared for studying overseas. To read this story from the beginning, you need to go back to a post titled 'Adam's Rib' on 18 July 2007.
I returned several weeks later to the specialist's rooms for the proposed tests. The ultrasound revealed that damage to the veins had been minimal: only tiny specks of clot remained on their walls. My veins were patent: ‘They’re so open I could drive a truck through them!’ the ultrasound technician declared.
She put me through the karma sutra of unlikely overhead arm manoeuvres to test for thoracic outlet syndrome on both sides, then hooked me up to the arteriogram, a machine that looked like something out of an H G Wells novel. Although the vein was partially compressed when I raised my arms above shoulder height, this phenomenon was to be found in most people, the technician told me. Basically, there was no sign that I suffered from genuine thoracic outlet syndrome.
I asked the technician about the kink in the vein I had seen on the angiogram with my arm in the ’stick ’em up’ position. She said that there wasn’t any narrowing of the vein to be seen after the 'ballooning', though the ultrasound technology was not as sensitive as the angiogram, which might be more revealing.
‘But the vein would kink in that position anyway,' she told me. 'It would be stiff after having a thrombus in it.'
I went home and lay on my bed and shook for an hour. Perhaps the clot had been the cat's doing after all. I'd been told that I had a syndrome: where had it gone? If I had had the surgery, I would never have known these results were possible.