Perhaps I haven't had to fly long hours for the past 2 years that I experienced DVT. It shocked me, I was caught off guard. I got scared. I cried. But now I am thankful.
DVT, short for Deep Vein Thrombosis, is commonly mistaken as leg cramps when you're inflight. That's what happened to me the other day during my flight from Hong Kong to Paris via Cathay Pacific. I woke up from a short nap thinking my legs were cramping. After over an hour the pain did not go away and it got worse. The best way I can describe it is like having contractions all thru out your legs. Oh my goodness was it painful.
Taken from Aviation Knowledge website:
"Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, can be explained as a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Blood clots occur when the blood thickens and clumps together. DVT usually occurs in the lower leg or thigh, and this is one of the medical conditions that often happen on passenger on board in the aircraft, especially when you do not move a lot during the flight."
I finally decided to get a flight attendant to ask for a pain killer. I was in tears. She smartly sought her superiors advice and immediately I had four flight crew members assisting me. I got scared. They all looked so worried. I couldn't stand. I was experiencing excruciating pain on my whole left leg. My left leg was suffering but they said I had to force myself to stand and try to move my leg or else there might be "clotting" which is NOT GOOD!
They held me while I tried to stand. The crew members would move my leg for me because I could not do it on my own. They promised me and my husband that I will get better. They told me that it was smart of me to ask for assistance. believe me you, with that pain you will call out for help. After an hour I could already walk but with a limp. Now they asked me to lie down and they put hot compress on my leg to stimulate blood circulation.
I was very thankful to the crew especially after researching on what DVT really is. Everyone, please, be careful. It doesn't happen all the time but it does happen. I know we all ignore the inflight exercise videos but we have to make sure to practice it in flight especially if you are traveling in Economy class where there is less room for leg movement. If you could during check-in, request for more spacious seating. Also, travel wearing lose clothing. No skinny jeans for the girls. Hydrate yourself, drink lots of water. If you feel it's more than just a leg cramp DO NOT take pain killers right away. Ask for assistance. The inflight manager will know how to help you.
Do not worry, I am all better. It was my first time to experience anything like this. I often travel but I guess it was one of those days where in I was not hydrated, I was wearing tighter jeans, or I just did not move enough inflight ( I did a Modern Family marathon; and I was not laughing after 24 episodes of season 1). Lesson learned!
Will post more blog entries of my Euro-Trip 2011 in the next days as promised. Great finds in day one. Wait for it!! I know the flight was not a great start but I am super happy now!! Wait and see!!!