Tuesday, May 25, 2010

healthy rats

"And I have this pain in my shoulder.  Just like Uncle Mark had."

The conversation is imagined.  But it is exactly how I felt like Monday morning.  As if I had been sitting on the front porch of the local rest home rehearsing lines of passing with my fellow inmates.

But I was simply at my doctor's office getting my orientation to Coumadin.

Having spent the last twenty years in medical litigation, you would think I would have known something about Coumadin.  I didn't. 

I think I knew one co-worker who used Coumadin.  The only thing I learned from him is that he could not drink alcohol while using it.  Not really a concern for me.

The nurse at the clinic had one duty on Monday: to calm my fears about the use of Coumadin.  Not a problem.  No fear here.  At least, not before the orientation.

Example.  She told me not to worry if I heard Coumadin was rat poison.  It is not.  It merely makes rats bleed to death.  OK.  I feel a lot better now.

She showed me a video from the 80s filled with testimonials of people who kept repeating: Don't worry.  Don't worry.  Don't worry.

And we all know how that works.  Don't eat fat.  Don't drive too fast.  Don't touch the stove.

The result?  We end up obese with suspended licenses and burned fingers.

Almost like listening to presidents telling Americans they should not worry.  Just trust me.

But I am not worried.

Not even the finger prick for the blood test worried me.  It simply showed my Coumadin intake was not not high enough.  She upped my dosage.

I never thought to ask her at what level rats bleed to death.

I learned one other valuable lesson.  Over the weekend, whenever I would hop around the house or use my crutches, I would be out of breath.

I asked the nurse if that was a side effect of the Coumadin.  Wrong question.  She said "No" and immediately booked me to see a doctor -- with no real answer.

Lesson learned: keep your mouth shut.  And take your medication.

Except while rocking on that front porch.


Chrissy y Keith said...

Carry some super glue with you at all times should you need to stop the bleeding if you cut yourself. It is steril and will sting, but it will close things up until you can get help if needed.

Steve Cotton said...

Chrissy -- A much better idea than the stapler I was planning on using.

Laurie said...

Glue is a great idea. Don't worry Steve. I have a few horror stories of life with Coumadin among the Cajuns of South Louisiana. But I won't share them with you. Just avoid clearing out brier patches and the like.

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- Funny you mention briar pathes. While looking at my yard this morning, I realized how much weeding I need to do. On one leg and full of Coumadin. Hmmm. Sounds like a recipe for a dramatic post.

Anonymous said...

By the time they get your dosage where they want it you will be going off of it! If you have it checked weekly you will be fine. Just be consistent with what you eat. My husband had to be on coumadin for six weeks after aortic valve surgery. We absolutely hated him being on it but in this situation it most likely prevented him from throwing a clot when he went into fibrillation several times while healing. It will most likely do the same for you. He didn't have to change his eating habits but had to be consistent with what he ate. If he had greens and spinach he than had them everyday same amount. Hopefully, this clot will resolve itself before you know it. Hope all goes well. P.S. Hire someone to do your gardening. :)

Al said...

I helped my father manage his Coumadin after he had a stroke. You will get through it, Steve.

Irene said...

Just stay away from vampires. Seriously, hope all goes well and you are back to your healthy, happy self soon.

Steve Cotton said...

Anonymous -- I hope that the timing will work out to get me off the coumadin at the same time I am walking on a healthy ankle.

Al -- So far, it seems to be a snap -- and a great opportunity to be iconoclastic about another medical procedure.

Ireme -- I suspect most vampires would find my "blood lite" not to their taste.

Islagringo said...

Bob has been on Coumadin for six years with no problems at all. It is carried in all pharmacies in Mx so you should have no problem acquiring it upon your return. Should you still need it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can take comfort in the fact that after twenty years of medical litigation you were still unaware of Coumadin ?

Steve Cotton said...

Islagringo -- If all goes well, I will be off the Coumadin when I return to Mexico.

Anonymous -- Or that I am, more often than not, simply oblivious.