Saturday, March 9, 2013

A New Life

Who wears a medical identification bracelet?  I do! What for you ask? Well I am taking a drug called Coumadin (wayfaring therapy).  This crazy drug is a blood thinner and once I complete the bridging process to Coumadin with daily blood level checks I will just have to take pills each evening.  With every drug to put into your body there are things you have to be mindful of. With this particular drug, I have to look out for excessive and unexplainable bruises (meaning internal bleeding), watch out for cutting myself as little as a paper cut, with shaving, having bloody noses etc. If I am unable to control bleeds with 10 minutes of pressure off to the hospital I go!

This drug is affected by, herbs, diet, alcohol and more. I have had to read and reread the laundry list of things that I normally eat that affect this drug in a negative way.  The goal of this is to make sure that my INR levels are maintained at a certain level and for me that level is somewhere in a range of a 2 -3.  Each day since my release of the hospital I have had to check my INR levels at a local Coag clinic.  It is to say the least the most interesting things that I have had to do. First, I am very thankful that I am not afraid to self administer shots at home (twice a day for a short time) because I really don't have the time to go to a clinic twice a day and then a third for a blood level check.  Some people actually do.

I tend to eaves-drop while I am there. I am by far the youngest person to attend the coag clinic. I have yet to see a young person other than myself and I also gauge that by each RN's reaction when they meet me for the first time.  Most are shocked, wondering why I am there, simply, they ask what happened?  I repeat my story every other day and for those who have seen me they root for me, say hi and check in on me if they are with someone else.  I have learned a lot about some of the elderly patients that are there.  It is certainly something that makes me laugh.

So, the appointment goes like this... I enter and receive my hospital wrist identification band, the RN greets me in the waiting room with my chart and we head back to a office looking room (desk, chairs, computer, blood pressure cuff and supplies on the desk such as Sharps containers, alcohol pads, and the needles they use to prick your fingers).  We review my vitals (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and a few questions). Those are entered into the computer.  Then the RN checks my blood by cleaning my finger (usually the middle one) turns on the little computer that will run the  blood through and pricks my finger squeezes blood and submits it to the computer.  If there isn't an error then the computer will spit a number out today's was 1.9 (not in range 2-3 ugh).  We discuss what dosage of Coumadin I will take that evening and discuss the game plan. 

This is my new normal way of living. It will change a little bit once I get into range (hopefully by Monday) then I will be able to stop self injecting the Lovenox.  I am certainly not complaining. It could be worse, so I am very thankful that this is my new life as annoying or an inconvenience it may seem. 

I now wear a medical bracelet, I have new perspective on life, I must admit I am a little worried for the future and those unknowns but I am reassured to live life to its fullest and enjoy every moment.  I am very much a rule follower. I am probably a better patient than my husband is. I find myself rereading all the pamphlets and folders of information about the drugs I am taking, the stroke type I had, and educating myself through questions with all the  medical personnel that I come into contact with.  It is a new life! It is a new journey. I take it head on!

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