Friday, 28 May 2010

Warfarin wanderings and wonderings

So life carries on since my week in hospital, it’s as if I was never ill. How annoying, I didn’t realise how nice people are to you when you get hospitalised, I absolutely revelled in the attention and I kind of miss it now. Don’t miss the embolism that much though.

Although life is carrying on, it is now slightly modified and there are new things for me to consider/come to terms with.

One is the presence of Warfarin in my life. For those not in the know, it’s a blood thinner (and a rat poison) which has, you know, thinned my blood, ensuring that it whizzes round my body and doesn’t get the chance to clot (that’s basically the science).
I am on it for 6 months at first, then after 6 weeks I’ll have a blood test which will determine whether it was just a one off or whether I’ll have to take it for life.
Things I now have to consider

1. Going to the anti-coagulant clinic.
I have to go here regularly to have my blood tested to check that it’s not too thick or too thin. This is called an INR rating and it’s basically the time it takes your blood to clot. Normal people will have an INR reading of 1. I need to have one of between 2 and 3. Too low and they increase my warfarin, too high and they decrease it.

How regularly I go will depend on how stable they think my INR is/will be. My first appointment since leaving the hospital was on Monday of this week and my INR was only 1.6 so they increased my dose and I had to go back today to see how it was going. (It's 1.4. No that's not good. But that's going to be a whole other Warfarin-filled drama post) Once it’s stable then the visits to the clinic will drop off to just monthly appointments, unless I am prescribed any medication, in which case I will come in more frequently to check the medicine isn't messing with the Warfarin. Any over the counter things I want I will have to talk to the pharmicist first for advice.

It’s not so bad though, the clinic is in a lovely area of Hull called The Avenues and I’m more than happy to wander there, feeling huge pangs of envy looking at the gorgeous houses and admiring all the trees. Photos from my travels are illustrating this post to break up the really boring text.

2. Cranberries are no longer my friends
I’m not allowed to eat, drink or ingest them in any form while I’m on warfarin. Apparently they react with the warfarin (it’s science, don’t ask me why). With some people it makes no difference at all and with other people it can send their INR rating sky high so to be safe there’s a blanket ban.
Sorry cranberries.

3. Watching out for the leafy greens
When we were young, Mum allowed us to name 2 vegetables that we wouldn’t be forced to eat. Mine were broccoli and spinach. Now I’m a ‘grown-up’ I eat them just fine but I really don’t love them.

Now I have a cast iron excuse not to eat them. I can’t have masses of vitamin K (more science stuff) in my diet so that means I have to make sure I don’t eat too much cabbage, broccoli, spinach etc etc. I can still eat them but in moderation. No broccoli binges for me now.

4. No being a superhero
Because I have thin blood I need to look after myself. I will bruise more easily which should be fun, I can show them off to people. However, if I cut myself badly I will bleed like a bitch so no more playing with knives. And if I get hit or fall over or sustain some kind of trauma then there’s a risk of internal bleeding so it’s safe to say my rugby playing career is over before it’s started. I need to try and keep myself out of trouble.

Failing that all my friends know to tell the paramedics that I’m on warfarin should I decide I have to go and break up that fight that’s happening on the other side of the street and get injured.
5. Bye bye binge drinking
The most devastating news of all is that I can no longer drink alcohol. Ok. That’s not strictly true. I’m allowed 1 unit of alcohol a day but as far as I’m concerned it’s just not worth it. I am the original binge drinker – I drink to get drunk, and that is now officially a thing of the past. I did ask if I could save up my units of alcohol during the week to go out on a weekend but apparently it doesn’t work that way.

It shouldn’t be a big deal but it’s thrown me for a loop which has actually made me question my relationship with alcohol a little bit. Probably a post for another time.

The potential good news is that my blood is so thin a glass of wine might just do the trick.

So not massive changes to be made, but enough to make a little bit of change to my life and enough to make me ponder the life, the universe and everything as I wander from the clinic back home, taking a shortcut through Pearson Park and maybe lying under a tree, in the sun for a little bit...


Anonymous said...

No more brocolli binges? Life wouldn't be worth living!

The alcohol thing would get me - 1 unit isn't even a glass of wine is it...?

Taz said...

Wow that's a lot of rules.
I've heard of the pineapple rule but never the cranberry one.
OMG how lucky were you to have a mum that let you name 2 vegetables you didn't have to eat!
So sorry to hear about your rugby career :(

Kelly said...

Oh I dissappear for a couple of weeks and look what you did!!!! Sweetie make sure you look after yourelf properly! And no playing with knives :)

Smiffy's Blog said...

Oh dear, lots of changes for you. My Dad was on them for a while and I think he couldn't have grapefruit either? I hope the shoes are in the bin! Look after yourself sweetie. Sue x

topchelseagirl said...

Well think of all that money you'll save on alcohol - then treat yourself to something fab.

Flitterbee said...

I like the pictures :)

Jill said...

All these new rules you've got to live by - what a pain in the arse.

You should definitely splash a little cash on something nice for yourself - you've had a few bad weeks, what with the ankle and your hospital stay - you deserve a treat (definitely not high heels though - promise).

The Curious Cat said...

Is the alcohol rule for life?! I hope not... I need to seriously cut down myself. I'm not even a big lover of it but everywhere I go I get offered a big glass of is so hard to avoid!!! As for spinach binges...terrible news... :) Shit, taking regular medication must seem like such a ball-ache (why am I being so colloquial this morning I do not know?!) gran used to take asprin everyday and drink a bottle of wine and that helped thin her blood...maybe that could be your alternative therapy? Only prob was it went the other way and she had a stroke eventually... Weird about the cranberries...and I'm sorry to hear your rugby career is over before it began... alas... :( xxx

P said...

It worries me that of all things you listed, it was not being able to binge drink that made me want to gasp in horror!!!!