Monthly Archives: October 2021

Good News

Thanks for your good wishes everybody – I can now report that after two days with no Warfarin I am back in the target zone and, with any luck, will stay there.

The cause might simply be Covid, or it might be that I changed my diet dramatically during Covid. You can never be quite sure. However, as I also changed my diet dramatically whilst my leg was bad, and didn’t see any changes from that, it might be as simple as just having Covid.

There are other drugs available, but I need to lose weight before I can use them, so the remedy is in my hands. I’ve been eating a bit more over the last few days, in case that was part of the problem, but now have to stop again. I have already lost a reasonable amount of weight after the episode with my leg (loss of appetite and the inability to walk to the fridge both helping my will power) and I want to build on that.

My ideal weight, according to my medical records, is 12 stone (or 168 pounds for those of you who work that way). When I was 16 and looked like a beanpole, I was twelve and a half stone, and when I went to work I  bulked up a bit with all the physical work and ended up at about 14 stone. That was, to be fair, where I should have stopped. In those days my ideal weight was 14 stone according to the medical profession. Like so many things over the years, they have adjusted things to make me look worse.

I am off to bed now (still tired after Covid) and am going to start tomorrow with healthy habits in mind. The reason for the poppy? We still have one or two blooming every morning – they really are very persistent.

Slowly Bleeding to Death

I have atrial fibrillation, as does Mark Spitz, the record-breaking American swimmer.  Mine isn’t as dramatic as his, mine was simply discovered when I went to the doctor and she listened to my heart.

“You have an irregular heartbeat.” she said.

“I know, I’ve had it for years.”

“We really should do something about it.”

That’s why I hate going to the doctor – I always come away with more than I take in.

I have an International Normalized Ratio (INR) test every few weeks to see how my blood is clotting. I need this because the doctors make me take Warfarin to stop my blood clotting too quickly. Until a few years ago I thought of Warfarin as a very effective rat poison.

If you have a normal set-up you have an INR of around 1. If you have atrial fibrillation they try to get it in the range 2.0 -3.0 which stops it clotting and prevents strokes and heart attacks. If you have a mechanical heart valve they like it to be a bit higher. It’s nothing special, a million of us have it in the UK and ten percent of the over 75s have it.

However, it can be a bit variable, and you may have noticed that I often complain about the testing, as the results can be very imprecise, which annoys me. I do my bit – eat a dull and unvaried diet, take the pills at the same time each day and let them take regular bloods. They, on the other hand, don’t do much, as I recently pointed out to them.

So, I believe I had got as far as 3.5 for people with mechanical heart valve and similar problems. The next step is 5.0 – 8.0. They start getting twitchy at this sort of level, particularly if it is accompanied by bleeding, and start threatening vitamin K injections. At 8.0 they start getting very twitchy . . .

And at 9.6, if you haven’t admitted to any bleeding, they tell you to stop taking the pills immediately and to go for another blood test in two day’s time.

I’m not sure whether to worry or claim it as a personal best.

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward

It’s not been one of my better times. Starting in August and continuing to the present, I have been dogged by a variety of conditions, which have all contributed to wearing me down. I’m hoping that there will be better times ahead. However, in August I seem to have thought that a week or two should do the trick, and that proved to be a hopelessly bad assessment of the situation.

Hopefully, I am now back and will be improving over the next few weeks. Having thought that in August and then again in September (just before I caught Covid) I am going to be slightly less vocal about my likely improvement. Even my ten days in isolation turned into twelve when Julia tested positive. Everything in my life seems to take longer and be less good than it once was. I suppose this is old age.

The good news is that I have definitely lost weight. The bad news is that none of my trousers fit and that although braces (suspenders) are a useful solution, they aren’t the full answer. I won’t go into all the details, but they aren’t quite as practical as a belt in some ways, and they carry a continuing risk of injury if over-stressed or under-secured. I’m thinking of wearing industrial safety glasses as  a precaution against eye-injury.

I’m also thinking about going the classic route and sewing buttons to my trousers but that involves serious thought about the style of braces and whether to go for six or eight buttons. Six mean less sewing, but eight mean you can use better quality braces. Decisions . . .