Friday, 18 February 2011

It's easy

I lost my cool yesterday. The reserves of calm and positivity got eaten up in a trice. The smooth running engine of my treatment had developed a strange knock. It was going to be a bumpier ride than I had previously thought.

I allowed myself to get annoyed with the 'warfarin nurse'. I wasn't really annoyed with her. I was annoyed at what she was saying and what it meant. I tried to make that clear but that distinction is a little tricky to make when you are annoyed. She suggested that I write to the Patients' Association. But I didn't want to make a complaint. I don't feel as though I'm complaining. I just wanted her to say, 'Yes - that shouldn't have happened, I'll get right on to that and make sure it never happens again.' But it was going to be down to me to tell the doctor by way of a complaint, or he wasn't going to get told.

The doctor who called from my GP practice did not really understand why I was a little bit taken aback by the news that I was to inject myself. 'It's very simple,' she said. I'm sure it is. 'They are in pre-measured doses,' she said. Or not, as it turned out.

But the fact is that the week before, when I was in hospital, I was told that it was critical that I get my INR up to 2.5. I was monitored every four hours and had my blood tested every day. When I was on clexane the nurse checked and rechecked the dose of a drug she could not give me unless a doctor signed for it each day. I had to wait long into the evening one time because a doctor could not be found.

Now I can get a week's supply from the chemists and inject myself. Now I am seen as safe to measure the dose myself. Now I don't need to be monitored. With the self same INR I was given bed rest and loaded with 10 mgs of warfarin each day. Now I'm up and about and given 3 mgs of warfarin. What was critical last week now seems to be a bit 'Meh'. 'You have to trust that they know what they are doing,' said my GP. 'They are the experts.' Yes - except that one of these experts mucked up my meds. Which experts do I trust now? The warfarin nurses? The consultant? My GP?

'It's easy,' said the nurse as she and the doctor tried to sort out exactly how much of the clexane I had to squirt away to get me down to the correct dose. There are three syringes, I thought. Let's all have a go if it's so easy. It can be my treat.

But none of this was the doctor's fault or the nurses fault and I began to feel sorry for the latter as she began to pick up on the stress levels from me and my wife and clearly started to doubt her own common sense. She and the doctor were - of course - very kind and understanding.

So, after much faffing about we agreed on the dose. I was happy with the reading on the syringe. The nurse was happy. All that remained was for me to stick the thing in my belly. How hard could it be? I'd pricked a sausage before. It had to be pretty similar.

'Just rest the point on the skin and then push,' she said.

And that's what I did. I'm not going to say it didn't hurt, but it hurt less than the guy who waggled away at the blood test department at the hospital. I'm glad that I knew that it was going to sting after a short delay or I might have thought I'd done something wrong.

It was a strange sensation. A tiny moment of resistance before the point breaks the skin. But in terms of pain, really not so bad. Not that I'm looking forward to the next one in half an hour or so. The devils that were holding back the hands of time while I was in hospital are now cackling and spinning the clock hands like a roulette wheel.

And they are putting their scaly hands to their foreheads and making an 'L' for 'Loser'


  1. Thanks Jan. I have to say I'm glad I was injecting me and not my wife or son. That was rubbish. I need to improve my technique! Plus I wasted one because I wiped a drip of the end on my palm. Not really sterile after that. Idiot!

  2. I reached the conclusion a few years ago that "experts" are very few and far between. The rest are just trying their best. Hopefully!
    So there are bound to be wobbles and so on. I'm sorry that you had to go through the trial and error stage with Warfarin and clexane. How very disheartening and ANNOYING!
    You are doing so very well, though Chris.

  3. The point was made several times in hospital that being bored was a good sign. Boredom was a luxury of the relatively healthy. I suspect being annoyed is a similar thing in my case. As for doing well - I don't know about that. I know many people who have to contend with a lot more on a daily basis. Writing about it helps. I think it will stop me losing my perspective. I don't want to be angry. I want to be well.

  4. Hi Chris, sorry only just seen your posts about your mini stroke, so glad it's not worse! The treatment sounds awful, but I guess its for the best isn't it... though I really don't envy you, I don't mind injections or giving blood or blood tests, but doing it myself? No!! The bit where the doctor who was trying to take a blood sample didn't seem to know how to do it properly sounds very scary...
    Take care and hope you get back to full health very very soon!
    Best wishes

  5. Chris - just read your health updates. I'm sorry to hear all this and hope you are feeling better.

  6. Thanks for the kind thoughts. I have felt reasonably OK throughout. The symptoms aren't really noticeable. It's all a matter of getting my meds sorted out. Or at least, I hope so.