The are no images in this post for reasons that you will understand as you read.
It’s been a bit of a rough week. In fact, it started the Friday before. I had been along to the Drs for my INR test, which was only just over a week since the last one. It had been a little high previously, so my dosage had been cut and it was time to check that it had worked. Problem was that it had gone even higher. No idea why, but it was well out of my range. The clinician decide to reduce the dose again and gave me an appointment for the following Wednesday.
Then in the early hours of Monday morning, I started to feel unwell and began a bout of S&D (sickness and diarrea). I had not felt as bad as did for years. I spent the whole day between and and the toilet. By late evening, I was beginning to feel a little better, but decided that I should not go to work in a kitchen with diarrea. That’s how it spreads. Tuesday came and went and I was beginning to think I had got the better of it.
How, by lunchtime on Wednesday I had a sort of relapse. I had no energy and literally no interest in eating at all. I thought It would be a good idea to go have a lie down and just rest for a while, to see if that helped. I had rung the INR clinic to explain the situation and we decided that it was probably not the best of ideas to have an INR test that day, and I was booked in for Friday.
By the time of the appointment, I was feeling fine again. Everything seemed to have cleared up, although my energy level was still low. I talked though how I had been with the clinician and was expecting the worst. However, I didn’t expect my INR to be so low, that it was out of my range. It was low enough for the clinician, to explain that I was at a slight risk of a stroke and what signs to look out for. She boosted my dosage drastically for two days and asked me to come for a test on Monday, before work. A little worrying.
On the plus side (sort of) I have lost about half a stone in weight and haven’t had an alchoholic drink sine last Sunday. The weight will probably start to creep up again, as it always does, but the cutting down on alcohol will be a great benefit.
My INR value has gone to pot this past few weeks. I had a test at the end of September, which was almost on target at 2.9 (my target is 3 within the range of 2.0 to 3.5). The clinician was very pleased as it had been going either up or down since I had some anti-biotics back in May. I had been getting my INR test every 3 weeks and because it was so good, I was given 6 weeks before the next test. That next test wasn’t good. It had dropped to 2.1, within my range but only just. My Warfarin dose was upped a little and was due back in 4 weeks. That happened on the 1st of this month and lo and behold, the rate was up to 3.7. So the dosage was changed again and I’m back again on the 15th of this month. Fingers crossed that it will be where it should be.
Annoyingly, three days after booking my COVID booster jab, and moaning that there was nowhere local offering them, I received a phone call from my GP’s surgery. They wanted to book me in for my booster. I explained that I had booked elsewhere, but would cancel if they could jab me sooner than the 9th. “Oh no!” was the reply, “We would be looking at around the 20th …” It seems that they are a couple of weeks behind, which doesn’t sound so good.
It’s beginning to get very close now. I’ve just finished writing my Christmas cards. There are not as many as there used to be and I’ve decided to only send them to the people I want to send greetings to. In the past, I would send them to everybody I knew. It cost a fortune to send and you knew that most of them would end up in the recycling bin by New Years Day. I don’t send to receive, but can be a little disheartening when made an effort and you don’t get a reply or even a response.
I’m a bit of a Grinch or a ‘Bah Humbug’ type when it comes to Christmas. The whole idea and meaning of Christmas seems to have been lost over the years. I hate how the TV ads start to appear towards the end of October, which is probably only a few months after you have finished paying for the previous years celebrations.
I had my INR (international normalized ratio) test yesterday and it was a lot higher than I expected. My range is 2.5 to 3.5 with a target of 3.0. Yesterday it hit an all time high of 4.3. I have put a short guide to INR on a page on this site for those who are not aware of what the INR is.
I take Warfarin, which is an anticoagulant (commonly known as a blood thinner) to control my INR and I have a regular test to ensure that it stays within the range decided for me. I have been on Warfarin since my Mitral Valve replacement back in 2014. As I understood at the time, the surgeon has three options when performing the surgery. The ideal option is a repair, then the next option is a replacement with an organic valve (usually from a pig) or a mechanical valve. The surgeon will decide when the chest is opened which option is required. For me he opted for a mechanical valve. As it could be dangerous if blood clotted in or around the valve, an anticoagulant is prescribed to increase the time taken to clot.
For a long time, my test has been within the range and often hitting my target. Back in August last year, I had a small infection on my leg for which anti-biotics were prescribed. I was advised to get an INR test after taking the anti-biotics as they are known to have an effect on blood clotting times. And indeed this proved to be the case as my INR went as high as 3.9. It seemed to take a long time to get back to ‘normal’ but by the end of the year it was looking better.
I had my previous test mid January this year, and whilst it was in range, it was only just. The nurse decided to increase my Warfarin from 15mg to 16mg (3mg Sunday and Tuesday, 2mg every other day). Not a huge amount, but I think it proved a significant change. After yesterday it is now back to what I was taking before, which is 3mg Tuesday, 2mg every other day. I’m back for another test in three weeks and we shall just see what happens.