Thursday, August 26, 2010

Adventures in Medicine - Part 4 (The Home Version)

It has been a few weeks since I was released from the hospital, but the adventure is far from over. Let me catch you up.

I left the hospital on Wednesday (Aug. 4) with prescriptions for 3 days worth of Lovenox injections and 10 days worth of Coumadin, and an appointment with my new GP on Friday. My first day home included errands to the hospital to get copies of my records (check) and my bill (not ready yet), Hastings to rent movies, and WalMart for vitamins (without K). It was a lot of walking for someone who had been in bed for five days, and I was tired when we got home.

I managed my injections with no trouble at all. I'm glad I didn't need any help, because the guys disappeared when I brought out the syringes. A little squeamish, perhaps?

I was sure that I had lost weight with all those "two bites and I'm done" hospital dinners, so I dug the bathroom scales out of the closet. I think I last weighed myself was in April or May. Anyway, the results... I had lost 13 pounds! Now, the trick will be keeping it off without the hospital diet plan.

On Friday morning, I met my new GP. He is short, red-haired and had received no information about me from the hospital.  Good thing I brought the records with me.  My PT/INR was 1.9, so the doc decided we would stop the Lovenox after the remaining three injections. Yay!  He scheduled blood work for the following Wednesday and told me I could go back to work on Monday.

After my blood work appointment on Wednesday, I stopped by the doctor's office to see what the next step would be. The doc obviously didn't remember me. He asked me if I had a history of blood clots (no, just the one I was hospitalized for last week) and later commented that we did not know what caused the clots (actually, we're pretty sure that it was the injury to my leg muscles combined with the birth control pills I was taking). They checked my PT/INR - still 1.9. The doc modified my Coumadin dosage - added another 1/2 tablet every Wednesday. I thought this was a bit strange, but later learned that these tiny adjustments are pretty standard. He recommended that I get support stockings to help with the swelling in my ankle and calf. (Yeah, that's not happening.) I scheduled a two-week follow up appointment.

I've started getting the bills for my little adventure. The hospital bill was over $30,000 and I've only started getting the various lab and consultant bills - looks like that will be another thousand. I am so glad I have good insurance. Even so, it's going to take a bite out of the old bank account.

The two-week follow up appointment was yesterday morning, and I was reminded of why I stopped using this practice for my son many years ago. After my name was called, I sat in the exam room and waited for the doctor... for an hour. When he finally arrived, I had to repeat my history for him. (I now have a serious lack of confidence in this doctor.) My PT/INR was at 1.3, so the doctor changed my dosage again. First, he told me to take 1-1/2 tablets for the next three days (to give it a boost) and then he wanted me to take 1-1/2 tablets on Sundays and Wednesdays and 1 tablet on all the other days. He drew a little calendar on a prescription form to explain it.

I asked about my blood work and he was surprised that no one had called me with the results. (I wasn't.) As of two weeks ago, my hormones were all normal, I had iron deficiency anemia, my cholesterol was high (215 which is below average for me), I had a high platelet count (no big surprise), my C reactive protein count was above average, and I needed more vitamin D. None of this was surprising, but I will be interested to see what changes in 4 weeks when we run it all again.  In the meantime, we have added calcium supplements to my daily pill collection.

I have another appointment to check my PT/INR in 2 weeks. 

I can't wait.


Anonymous said...

What a long strenuous ordeal you have and continue to have to go through. I wish you the best and a speedy recovery.

Le'Ann Ruggles said...

Thanks, Amanda! Fortunately, I'm feeling great and can do almost anything I want - except go backpacking at Enchanted Rock next week. Grrr. In about six months, I should be able to go off the meds and be completely back to normal... normal for me, that is. ;)

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