Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Too Hot to Garden

There once was a guy from Peru
Who had some growin’ up to do.
He’d ring my doorbell,
Then run like hell,
‘Til I nailed him with my old .22.
- Anonymous

Ever walk out to work in your garden, take one look around, and turn around and go back inside? That’s me and that’s today. It’s been hot and dry and I need to hand water. It’s too hot and sunny to water now though. The parched plants can’t believe their eyes when I ignore their silent withering looks and their wilted imploring leaves. Clutching my heart and dramatically promising I’ll be back later when it cools down, I calmly explain the sun will just fry them if I get their leaves wet now. I plead medical reasons. Their glaring silence reproaches me. Ok, then I plead laziness. You’re not the boss of me.

So, last week, after bringing the cardiologist my list of prescriptions and herbal supplements and having it be completely ignored, he proceeded to lecture me on taking my rat poison, excuse me, my warfarin. Two months in, I am still failing my INR lab tests that measure how fast my blood clots. Funny story. Turns out that the package inserts, legitimate medical websites and crazy conspiracy wack job bloggers are unanimous: Vitamin K and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage promote good blood clotting. Too good, as it turns out for somebody who is at risk of becoming bedridden broccoli if a blood clot lodges in my brain. Such supplements and vitamins completely offset the blood thinning efforts of the rat poison. Which, it turns out, one of my supplements has 1000 IU of Vitamin K and another has vegetable extracts of broccoli and cabbage. After pointing this out on my medicines spreadsheet, he said: stop taking those supplements. Good to know.

So, if I knew this before he said so, why did I continue to take them despite the failure of every medical professional to tell me so? Because every medical professional told me not to significantly change my dietary and nutritional intake since my body had habituated to whatever I was taking, which they didn’t bother to determine when the information was literally handed to them on a single page with yellow highlighter. It's almost like I expected them to give me informed and correct medical advice or something.

So, today for the first time in two months, my INR has moved from .9 to 1.1, due entirely I am sure to the fact that I stopped the vitamin K and cruciferous vegetable extract supplements 4 days before yesterday's test. But when Coumadin Clinic Cindy called with yesterday’s INR results, and I started to say “Yay, that must be because…” She fucking interrupted me to say that score isn’t good and I should take a double dose tomorrow and test again next week. Shut up you idiot. I know more than you have bothered to glance at before lecturing me like I was 10! I don’t need this shit.

But then again, the garden didn’t offer much of a prospect for peaceful repose. So I’m inside thinking of other supplements that I should research. My medical care fails me now while I’m competent to notice and educate myself and learn what experts would do if they were paying attention. Heaven help me when I get dementia and I’m left to the mercy of these health care experts who don’t have the attention span to read more than the top line on a patient’s chart and ask you to repeat your name back to them like a secret password before they’ll say more than hello. That's what they consider taking a patient medical history.

Then again, it occurs to me that my generation of greedy rich Americans will have only ourselves to blame when we’re warehoused in Medicare nursing homes and eventually killed by medical neglect or mistreatment. We’re sending the next generation of doctors who will replace Coumadin Clinic Cindy to elementary school without lunches and dropping them out of high school for unemployment.

So, perhaps it’s another early happy hour in the air conditioning. I promise I’ll spend time outside once it cools off. Meanwhile, my kitty will have to sit on my lap for a half hour. That’s better than any Big Pharma and/or controlled substance for correcting my blood pressure after talking to Coumadin Clinic Cindy. Idiots.

BTW, I don't have a gun and can't throw a knife, but if you ring my doorbell and run away, I'll shake my fist and yell at you louder than Grandpa Simpson.

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