One of the annoyances of chemically trying to manage one’s heart – besides the possibility of it all just going feet-up with no warning – is actually taking the medication that’s been prescribed. I’m on a few things right now. Most of these I’d never heard of before being diagnosed, but now I’m becoming good friends with them.
As one of those people who really would benefit from some nifty single-payer insurance, I opted to go ahead and get the generic of everything, providing it did the same thing – which it does.
Having the name brand didn’t mean a darn thing to me. It’s not like I was going to be showing off my pill-bling at the 7-11. I just went with what was effective and what was relatively cheap.
Everyone knows these blasted things by their bling names, though, and it’s easier to just refer to them that way. So when I say I’m taking the blood-thinner Coumadin, I’m actually taking the generic version Warfarin. And let’s be honest, that has a much cooler name.
I’m also taking Digoxin and Cordarone to keep my heart beating regularly and slowly, and on Furosemide to get excess water and salt out of my body. And I’m taking a metric poo-ton of Potassium, because that also tends to get washed out by the water pills.
It’s the combination of side effects and warnings that are the most fun. These cover most of the usual medication side effects: nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, you know the kind. But they also have some really spiffy ones, like possibly losing short-term memory, liver damage, and… something else. I can’t remember.
That was a joke. Rest easy.
I can’t have ibuprofen or aspirin, since those may affect the blood-thinners. So when I get a nasty headache, I have to take Tylenol instead. As far as I’m concerned, that’s like a painkiller on training wheels.
I also have to watch how much leafy greens I can have. I can’t have cranberry juice, cranberry sauce, grapefruit juice, or grapefruit. And – even better! – I get to have blood drawn at least once a week to see how all these are working.
Woo boy. Good times.
I can’t stand needles. I used to be phobic about them, but over time that’s gone away. I still don’t like them. I also don’t like taking excess medications. Grapefruit juice and cranberry juice are two of my favorite things. And when a migraine comes roaring in, I want nothing less than real aspirin to go to work on it.
But those are fairly unimportant in the scheme of things. If it will help keep me going, I’ll make all those changes, take all those pills, have blood drawn every week, and miss out on all the rest.
Man, I want some cranberry juice.