A Travel Checklist for Coumadin Patients

A Travel Checklist for Coumadin Patients

I’m getting ready to go on my first “big” trip since my surgery, and while I’m excited for vacation, I’m also a bit nervous. What if I forget something? What if something goes wrong? What if my INR shoots up through the roof and I bleed to death in the hotel room like some wannabe Hollywood burnout?

In the past, I’ve found that making checklists helps me organize not only my stuff but my thoughts as well. So today’s post is as much for me as for you, my fellow cardiac patients. What follows is a list of things to do and to bring with you if you, like me, are about to embark on a journey of more than a couple of days and have a heart that you’d like to keep ticking for many years to come. Continue reading

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Anticoagulation & Anger Management

Anticoagulation & Anger Management

When I first began anticoagulation therapy, out-of-range INR readings scared the heck out of me. I was new to this whole thing, and didn’t know how high or low my numbers could go without something bad happening. I also didn’t know how bad that something bad might be. Continue reading

From the Heart: Quotes for Cardiac Patients

From the Heart: Quotes for Cardiac Patients

This week I’ve been having a little trouble with staying motivated to do — well, just about anything, really. I go through these cycles now and again of full-steam productivity followed by existential angst and wondering if the work I did made any difference, a cycle I’ve always thought of as motivational inertia. A productive person tends to stay productive until an equal and opposite force (i.e. doubt, depression, exhaustion, etc.) stops them, at which point some effort is required to get back to being productive again.

Whenever I find myself stuck like that, one of the things I like to do is look up motivational quotes. Continue reading

False Alarms: Lessons in Patience and Positive Thinking

False Alarms: Lessons in Patience and Positive Thinking

I remember my symptoms all too well. Chest pain. Back pain. A soreness around the ribs and difficulty breathing deeply, as though I was wearing an invisible corset. Anxiety growing like a cancer in my stomach and my heart.

Which was why, when I experienced similar symptoms a couple of weeks ago, I immediately imagined the worst. Continue reading

Beauty Marks: Scars, Bruises, and Self Image

Beauty Marks: Scars, Bruises, and Self Image

Being fair-skinned and occasionally coordination-challenged means that I have always been quick to bruise. As a kid, black and blue blemishes on my shins and elbows served as constant evidence of having a good time. My knees were perpetually red for years after multiple run-ins with mailboxes while attempting to ride my bike, and though I never got into fisticuffs, or even so much as a slap-fight, with anyone, I still managed to wind up with a black eye one time when I tumbled face-first into the wooden edging of a planter in the front yard.

Being on blood-thinner medication has not exactly improved this facet of my existence. Continue reading

Impossible Dreams: How to Fix an Outdated Bucket List

Impossible Dreams: How to Fix an Outdated Bucket List

Ever see one of those posters with the kitten imagining itself as a tiger and the words “Dream Big” plastered across it like a random bit of fortune cookie advice? That’s pretty much the American dream, right? Shoot for the stars, work hard and believe in yourself, and all your big dreams will come true.

Unless, of course, they don’t. Or worse, can’t.
Continue reading