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Stop pushing my buttons

January 20, 2010

Is there a puppeteer somewhere up in the clouds pushing buttons to make things go wrong with my body? I mean, I'm not lost like the man in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but I have bruises that randomly appear, periodic muscle cramps, and I'm fearful of flossing my teeth.

It all started with an innocent, unlucky broken ankle. I did just what the doctor ordered: rest, ice, elevate. When I started to feel severe pain in my calf, I figured it was muscle pain from being tense and compensating for the injury. My podiatric surgeon said that could be right, but "let's get an ultrasound just to rule out anything else." Famous last words.

One ultrasound and seven hours in the emergency room later, I was diagnosed with three blood clots in my leg and was given a blood thinner injection. And did I mention that this was the first Monday of the new year. Way to knock it out of the park, 2010.

For the next 10 days, my husband injected blood thinner into my belly twice daily, because I couldn't stomach (pun intended) doing it to myself. My doctor prescribed a second blood thinner – a pill, this time – for me to take daily. The paperwork describing the side effects and potential problems with coumadin was longer than all of my college essays, combined.

Coumadin is much less fun than it sounds. I have to get blood tests about every three days, and the doctor is monitoring my INR levels, which has something to do with the anti-coagulation abilities of my blood. It's rising. Very, very slowly. I've been taking it about 1 1/2 weeks. There are LOTS of rules that I must follow while taking this medicine, and I have to be cautious about cutting myself or doing anything that may cause me to bleed. The pharmacist warned, "Be careful when brushing your teeth."

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