“In 1985 I was actually on stage giving a lecture when I felt immense pain and collapsed. Ten days later I woke up in a hospital and was told that I had suffered an embolism to the right kidney. This resulted in a near total loss of that organ. I have been on warfarin ever since.
It is important to remain within the stable range when you are taking warfarin. If your blood were too thick there would be a danger of another clot. If it is too thin, then there is danger of a bleed.
You find that when you have been on the drug for a certain period of time, you learn that it is affected by changes in diet, sleep patterns and even alcohol intake. It is extremely important to keep an eye on it.
I had to go to the clinic several times a week before I started self-testing. It was a sixteen mile roundtrip to the hospital and I usually had to wait over two-hours for a test. On occasions the clinic was closed, although I was there at the appointed time; the result of which was I couldn’t be tested that day.
Self-testing changes your life. If I had to be sum it up in one word, it would be ‘freedom’. The test can be taken anywhere, at any time. I travel abroad a lot and always have done. Before, it was quite a headache to get my tests done overseas. I would have to be tested just before I went to make sure that the healthcare professional was happy for me not to be tested again until I returned. Now that I self-test I have the device with me at all times, meaning I can test anywhere in the world at my leisure.
In my particular case, I forward the result via text, phone, or e-mail to the healthcare professional who doses me accordingly. It makes no difference if I’m two or two thousand miles away.
I think more patients should self-test their INR levels. It encourages confidence and capabilities. I’m a prime example as it has made me more health aware. It has made me want to get fit, keep fit, and of course I now know the exact situation of my INR at any time of the day, if I need to.
All in all, I look back and I can’t believe I endured what I did. But of course, you know no different at the time. If there is any hiccup in my general health, whether it’s the common cold, alcohol intake or a change of diet I am on the ball, so to speak. I can take the test. I know exactly what is going on inside this body of mine that hopefully is going to last an awfully long time.”