I first started taking warfarin 10 years ago and this meant going to the anticoagulation clinic once a week for 3 hours at a time and losing an afternoon at work. My consultant suggested I buy a machine to monitor my own INR but I couldn’t afford it. Then I won a large sum of money at Bingo and decided to invest in a CoaguChek XS machine to give me some control over my condition. I discussed this with the anticoagulation nurse specialist and my GP before buying my monitor direct from Roche.
My GP agreed to prescribe the test strips and the anticoagulation nurses have been wonderful, providing me with advice and support whenever I need it. They drew up a contract between their hospital service and me, which enabled me to self-manage. Furthermore, they check my CoaguChek XS machine 3 times a year against a venous sample. As I’m self-managing (monitoring and medicating) they made sure I understood how warfarin works.
It is totally liberating. I wanted to travel and have the independence to manage my own condition as much as possible. I can monitor my INR wherever I am and adjust my warfarin doses accordingly. For 9 years now I have been able to travel all over the world and across many time zones averting possible further TAs or a stroke. And I haven’t had to spend time in hospital or clinics. It gives me peace of mind.
If you feel confident to do this, speak to your GP (to make sure they prescribe the test strips as not all GPs do) and to the anticoagulation nurses to make sure they are happy to support you to self-monitor. You will find it empowering to be able to take some control over your illness and closely monitor your medical status.