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Jeanie Oliver
Jeanie Oliver
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You're the Patient-Take Charge

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I think this post would be considered more of a conversation with you, the reader, the potential patient. There has been a lot of media attention around Dennis Quaid’s twins and their experience with the drug, Heparin. I was reading today another short article about the situation and it brought to mind my own experience with this potentially lethal drug.

Having been admitted to the hospital for heart related problems, the nurse came in to give me a shot. A shot in the stomach. I questioned why I was being given medication when there was no diagnosis yet. The reply was that it is standard procedure to give the heparin, a blood thinner, when there is the possibility of a heart attack having occurred. I had not even met the cardiologist yet and I was being treated for a heart attack.

I asked her to wait a few moments while I thought about this. What if there was something else wrong with me and a blood thinner would make it worse? Could there not be dire consequences for some patients who are generically administered a drug based on the floor of the hospital they were admitted to upon arrival? While I pondered calling my family who would know a lot more about the situation than I did, I simply ask for a more detailed explanation about what Heparin does to the body. The reply was one that I’ll not ever forget, “It’s your life, and you might die without the proper medication.”

How true. It is my life and it’s your life. Ask for explanations and reasons for everything the medical community wants to do to your body. The nurse was so right, I might die without the proper medication, and we have subsequently learned that with my diagnosis, I should never take a blood thinner! So when they ask to see your tummy and hold those needles in the air, ask for a moment to think, “Do I need this, and what if I don’t?”