May 23, 2014

Coumadin and Me; Breaking the Chains…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:27 pm

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The footsteps faded, vanished. He shouted, no one answered. And
suddenly he knew that he had taken the wrong path, that he was lost.
And in his heart there was an immense and quiet sadness, and the
dark night of the enormous wood was all around him…

—Thomas Wolfe
______________

It’s no secret that I do not fully trust modern medicine. Never have, for lot of years. I don’t run to the doctor for every little cold, or every little injury. And when I say I don’t trust those people, I’m not talking about when you break an arm or a leg, or get all whacked up in some accident. I trust them to heal bones. But I don’t trust them to heal diseases, or conditions of the heart.

And yeah, you can go right ahead and call me a nut. I don’t care. But I believe for every pharmaceutical drug that’s been developed for any particular symptom, there is a natural equivalent out there, if you do the research. A natural equivalent that’s much cheaper, and way better for you. And that’s why I was so depressed and devastated, all those weeks ago, when I got released from the hospital after my heart operation. Well, they call it an ablation. Whatever. They went in there and they poked around and seared muscles and stuff. And when I came back up out of it, and got ready to be released, the doctor told me. They were putting me on a serious blood thinner, to keep my blood from clotting and giving me a stroke. A serious thinner, for the first few days, where I poked myself in the stomach with a needle and pushed the stuff in. Stuff that made it impossible for my blood to clot. But after that, it was on to the pills. And the drug they prescribed was a vile one. Coumadin. I’d have to take it once a day, every day, and always at the same time of day.

I was pretty bleary-eyed and bleary-minded, when the doctor unloaded the news on me that last morning just before Ben released me. And I remember telling him. I don’t want to be on that stuff for long. And he asked. “How long?” Not more than a month, I said. He looked extremely dubuious. It was depressing. And he said. “Well, we’ll see. I think it’s going to be a good bit longer than that.” I was too tired to mouth back at him. So I said nothing. All I wanted to do was get out of that place.

Coumadin is bad, bad, vile, evil stuff. It’s poison. And it depressed me, right down in all the way deep, to be sentenced to taking it every day. Because I knew what it was. And I knew I didn’t need it. Because I’ve been taking some natural stuff, for the past four years, or so. And I knew that natural stuff was way better than anything pharmaceutical. I knew it, because I saw it working, and I saw firsthand what it was and what it does.

It all happened back in 2010, early in the year. February. To my co-worker, David Hurst. We’ve called him Big Dave, among other nicknames. He’s not that tall. But he has a serious weight problem, because of some metabulism issues. He’s tried every diet out there. And he’s lost a few pounds, here and there, over the years. But he could never seem to get a real handle on the weight. And at that time, he was losing out, health-wise. He was having serious issues with his heart. Right around Valentine’s Day, he went to the hospital for a stress test. And while taking that stress test, the man had a real heart attack.

They rushed him to intensive care, and they stuck a stent into his heart. To keep his valves open. And he was home within a few days. And back to work a few days afer that, in his wheelchair. The doctors prescribed Plavix. A blood thinner. Dave did not get along well with the drug at all. It made his legs swell. And he felt bad, just bad, overall. We all could tell, those working with him. He was in pain. So the man went on the internet and began a process of exhaustive research. Something natural, that’s what he was looking for. And within a week or so, he decided on a product. Cardio Cocktail, I think it was called back then. Since then, the name has morphed into Cardio for Life.

He told us all about it, as he started taking it. Actually, he wouldn’t stop talking about it. I listened. I believe in natural vitamins. I’ve taken Dr. Schueltz’s Superfood for more than ten years now. I give that stuff all the credit in the world, for keeping me half healthy back in 2007, when my own world blew up. Cardio for Life was all natural, Dave claimed. It’ll clean out your veins and regrow your heart. Some of my coworkers rolled their eyes. I didn’t. I just watched. And Dave took the Cardio Cocktail religiously, three times a day. And right before our eyes, over the next few months, we saw the man heal his own heart.

I remember it clearly. He was in a wheelchair. And he’d trundle down past the counter, now and then, to use the restroom, right outside the door leading to the warehouse. And then one day, he asked me. I could see the bathroom door. He asked me if it was open. I said yes. And the next thing I knew, the man was walking down the counter, leaning onto it, as he headed out. He needed some support, to walk. But he was walking. And he went to the bathroom. And walked back out.

He kept claiming his heart feels real good. It was growing stronger. And soon enough, he became a dealer for the product he was using. He got a little machine, where you attach a metal wash pin to your finger. The machine takes your heart rate, and other measurements, and spits out a piece of paper. Tells in detail exactly what shape your heart is in. I took the test. My heart was pretty good, had just a bit of an off beat. But it was strong. And I decided at that time that I would take the Cardio stuff every day, once a day, in the morning when I got up. Just for maintenance. And so I began that program, back in 2010.

Dave’s heart was healed completely. It worked as he claimed it would. The Cardio for Life rebuilds the heart. And not only that, it cleans your veins of all the plaque. In the past four years, I’ve seen a whole lot of people with serious heart problems stop by to see Dave. And if they follow his instructions, their hearts always either improve or get cleared up completely. Always. I’ve seen it too many times to have a shred of a doubt about it. Dave always tells them, when they start taking the stuff. “If you have blocked veins, you’ll get itchy. That’s the plaque breaking loose. Don’t stop taking it. If you do, and that loose plaque is floating around, you could easily have a stroke.”

The Cardio for Life really works. It really does. I’ve seen it happen so often, I can’t tell you how often. I strongly recommend it to anyone. Anyone, doesn’t matter if your heart is strong or not. I give it all the credit that I was in as good shape as I was, when they operated on my heart, which had been beating wild for years. The Cardio keeps your blood from clotting. And that’s the biggest danger, when you have a wild heart like I had. That the blood will clot, and you’ll have a stroke. Mine didn’t. And I knew it wouldn’t after the operation. But there was no way I was gonna convince any doctor of that. So I never bothered to mention the Cardio for Life. When I got home from the hospital, though, I tripled my daily intake. I took it morning, noon, and night. Three times a day. Right along with those shots of whatever drug it was that I stuck into my own stomach. And when those were done, I took the Cardio right along with the Coumadin.

I’ve grumbled pretty savagely about it before. They shut me off from my Superfood. Because that stuff is made of concentrated green plants. All kinds of vitamins. And you can’t have the dark leaf vitamins, when you’re on Coumadin. I was pretty much emotionally shot, when I got back home. From the operation, and from a few other things going on. But the thing that depressed me the most was the Coumadin. It lurked there in the back of my mind, always. Pressed in on me like a heavy weight. Day and night. I was trapped. Trapped, with no way out. So I just hunkered down, kept slogging on through, and took it. Took the Coumadin, and kept right on taking my Cardio for Life.

And, of course, it didn’t help my state of mind any that I had to go in and get my blood checked every few days, those first few weeks. To make sure I was taking enough Coumadin. The Lancaster Heart Group has a clinic not far from my office, about fifteen minutes away. So on the appointed days, I headed over on my lunch break. Walked in. They were always friendly. And I was always cheerful to the nurses. It wasn’t their fault I was there. And it took only a few minutes. Sit down. She pricks the end of one of your fingers. Then draws blood into a tiny little glass tube. Then she places the blood on a tiny little measuring machine. And about a minute later, it flashes on the screen. 2.1 one day. 2.5 the next. Between 200 and 300, that’s where you need to be, they had told me.

I barely hit the 200 level on time, after the last needle had been stabbed into my stomach at home. I had to hit 200. And the next day, I did. Just. Right at 200. And always, on the drive back to the office, my cell phone rang. A call from the main Heart Group place, in Lancaster. “We evaluated where you are. Increase your Coumadin dosage to such and such.” They were always real bossy, the people who called to tell me what to do. I’m not talking about the regular nurses, or any of the people I met. I’m talking about the ones who made the follow-up calls. They were like some kind of “Nurse Ratched.” Yanking me around. They talked like there wasn’t any way they could be wrong. And I never argued with them. Never. I always increased the dosages, just like I was told to. But inside, I seethed.

It was like being in a prison. I can’t find any better way to describe that whole experience. I was caught. Trapped. Roped in. Tied down. And told what to do. By controlling, clinical people, mostly women. And all the while, I knew better. I knew the Cardio for Life was cleaning me out, clearing my veins. And keeping my blood from clotting, better than Coumadin ever can or will. But I could never say such a thing. I didn’t even think to try to tell them. They would label me a crackpot.

The Coumadin was just vicious. They told me. You can’t eat any real greens, you can’t eat Vitamin K. It causes blood clots. I knew all of it was way wrong, right from the start. But I never said much. Just grumbled a bit. And my body almost went into shock, when I went off the Superfood. Went off, cold. Just stopped taking it. Almost immediately, I caught a savage head and chest cold. There was nothing I could do, to fight it. The Coumadin beat back all my natural defenses. And there I was, all sick and miserable, with no recourse. It was all so maddening, and it almost drove me to despair. But I had determined that I would listen to what the doctors told me, at least short term. And I did. I don’t know if I would, again. I guess you have to, or the insurance people would freak out on you. That’s what I figured, anyway. It was all so brutal, the whole thing. And in my heart and head, I plotted to escape these people.

The Heart Group doctors would never take me off, from taking Coumadin. They’d pretty well insinuated that much already. They wouldn’t do it. And one Nurse Ratched came right out and told me I’d be on it for the rest of my life. They didn’t want the liability, if something bad happened after they released me. So I figured I’d have to find a doctor who would. A real MD, but one who believed in both natural and pharmaceutical treatment. I’m not hostile at pharmaceuticals for short-term “crutch” treatment. But long term, I am. You take one drug to treat the original symptoms, then another drug to counter the effects of the first one, and another to counter the effects of the second one, and so on and on and on. I knew there were doctors out there who would listen to me, when I told them about Cardio for Life. I knew there were. But how to find them?

I did some sleuthing, some research online. There were two doctors up north a ways. And one, down in Jersey. I talked to Dave about it, at the office. Do you think they’ll recognize what Cardio for Life is? Do you think they’ll help me get off this evil Coumadin? He didn’t know. But he gave me some backup liturature. And I determined that I would walk forward, one way or the other. I would escape from this madhouse. Escape from these Nurse Ratched people.

And then I heard from the wife of a good friend of mine. She had a real serious disease, stomach related. Ulcerative Colitis. And the doctors put her on pharmaceutical drugs. That didn’t work. Her face and her whole body swelled, and she was miserable. And she found a real MD, a “natural” doctor, right here in Lancaster County. In the city. He had a shabby office. She went in and told him what all was going on. And how miserable she was. She was sentenced to a lifetime of drugs, just to keep her going. And those drugs were most definitely not working. The doctor listened. And he took her on, as a patient. And over a very short period of time, he had her on a purely natural treatment. He took her off all her medications. Told her what and how to eat. Managed her diet. Today, she is happy and completely herself. Her face radiates her joy. She now lives completely free of all pharmaceutical drugs.

That’s the place I wanted to reach. A place like that. Where the Nurse Ratcheds of the world can never reach you, or boss you around. And I talked to her, my friend’s wife, a few weeks back. How do I get hold of this doctor? I’m going to go in and ask the Heart Group doctor to take me off Coumadin. You and I both know he never will. How do I get hold of your doctor? And she gave me his number, and told me. “You have to keep bugging them. They might not answer the phone. Leave a message. Tell them I told you to call them. They’ll get back to you. They’re way busy, and overbooked. But if you mention my name, I think they’ll take you in.” And right there it was. My backup plan, to get off Coumadin. Well, I just figured it was my up front plan. I knew I’d have to go that route.

And all the while, I humbly submitted to the Nurse Ratcheds. When they called to boss me around, I just took it. Increase your dosage. Two full pills, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. One and a half pills on all other days. It was all so very depressing, and there was no way to get out from under it. And I asked a Nurse Ratched, when the first bottle of pills got close to empty. What do I do? “You have three refills, on that order,” she snapped. “Just go in to your pharmacy. They’ll refill it.”

It didn’t happen that way, though. When the bottle got right down close to empty, I called in to CVS in New Holland. An automated voice instructed me. Punch in the code. So I did. And the automated voice came right back. You’ve used up your presription way too fast. It cannot be refilled.

And I raged and seethed inside. What the heck was this? I’m only following orders, from the Nurse Ratcheds. And now, I can’t get a refill? This is BS. The next morning, I called the Coumadin people. I need a refill. The lady was all cold. Call the refill hotline. She gave me the number. I called it. An automated voice answered. “State your name, date of birth, and your pharmacy. The prescription will be filled in two days.” Well, I didn’t have two days. I was almost on empty, here. And if this drug was as important as they claimed it was, someone had better step up. I called a Nurse Ratched, direct. I’m out, empty here. And she assured me. “Stop by the CVS tonight, and the order will be ready.”

It wasn’t. The CVS people looked at me strangely. And I told them. The order was supposed to be called in, today. I have half a pill, here. I’m supposed to take that half and one more. The pharmicist lady was very kind. “By law, we can give you three pills, just to hold you over,” she said. I took those and thanked her. Walked out, feeling pretty depressed. This is bondage. You get ordered around, and you get yanked around, and they don’t follow through. How important, how life and death can this actually be, when they yank you around like that?

The next day, I went to have my blood level checked again, over lunch. It was right where it should have been, at 2.3 or so. And sure enough, I had barely started back to the office, when my cell phone rang. A Nurse Ratched. “We need you to keep your daily dose just like it is,” she said. And I launched into her. I’m out of Coumadin, here. And the CVS people gave me three pills last night, just to get me through. What in the world is going on, here? Someone had told me the prescription would be ready. It wasn’t. How important is this all, anyway? Nurse Ratched seemed a bit subdued. “I’ll call you right back,” she said. And she did. Someone had placed the prescription order at their main pharmacy in Lancaster. I sputtered. I’m not in Lancaster. I’m in New Holland. I pick up my stuff at the CVS there. And she assured me that my Coumadin prescription would be ready at that CVS that evening. I thanked her and hung up.

It’s downright depressing, to walk into a pharmacy to pick up drugs. The CVS in New Holland is a real nice place, nearly new. The people are very friendly. What’s depressing is that huge rack on the wall. Stacked clear full, every shelf, with drug orders ready to be picked up. All stapled up and tagged in little white paper bags. It’s like everyone is on some sort of prescription. I’ve never paid much attention to details like that before. But I’ll bet that 80% of people over forty are on some sort of drugs. Just a wild guess, I have absolutely no factual basis for that number. But there’s something seriously wrong with any society where drugs are prescribed like candy. It’s a racket, is what it is. And I want no part of that racket. It’s all about control, really. Control, and money, too, of course. It’s about worship, too, about “God” speaking, about what you better do or not do. About how humbly you must approach the altar, and submit. I’m not saying it’s always like this, and I’m most definitely not saying there aren’t a lot of good and decent doctors out there. But way too often, the patient just accepts the doctor’s proclamations and prescriptions on blind and unquestioning faith.

I kept ingesting my daily dose of poison. And soon enough, the first bruises appeared. A small one, on my wrist. It came out of nowhere. And then a large blotch showed up on my stomach. A big bruise, probably three inches across. And they came to stay. They would not fade, and they would not leave. It freaked me out pretty seriously. There’s no way something that does such a thing to your body can be good for you. I felt bloated, like a tick that’s about to get popped.

And that’s the state of mind I was in, when Mom left us a few weeks back. The state of mind I was in, when I gathered with my family to bury her. I talked to Janice about it, as we traveled up to Aylmer. She was pretty horrified. “You have got to get off that stuff,” she said. I know, I said. But there’s no way the Heart Group doctors will ever do that. I have an appointment in late May, for a checkup. Janice wasn’t impressed. “Make an appointment, the second you get back home,” she told me. “If you need me to come and go along in with you, I’ll do that.” I promised her I’d make that appointment. And I told her I’d be fine, going in by myself. Thanks for the offer, though.

And that’s what I did, the next Monday morning after I got to work. Called the Heart Group people. The lady was real nice. I’m not getting along with my Coumadin, I told her. I’m not feeling well, and it’s bruising me. I want to see a doctor, and I want to get taken off this stuff. She fit me in for that Wednesday, after lunch. And as that day approached, I felt all pensive. It wasn’t going to work. I was convinced of that. But I might as well try. I had my backup plan. After lunch, I drove to the big gloomy Heart Group facility in Lancaster. Dave wished me well as I left the office. Pray for me, I said. I’m gonna need it.

I walked in and signed in. The receptionist told me where to go. I sat in the waiting room. Figured I’d be there for a while. But amazingly, right on time, a nurse called my name. She smiled and greeted me. I smiled back nervously. God. Give me the right words, to speak, I thought. When the doctor comes. She led me to a small side room. I sat down. She took my blood pressure, temperature, all the stuff they do. And she asked me a bunch of questions. She left, then, but soon popped back in, dragging some sort of machine. The doctor wanted an EKG test done. I lay flat on my back on the couch. And she hooked up all the wires on my chest and ankles. “It takes much longer to hook you up than the test takes,” she said, apologetically. Not a problem, I said. And then she did the test, and left the room. “The doctor will be in soon,” she said. Thank you, I said.

I sat there, waiting. And I remembered the last time I sat in a doctor’s office, waiting for the results of an EKG test. Back when I had the bloody eye. I shivered. And then the door opened, and the doctor stepped in. A younger guy, probably my age. I hadn’t seen him before. He smiled cheerfully and greeted me. And we just talked.

He asked how I’ve been doing. Real good, I said. Except this Coumadin is real bad stuff. It’s giving me bruises, and I don’t feel well at all. And then I looked at him. I want to be taken off all pharmaceutical blood thinners, I said. There. It was out. Amazingly, the man didn’t seem all shocked. He kept smiling at me. It was a surprised smile, but real. And then he waved the paper that held the test results. And then he spoke.

“Well, according to these results, I have some very good news for you.” I pretty much gaped at him. It was a dreary day, outside. But that second, my world exploded into a beautiful place of blue skies and sunshine. He had good news for me. That could only mean one thing.

He was very surprised. He tried not to act like it, but he was. And he told me. “When we went down your throat with a camera during the operation, we looked very closely at your heart. There was no evidence of any clotting whatsoever. Your heart was very weak, from beating so fast for so long. It was at about 25% strength. But when you came in for your first checkup, two weeks later, we did that echo-gram. And at that time, your heart was pretty much back to full strength.” I gaped at him some more. No one had ever mentioned that little fact to me before. Seems like someone could have called, with good news like that. But I wasn’t fussing. He continued. “From what I’m seeing on these EKG results, I see no reason to keep you on any blood thinners.” And just like that, I was released from the gulag. And from all those bossy Nurse Ratcheds.

I laughed. Joyfully. And thanked him. Now, am I gonna have to wean myself off this stuff, or what? He smiled. “Just stop taking it.” How about vitamins? I asked. Can I take my Superfood? “They won’t do you any good, but you can take all the vitamins you want,” he said. “You can eat any food you want, too.” I couldn’t believe it. And I asked him. That’s worth a high five. Will you give me one? He laughed. “As long as you don’t hug or kiss me,” he said. And we high-fived, my doctor and me, right there in that little room. I was almost in a daze. I simply could not believe what was happening. This was the most joyful day I had seen in a long time, certainly in the last few months.

He got all stern, then. “How’s your alcohol intake these days? How much are you drinking?” He asked. Doctors always think they have to scold you about stuff like that. I’ve cut back a good deal, I told him. I’m going to bed earlier. I’m sleeping better. He kept right on scolding. So I told him.

Look, I said. I like scotch. I write. Writers drink. (At least most of the ones I’ve found worth reading do, I thought. I didn’t say that, though.) Those are choices, things like that. And yeah, I know I was drinking way too heavy, back when my eye got all bloody like it did. I’d just got yanked around, pretty bad, by a woman. And it threw me for a loop. It was a bad choice, to drink like that. But it was a choice. It’s all choices, what we do.

“Well,” he said, all professional. “Too much alcohol could make your heart fibrillate. If that happens, I’ll have to put you back on Coumadin.” That was quite a threat. Spoken to make me shrivel and promise to do better. I just looked at him. I didn’t say it, but I thought it. Think again, my friend. You’re threatening to put me on your brand of poison, if I don’t stop taking a poison you don’t like. And your poison hurt me pretty bad in six short weeks. No, thanks. No doctor will ever put me on Coumadin again. Not ever, not if I can help it.

We were winding down. I had brought along a copy of my book, just in case. I reached into my briefcase and pulled it out. I want to give you something, I said. I showed it to him. The doctor was very surprised. He had no idea. And he got very excited. If you hadn’t taken me off the Coumadin, I wouldn’t have given it to you, I told him. He laughed. “It’s a good thing you didn’t show me that before. It might have been a strong bribe.” And I laughed. I signed it for him and handed it over. He thanked me profusely.

We shook hands. “Come back and see me in six months,” he said. I smiled. Maybe I will, and maybe I won’t, I thought. But I didn’t say it. He walked out. And I walked out of the room behind him. Walked out the front door of that gulag into the beautiful cloudy day. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve felt it all the way down, felt so deeply what freedom is.
*************************************************************

A few closing thoughts on a few things. I’m not crowing that I’m all healed and heading on into a long and fruitful life. I don’t think that way. I’m intensely aware of my own mortality, and aware that my heart might give out at any time for any reason. Or that something else may go dreadfully wrong in a serious way. There is no promise of any tomorrow for any of us. I grasp that reality, way deeper than I ever have before. I am grateful every day, for for every breath of life. There is little doubt at all in my mind that Cardio for Life probably saved my life, these past few years. By keeping my blood from clotting. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Cardio for Life is what got me off the Coumadin. It strengthened my heart, almost back to full capacity. It kept my blood clean. The doctor tried not to act surprised, that day. But he was. I could have told him why. But I didn’t bother, because he wouldn’t have heard a word I said.

Dave is still selling Cardio for Life. He still has health issues. And he uses a wheelchair now, to get around, mostly because of pain in his legs. But his heart is strong. He moves a lot of that Cardio stuff. And he helps a lot of people. Here’s the link to his website, if you want to check it out. Look it over. Read the materials. I’m not telling anyone what to do. Make your own decisions. I’m not telling anyone to go off their meds unless it’s under the guidance of a real doctor. Most definitely, do not do that. But I’m telling you the stuff works.

Lately, I’ve done a little research on heart ablation, the procedure they did on me. And I am a little troubled by what I found. They didn’t sear just one muscle in my heart. They seared a whole bunch of them, like a jigsaw puzzle. And according to what I read, if you’ve had atrial flutter for as long as I had it, there’s a pretty decent chance it will return in some form, at some point down the road. I plan to keep a real close eye on things. And I can’t quite imagine that I’m ever gonna allow anyone to go in and sear any more of my heart muscles. There has to be a better way. There has to be a natural way. There simply has to be.

There is some artistic talent, scattered out there among my extended family. My sister Rhoda paints. Quite well. She’s totally self-taught. There’s some real musical talent, here and there. My nephew, Steven Marner, had his own grunge band for years. He’s as good with a guitar as anyone I’ve ever seen or heard. All that to say this. After Mom’s funeral, another nephew, Reuben Wagler, got a U Tube video together. The backdrop singing is an old Amish farewell song I often heard in church, growing up. These are real Amish people, singing at a real Amish church. Somehow, someone recorded it. It’s a beautiful and fitting tribute to Mom, from all the extended family. It always brings tears to my eyes, when I watch it. Thanks, Reuben, for creating a tribute for the ages.

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(20 Comments) »

  1. I am so glad you got off of that stuff!
    I’ve taken my share of drugs in my day as well and as you say, the side effects are so often horrid. And the cost. I have ulcerative colitus too. And heart issues. And other things. I wean my own self off everything they put me on, without permission. If I perish, I perish.
    So far, so good.

    Comment by Rhonda — May 23, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

  2. Depression meds are kinda like that. You take meds to ease the depression but then the meds make you suicidal. Maybe not all are like that but plenty are. They are devilish.

    Comment by RAM — May 23, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

  3. I agree totally, I think if there is something natural to take to get well that medicines should be avoided at all costs.

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — May 23, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

  4. I have been on Coumadin since 2003, due to two stents implanted. I was on the verge of a massive heart attack. I have two friends who took themselves off of Coumadin. One had a fatal stroke. He opted to go off of Coumadin instead of giving up alcohol. Was paralyzed for a year and a half and then died. young. The other friend took herself off of Coumadin, had another stoke and is now back on the drug.

    Comment by Pearl Lapp — May 23, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

  5. Hurrah! for you in taking charge of your own health.

    Comment by rosanna — May 24, 2014 @ 7:56 am

  6. I know coumadin is an awful drug. My mom was on it for many, many years before she died. I have relatives on it now who hate it. I don’t know what the answer to this drug is. I do know that you have free will and you should do what you think is best for you. I agree that it is odd that you never had a stroke with so many years of this atrial fibrillation. It may very well be that your supplement is helping you. I wish you the best of health and I also know that if you are happier this way, that accounts for something, also. By the way, cranberries and cranberry juice will make your blood thinner, also. That is another natural way to keep your blood where it should be.

    Comment by Rosanna F. — May 24, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

  7. This may seem unrelated, but I think it is. I encourage you, Ira, since you are in Lancaster (PA) area, to hear Loren Cunningham at least one of the evenings: http://www.thecircuitrider.com/schools-and-events/lancaster-equipping-weekend/

    Comment by LeRoy — May 24, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

  8. Ira, sometimes you can really be hard work. Nurse Ratchet indeed!

    That’s great news that the young doctor took you off the Coumadin and that your heart improved to such a noticeable degree. You fretted so about it and it all turned out well in the end. I agree that some doctors prescribe pills too readily without looking at lifestyle, diet, stress. I’ve often been seen as a foot or hip rather than a whole person and that gets frustrating considering my skeletal system, muscles, ligaments, and organs all work together. There certainly is room for improvement, no doubt.

    I also know that a church I once attended collected medicines, even outdated, for their missions’ trips because those in third world countries were desperate for even the slightest pain killer, cough medicine, or antibiotic. It seems so much in this world is taken to extremes. Some have too much, others not enough.

    You may want to see a D.O.- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in the future or as a General Practitioner. They tend to look at the whole person, spend more time with their patients, and aren’t quick to send you to the pharmacy for every little thing. (Mind you, heart issues are not at all little and you did spectacularly following the advice of your doctor until the waters settled.) http://www.WiseGeek.com gives a good definition of a D.O. I see one.

    Did you know that some vitamins in high doses can lead to health problems? Just because something doesn’t require a prescription doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Poison ivy does not require a prescription. And Ira, don’t go to a “dr.” if their office is dirty. That’s a red flag even if some people are helped. Cleanliness is next to godliness. I don’t mean to sound snooty here, but… well, take it as you will. My goodness, I sound like a Nurse Ratchet.

    Listen man, consider putting Cardio. for Life and Super Foods in proper perspective. Genetics plays a huge role in a person’s health, too. But ultimately, it’s God that has your back, loves you, saved you from the car accident, gave you a bloody eye and healed your heart. Dude, do you need to be hit with a two by four? Well, I suppose we all do at times, but…

    Surrender all the crap you’re putting in God’s place. Booze, unhealthy relationships, vitamins, control…put it all in God’s hands. He’s after you, Ira. Just stop! And if you don’t know how He will take care of it for you.

    One more thing, would you consider C.S. Lewis a good writer? I highly doubt he was slamming scotch whilst writing “The Screwtape Letters.” What about Paul? Was he staggering about with beer hiccups and speech slurs while listening to God’s leading in writing parts of the Bible? Think again about alcohol and good writers. Hrmph! So there.

    Take care of yourself, friend.

    Ira’s response: Thanks, Francine. I appreciate your comments. This one time, I gotta respond. C.S. Lewis smoked. And he drank. Yep, he did. Every day of his adult life.

    Comment by francine — May 25, 2014 @ 2:33 am

  9. Ira, many drugs are harmful, no doubt about it. My sister took Plavix and it took her sense of taste/smell. Needless to say, she did not refill her Rx. Another sister and I took pills to strengthen our aging bones. Not gonna say what happened. Imagine the worst and you’ll come close. We’re no longer taking the pills. As for drinking, I am sad to learn that I seem to be condemned to the ash-heap of literary history because I don’t drink. :-) I am, however, badly addicted to sugar, and I mean badly. Observing my repeated trips to the office candy jar, my supervisor asked, “What’s WRONG with you?” So maybe there’s still hope for me as a writer, after all.

    BTW, I think the fact that you drink has no direct connection with your gifts as a writer. It’s not, “I drink, therefore I write.” It’s more as if the acute sensitivity that you’ve been gifted with could be driving both habits. Sensitivity, awareness, the ability to put it all in words and thus sear it into your heart–oh, it’s a gift all right, but it comes at a cost. Blessings.

    Comment by Cynthia Chase — May 25, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

  10. Thank you for another wonderful story. It’s refreshing to hear from another with some plain common sense concerning their health. I think the medical profession as a whole plays on peoples fears and ignorance. Our best weapon in the battle for our health is to arm yourself with knowledge through research and questions. And learning to trust yourself when it comes to making the decisions on the best course to take. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. So it’s essential to be at peace with your choices.

    Comment by Emelda Kerkhoff — May 25, 2014 @ 7:43 pm

  11. You know, you’re right by golly. I’ve seen pictures of him with cigarettes and his trusty pipe. (And don’t those pipes smell good). I’m sure if I dug hard enough, well…maybe not that hard…I could find him sipping (emphasis on sipping…little, itty, bitty, nurse that drink for twenty-four hours sips) on a shot size glass of weak, warm beer or possibly even wine…sweet and red.

    But I still think you don’t have to drink to be a good writer. If you got that writing thang in your bones no amount of fermented grains or fruits is going to boost your ability.
    Have a swell day!

    Comment by Francine — May 26, 2014 @ 7:21 am

  12. The great paradox of modern medications, they both save and improve life, yet they will shorten and take life in some cases. There is such a gray area, nothing is black and white to me about this. Every one is certainly entitled to to their opinion and has the right to be wrong. One of my careers involved doing med passes in hospitals and institutions and I would get tired of what seemed to me sometimes of just shoveling loads of pills into peoples’ mouths, with little effect at times. What I am grateful for is that up this point there has been no need for me to take any meds, and I am older then you are, Ira. And it hasn’t all been clean living either, for I loved alcohol. From my teen years on,I had a lot of fun drinking, a good time Charlie. I knew my alcohol and could keep up with anybody. After about two decades it stopped being fun and with a little help from some friends it was time to quit.

    And now well over two decades later I still don’t drink and life is good. Fleeting thoughts go thru my head at times but I have no desire for a drink. And it tickles me when people start getting morally superior about it. I would be the first person to buy you a drink if you told me you wanted or needed one. It’s really none of my business if one drinks or not and am really not in the giving advice to people thing either. Who likes to be told what to do in personal matters like this? The occasional cigar out of one of my humidors tastes good too. I am glad things are working out for you, Ira, and may God bless you in your journey..

    Comment by lenny — May 26, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

  13. Totally agree about there being natural equivalents for many pharmaceutical drugs. It takes a lot of hard work and diligence to do the research because quackery in the alternative field is pervasive. Because of that many skeptics disdain anything natural. Natural stuff can be dangerous too. It takes a lot of discernment and patience to find good answers in the natural realm, but it’s so worth it. Drugs are more appealing to many because they’re easier and faster fixes. Kudos to you for dumping the rat poison.

    Alcohol is a natural depressant :)

    Comment by Ava — May 26, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

  14. ’bout lost it when someone used C S Lewis in her admonishment to stay away from liquor.

    Comment by Jon — May 26, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

  15. I’m happy that you’re happy. Fretting so about this Coumadin issue was bound to cause problems in itself. If you think something will work, it probably will. If you think something is bad for you, it will be. Mind over matter. Just remember that natural products are drugs too. (Anything that elicits a bodily response is drug-like including alcohol.) One must take responsibility when using. Just sayin’. P.S. Strive to stay in the “happy zone”. :)

    Comment by Lisa DeYoung — May 26, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

  16. The presentation Reuben put together was amazing. The solid mass of black clothing, the white bearded patriarchs, the simple wooden coffin, the silhouette of a woman’s covered head looking at the grave; I knew this intimate occurrence was something I would probably never see again. It was a great privilege to have viewed it.

    The mournful singing (though from what I understand it’s usually like this) was significant in that you could hear each person’s part. Or it seemed so. If one were not present it would be noticed. Like an orchestra without a flute or bass.

    It was thoughtful of Reuben to display the red roses-the parting gift to your mom from you and your brother.

    I hope your dad is…well, what does one say? Doing better? Doing well? He’s in my prayers.

    Comment by Francine — May 27, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

  17. Good for you, getting off the blood thinner. I read what you said about Cardio for Life, and being that I think you’re a reasonable and trustworthy person, I’m willing to give it a shot. Of late, I’m tired a lot, and moderate walking makes me dizzy. Can’t afford to get sick and hafta see a doctor so $41/mo sounds reasonable as a preventative. I do have a coupla questions for your co-worker about the Cardio for Life. Could you forward him my email address please? Thank you.

    Comment by Margret Raines — May 28, 2014 @ 9:46 am

  18. Hello…a little comment from “downunder” …New Zealand…..do you know where that is?!!!!

    You said you don’t like drugs…sorry but alcohol is a major one. As one other person commented it is a depressant…probably if just discovered today wouldn’t make it onto the list of “safe to take drugs”!

    As a nurse of 50 odd years (not Ratched!), I saw the very negative effects of alcohol on society, and my husband an anaesthetist in a trauma hospital for many years could write a book about the cost of it to society. Interestingly he always knew if someone had a regular intake of alcohol when “putting them under” as they regularly needed more anaesthetic drug to give them a satisfactory anaesthetic!

    As an afterword I enjoy reading your blog and loved your book!

    Comment by Shirley — June 1, 2014 @ 12:38 am

  19. I am so happy you got off Coumadin. I have a clotting disorder, Factor V Leiden, which is kind of the opposite of being a hemophiliac. I am a Coumadin lifer, and I hate it. I celebrate for anyone who is free of it.

    Comment by Rosemary — June 1, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

  20. The blog got me going a bit because I just had a transplant and take anticoagulation and other vital drugs to stay alive.

    I understand medicines should be respected for what they do for patients. To suggest Anticoagulants are a poison is very harmful to everyone and is bringing confusion where clarity is needed.

    The idea that you are taking rat poison is just plain wrong. Water is a poison in a high enough dose to 100% of the population. It would be irresponsible for anyone to say stop taking water it is a poison.

    The same could be said for antibiotics – how many lives are saved and how many people would have never been born? Antibiotics and anticoagulants are – medicines.

    Comment by james Emmans — July 5, 2014 @ 8:54 am

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