Didn’t last …


So much for increasing the regularity of my posts. I think it must have been the ‘double’ post on the 8th that upset things. Joking aside, not much has really happened over that past week. Did a couple of short walks but nothing spectacular.

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I had my Warfarin review on Wednesday. Now I think this is a silly idea. Because it is a controlled drug or POM (prescription only medication) the law says I have to have a review every 12 months. After my operation, the the surgeon explained that I had been fitted with a metal valve and as such I would need to take an anti-coagulant (ie Warfarin) for life. My GP confirmed this during my first appointment with him, a week after leaving hospital. It was also explained to me when I had my first INR blood test. So why do I need to have a review? Nothing has changed. I still have the replacement valve and it’s not going to go away. I don’t really see why I need a review. I did ask the GP at the time of the review, but he was very non-committal and answer. However, he did come up with a new idea!

Every so often, I have a blood test in which a phial of blood is taken from a vein in my left arm (a venous draw) . This is then sent to the Anti-Coagulation Clinic for analysis. I get the results, typically two days later. The new idea is to do the testing at the GP surgery. Basically I will have a pin-prick test, like the blood sugar test and the results would be available within minutes. It will still take ten minutes to do the test, but it would cut down on a lot of other time.

I have to book a special session with the lead clinician on this, but it sounds like a great idea.

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So that’s about it for the past week. Lets see what the next one brings.

Back on track … hopefully


My INR results came back today, and it had gone down to 2.7, which is around about the target date. The anti-coagulation clinic still wants me to be checked in a week, but strangely they have requested that I be tested on Wednesday instead of the more usual Tuesday. It’s not a problem changing the date, as Tuesday has always had issues with work. Only thing that concerns me is that is now the middle of the week, which could have implications when we have time away. However, we shall cross that bridge when we come to it.

Tomorrow sees me paying a visit to the Cardio-Respiratory unit for an ECG. I’ve not had one of these since before I had my operation, and I’m more bothered by how I can get parked than what the results will be. This is a pre-cursor for the appointment with the doctor (or Consultant as I like to think of him) next week. I’ve not seen Dr Me****y since before the procedure back in March 2014. I would have thought I would have seen him before this, but I think there has been some mix up with my post-care appointments over the past two years. It will be good to see him again

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From his ‘homebook’, R**s seems to have had a reasonable day. There had been a couple of issues at the beginning of the day, due to a delay in getting in to the unit, but they say it improved during the day. It was a little unusual, but he was apparently wearing his ‘weighted blanket’ in the taxi home. He came out of the taxi in a happy mood and seemed okay. Around about 7ish, K**h took him his usual meal and he seemed to snap, which we were not really expecting. The usual nipping occurred and it required a dose of his PRN medication. He calmed down after about 15 minutes, but one of the after effects is to reduce his hunger. So not much dinner tonight.

He is full of cold, and I think that has had an effect, but he seems a bit more settled now.

Bit of a shocker …


I was sat at work, chatting to one of the IT partners when I got a text message. By the time I had finished talking, I had almost forgotten the text. It was from the doctors confirming my next INR test date. Strangely, they had simply sent a previous message which was stating that I was booked in for a test on the 9th February.

I rang the wife and asked her if she had booked me an appointment and I explained that the date was wrong. She told me that the anticoagulation clinic had left a message and that I needed a test on the 8th March.

The shock was that my INR, which should be in the range of 2 to 3.5 with a target of 2.5 was actually 4. This is the highest it has ever been and was strange because my last test was  back to around 2.6.

Now I’m putting this down to a combination of stress and the fact that I had drunk a bit more alcohol (although not much more) than usual. The doctor has said that he has not heard of any research into stress and INR levels, but it was quite feasible given what stress can do. However, I think it may have more to do with the alcohol!

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Here’s a question for you. The clinic should have rung me on my mobile as that is my primary number, and the phone did ring at around 10:30. However, there was no number and the display simply said ‘Private Number’ which means nothing really. I tend to ignore calls like that, on the grounds that if it is important, then they will leave a message. I don’t like the fact that callers can hide their number and given that I already have 2 numbers for the clinic, I would have thought they would have used one of them.

I’m wondering how many of you answer calls from people that hide their number?

Been another long day …


INR blood test day today. Now that the footbridge over the Wharfe in Tadcaster has been installed,Damaged bridge going for the test has got a whole lot easier. Instead of a  20 miles detour, it’s now more or less back to the usual 8 mile trip. The old road bridge was severely damaged in the floods in December. So badly damaged that it partially collapsed and has had to be closed . For the past two months or so, the town of Tadcaster has been virtually split in two. It has had a lot of television coverage, footbridgebut it is only when you see the damage and what it has done to the town that you really appreciate the new footbridge and the near normality it has brought back. So back to the blood test. It was my favourite phlebotomist that was in today, so it was a quick ‘in & out’ and the job was done. Well almost a quick in and out. The usual vein proved to be rather obstinate and it took a couple of attempts before she got a flow. But I was still in and out, before half past 8 and was on my way to work in good time.

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Work proved a little stressful. It was ‘go-live’ day for part of the project I’m working on. It should have gone without a problem, but as is normal for this project, it all went wrong. We had to get the engineer for the software house out, who after a few tests decided that a part of the equipment was faulty. So that was the end of that. The part has been ordered and we will start again on Thursday of Friday. I’m hoping for Friday, as that would mean having to miss the team meeting (sad face, tears, depression etc etc.) Hopefully, that will fix the issue and I will be the hero of the day!

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Serious Autistic melt-down from R*** tonight. We had been concerned since he got in that all was not well with him. He was ‘droning’ which is basically him walking around with his fingers in his ears humming loudly. It sometime is indicative of him having a headache, but this has never been proven. We gave him the usual 20mils of liquid paracetamol, but we knew that it was probably not going to work. Ninety minutes later it went downhill really quickly. He completely lost all control. K*** managed to give him his ‘come-down’ medication, and eventually he started to settle. We are now two hours on, and he is still a little distressed, but at least the violence has stopped.  

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This was supposed to be the start of my ‘short and often’ posts, but it still has gone over 450 words. Maybe 450 words is becoming my norm, or maybe I had a lot to say today …

An old friend returns …


The thing about getting a new computer is that you never remember what software you need, until you realise it’s not on your new machine. Now I thought I had been clever, and had made a list of the stuff I use all the time. Which is fine in as far is it goes. Then you start to do some work or something and you find that you haven’t got that little bit of software that you always use, but never think about. Still, I think I’m almost there now. The old machine is in the spare room (in case I need something) and I’m beginning to get the hang of Windows 10. It has it’s pro’s and con’s, but I think a lot of it is just familiarity. It too me a couple of weeks to get used to Windows 7 after XP, and I still miss some of the things that XP did, but we move on.

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Now, to the title of this post “An old friend returns …”! The old friend in question is my first blogging editor (back to Windows XP here) good old ‘Windows Live Writer  (WLW). I always felt it was one of the best tools for the job, and was very disappointed when Microsoft decided to no longer support it. Since then I have used a variety of editors and am still inclined to use the Blog Post template in Microsoft Word and occasionally I will use the WordPress desktop application.

Yesterday, whilst reading an article about Windows 10 compatibility issues with some older software, I saw a mention of WLW and how much it was missed. There was a list of alternatives, but near the top was a link to a website called ‘Open Live Writer’ which wimageas offering Open Live Writer as a free download. My initial thoughts was that this must one of those awful clones that seemed to perpetuate throughout the internet. After a little bit of research it looks like pressure from users made Microsoft turn WLW into an open source application and the result is Open Live Writer.

I downloaded it this morning and have used it for this post. To all intents and purposes it looks and feels the same as before. Everything seems to be as I remember WLW, and it feels quite nostalgic to be using it again. I shall test it further over the next few weeks and see how it goes, but things look promising.

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On a completely different tack, my INR blood test seems to have been a bit off the wall. INR is the International Normalised Ratio and is a measure of how much longer it takes the blood to clot when oral anticoagulation is used. For example, if your INR is 2 the blood is taking twice as long as normal to clot. I have a range which my INR has to fall within, of between 2.0 and 3.5 with a target of 2.5. Since I have been taking an anti-coagulant, my INR has usually been within the range, with the occasional blip. However, since middle of December I have three times been ‘over my limit’ so to speak. I have put it down to what I have eaten and drunk (which does have an effect), but it made me wonder if stress could be a factor. Over the December/January period, it has been quite a stressful time what with Christmas (humbug) and work. I asked the doctor at my medication review, and although he had not heard of stress being a factor, he did say that stress does have an effect on our metabolism so in theory there could be a link. However, I got the impression that he thought it was probably down to food and drink.

Awful afternoon


I was about a hundred metres down the road, when I spotted the Police car behind me. A quick look at the speedo’ showed me I was under the limit. Just! So I drove the whole road at 58 miles per hour, with the police car 20 foot behind me. Now, will he turn into the village, or is he going straight on? Nope, he’s sticking with me. Should I go along the main road, or up the hill? Main road, I think? Bloody cop is still with me. He’ll be on to Clifford, I thought as I turned into my street. Oh dear, an ambulance. I wonder who has died now. Just a minute….. it’s just moved, then stopped outside our house. There’s a police car there too. What the fuck is going on? I parked and got out of the car. The police that had been behind me was now parked outside our house too!!!! What in God’s name…..

“Alright mate?” asked the police officer that had been behind me.

“Er…..yeah. Thanks. What er……”

I went inside, and the scene that greeted me was bizarre to say the least. S**** was sat on the floor, holding onto R***. K*** was trying to explain to the two paramedics, what R*** and his Autism was about. R*** was looking very pale and shaken, and sobbing a little. The two paramedics were trying to talk to R*** to see if he was okay, but getting no response as usual. The two police officers were stood around, looking genuinely concerned but clueless (not their fault, probably never dealt with someone like R*** before).

Apparently R*** had had an ‘episode’. Not the usual, type of ‘episode’. This time the medication did not work and he had completely lost it. Both K*** and S**** were concerned for theirs and R***’s safety, and that’s why the emergency services had been called. It must be standard if there is any kind of violence that the police attend, which is why the ambulance had parked up before our house first.

The paramedics were great. They asked what we wanted to do with R***. Did we want him to go to hospital or what. Well, I thought that if he went to hospital, the first thing they would do would be to get a psych doctor, and sedate him. That would not solve anything. The paramedics stuck with us, and were there a good hour, testing his blood pressure, SATS and everything. The police were being looked after by S****, doing his ‘coffee shop’ thing.

He calmed down, enough for them to leave, but he was still very hyperactive after they had gone. It is now 23:45, and he is still up. Quite calm, but it is like living on an knife edge. We just don’t know if he is settled or if we are going to have some more.

I have to say though, I felt that the paramedics did a brilliant job. What did get me though was the paperwork they had to fill in. That took over 20 minutes to do. C’mon, give them some technology!!! I mean, in this day and age, they still have to fill in paper forms. Dear Health Secretary, if those forms were electronic, and on a Tablet PC or an iPad, then maybe less time would be spent filling in  paper!!!!