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.

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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.

An interesting weekend …


That is what I was going to talk about. The ‘interesting’ weekend! But, after writing the first couple of lines, I decided that the weekend was not about me, and that it was not fair to write about it. So you may not get to get to know … yet.

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Instead, it’s going to be an interesting week. Well that maybe pushing it a little. I have another INR test tomorrow, only a week after the last one. I cannot believe I had got up to six weeks between tests. I still think that stress plays a part, but maybe I’m just kidding myself and it is really too much alcohol. I was going to have an alcohol-free evening, but it has been a poor day at work and that and the small issue with R***’s computer, meant that a glass of wine was required.

It was the slightest thing with his computer. We had somehow switched off the power to the 4 way adapter and his laptop was running on battery power. Unfortunately, the battery had got to 2% power, before it became clear what was happening, so he got a little stressed when his machine told him about his battery needing charging. It took a good 30 minutes before the pop-ups stopped, but things like that seem to linger in his autistic mind and worries him. Still, he seems to be calmed now, so we may have got away with it this time.

Then, the ‘interest’ continues when I have my hospital appointment on Friday. I am supposed to be at a ‘team away day’ on the other side of Leeds and I was going to take the afternoon of as ‘flexi-time’. But I’m not happy with having to increase my journey time by an extra 30 minutes, just to satisfy someone’s managerial ego. My current line manager, totally agrees (but only because she doesn’t want to go) that I would be greatly inconvenienced by this. I may have to take the decision not to go and possibly invent some excuse why it would be not a good idea.

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?

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.