March 16, 2008

Heparin

I've been following the news on the blood thinner Heparin. They are trying to track down the contaminate that seems to be giving people varying side affects and then some deaths.

I lived on heparin for about eight months during my pregnancy with Dawson. I developed a serious blood clot, and ended up on heparin which is the only blood thinner that wouldn't go through the placenta to the baby.

That was nineteen years ago and I remember feeling like a guinea pig. I had to give myself shots (sometimes Monte did it) two times a day, much like a diabetic. Because of the thinned blood, the shots caused bruising. And then there's the occasional blunt needle ... (Monte could see the hooked tips with his geologic hand lens).

I had to have my blood analyzed once a week. The nurses did not look forward to seeing me. It ended up that my doctor would draw my blood. I have good veins, but they collapse because of my low blood pressure, even when I drink tons of water, and rarely does the first try work, so I'm poked several times, moving from place to place. (Are you grossed out yet? There's more.)

I often times could taste blood and would tell them that the heparin must be in excess racing around my body, like a hemophiliac. We deduced that whenever my body was fighting off an infection it didn't absorb the heparin.

I was told that it would rob my bones of calcium. We didn't know that it would also affect my muscles or tendons as well, and then my milk for nursing - Dawson was starving. After the birth, I felt like I had tendonitis of my entire body.

Once prone to blood clots, you're advised to not get pregnant again or they'd put you on heparin immediately. So with the ten-year gap, Dawson was like an only child. We all thoroughly enjoyed the sense-of-wonder that he ignited again in all of us.

Heparin, if you read about how it's made (don't), is made from pig intestines. There's more grossness than that, so I'll stop there. The US seems to get most of it from China ...

As with so many of us, after the pain of birth, we so often say, "I'll go through that again".

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