Thursday, September 8, 2016

There's A Pill for That

Taking the drug Coumadin, a blood thinner, for six weeks following my hip surgery has been a bit of a drag, but it's almost over for me, unlike Hillary Clinton who is on it for life. (Oy, the poor woman.) The worst part of the regimen is having your blood tested twice a week to make sure the drug is at the correct level; too little and you could suffer a blood clot, too much and you could bleed out from a minor kitchen mishap.

The last time I had my blood tested my doctor decided it was time to run a few other tests as well, and a few days later I received a call from the receptionist in his office reporting the results. She said my "bad" cholesterol (LDL) was too high, but since my "good" cholesterol (HDL) was really low it almost balanced it out, making my total cholesterol only two points above the ideal. Still, she said, the doctor recommended I begin taking a drug to rectify the situation.

I balked, something I need to do more and more lately, pointing out that since I already take three different medications for blood pressure plus the Coumadin, I would rather not add another pill to my daily swallow. Besides, couldn't the problem be handled through diet and exercise? After all, since my surgery I had been instructed to avoid all green, leafy veggies because of their interference with the blood thinner, and had hardly gotten a lick of exercise besides a few anemic walks around the neighborhood and some leg exercises to strengthen the muscles around my brand new hip. Couldn't this couch-potato lifestyle account for the sudden rise in my cholesterol?

The receptionist admitted that she didn't know but suggested that I schedule a consultation with a nutritionist to get me on track with my eating, obviously forgetting about the existence of the Internet and books. Then later that day a friend called and recounted her own story of getting high cholesterol results. She said she was warned by her sister, a nurse, that the very people who do the blood tests for cholesterol are the same ones who manufacture the drugs prescribed for controlling it.

We report, you decide.

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