Rat Poison- keeps me in the game!

As I make my last ski turns for the year and prepare to put the boards away and get myself into riding shape for another spring season, I think about a prescription that has kept me in the game for 25 years. Did you know that a component of the chemical makeup of blood thinners is the same component that is in rat poison? It is funny, when I go to the pharmacy, I always ask them for my monthly dose of rat poison. They laugh because they know, as pharmacists, what I am talking about. What I am about to tell you is my experience only. My disclaimer here is that I am not a doctor. What I say here in the post is my experience and in no way a recommendation or any type of suggestion. You may make your own conclusions but “blood thinners” have kept me in the game. IMG_0136
It all started before I was married and I returned to the U.S. from a cycling trip to Ireland. I had crashed over there and then had a long plane trip back to the US. Nothing serious because I had crashed many times on a bike and thought nothing of it. But thinking back on this, I am sure that this series of events caused my initial DVT( Deep Vein Thrombosis.) I was at a party at Frank and Jan Habay’s house when I noticed that my calf was swelling and I had a dull pain that went from my calf all the way up my leg. Long story short, I went to my doctor and he said that although I was an extremely active person, he thought I had a blood clot in my calf. Sure enough after a simple dye test in my leg, it was determined that I had a DVT and that I had to be in the hospital on Heparin drip to “thin my blood” and then onto Coumadin therapy for a couple of months. I walked all around the hospital with the IV to keep my sanity and even wanted to take it over to Shadyside to get a corned beef sandwich, but they discouraged that. πŸ™‚ They told me all about what my diet should be and not to eat too many foods that would interfere with Coumadin. Foods like green leafy vegetables that had lots of Vitamin K which would interfere. I watched my diet and swam for three months before I was off the therapy and the doctor gave me the green light to continue cycling. photo
Fast forward- 8 years later I was in a mountain bike race and when I came home that night, I had a stabbing pain in my back that would not stop. Janet was out of town and I drove myself to the hospital where my friend was working in the ER. Mike Mihok, a fellow cyclist, had a series of tests run and finally I had a angiogram which determined that I had a pulmonary embolism in my lung. Interesting side note is that the procedure was done by Doctor Wholey who invented the equipment for the modern angiogram. Very serious! I was back in the hospital on the Heparin drip and eventually Coumadin therapy again. Forever. My doctor at the time said that this was the ” gold standard” of treatment and he didn’t want me to throw any more clots. He liked my activities and as long as I didn’t take the big hit with some blunt force trauma, he said my skiing and bicycling were ok activities as long as I was careful. I still take a generic form of Coumadin today which has been no problem for me at all. I get my monthly tests to determine that my current dosage is satisfactory. But my lifestyle has not been compromised one bit except for the fact that I wear a compression sock when I am sitting or standing because when I am not active, my calf still swells a little bit. Alcohol is not recommended but my current doctor says as long as the beer is cold, I can have one or two. I always say ” One and done. Or Two and through” Although I usually drink one beer with a meal and at most a beer and a half. I eat a balanced diet and don’t concern myself with any food issues. Enough of the details and the background. Now for the point of all of this.
I am a very active person as I believe my blog testifies.IMG00375-20110730-0915 I take a generic prescription which prevents my blood from clotting too easily. Yes, I have cut myself shaving. Yes I have crashed on my bike. Yes I have crashed while skiing. Being careful is a relative term. But I have been no worse for the wear. My doc recently suggested a new drug which requires no monthly testing. But it takes 48 hours for the INR( clotting measurement) to return to normal. With Coumadin, a shot of Vitamin K will bring me back instantly. I have had no issues for 25 years with Coumadin or the generic equivalent. I am staying with it. My point which again, has no medical background, suggests that if you have an issue like mine which is becoming more prevalent in athletes, your life is not over. IMG_0178.JPG Several friends have inquired about this after their episodes and I tell them frankly that it has not been an issue with me. I am a good designated driver. I cycle, run, ski, hike with no issues. I was fortunate that both episodes for me were caught in time. God is good.photo This post may be a little dark but if any of you who have an issue or any of you who know of someone who has an issue, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to chat and relate my story and how my life is better through chemistry, with…………rat poison.photo Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Rat Poison- keeps me in the game!

  1. Phil says:

    Great post, Pat. So important to remember that what we’re dealt with doesn’t have to stop us from being active and playing like a kid. Hope to see you guys on on a ride soon…

  2. Judy says:

    Love to read and follow you, paddy!

  3. Jeff Morgan says:

    Now I know where those rat tail tracks comes from in the snow!

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Nice read. When you first said rat poison, I immediately thought of cigarettes! Glad I was wrong!

  5. Tim Chappell says:

    Hey Pat, In a way, the 4 stents I just had Installed are like the springs from a rat trap. Who knew medical treatments and killing
    rodents had so much in common! Watch out, now it’s the “attack from the back of the rat pack” πŸ™‚

  6. patmccloskey says:

    Tim- I am so glad that you got the “springs” Wow!! Kind of scary but a new man now!!!

  7. Mary Jo Neff says:

    You are amazing, Pat! I didn’t realize that you were still on that medication, but you certainly never let that stop you.

  8. patmccloskey says:

    Oh Mary Jo- like DuPont says,” Better living through chemistry” . See you soon at the park.

  9. Bill belch says:

    Pat , ooh yes “chemistry ” in a nut shell it works .With everthing it is a mental game if you want it bad enough and are will to take reasonable percautions you can do anything you set your mind to roll on !

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