Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Warfarin Bleeding Episodes, Marfan Syndrome and Mechanical Heart Valves Medications

Today I learned that I need to keep sterile gauze pads in my 'tote with me wherever I go' Marfan first aid kit.  It is impossible to keep a bandaid on a tongue.
Life with warfarin, get used to bleeding. Marfan Syndrome normals.
Living a life framed by daily Warfarin doses is a challenge, we all know that.  But warfarin life is manageable when the bleeding occurs somewhere a bandaid will stick.  I really did try.  But a bandaid did not stick to my tongue.

I have been used to the persistent bruising and hard to stop bleeding cuts and scrapes.  But most of these bloody events occurred somewhere on the outside of my body where I could apply the reliable bandaid.  And I keep many in my go everywhere first aid kit.

This afternoon I was brushing my teeth after eating a dried fig.  Unfortunately one of the figs had a little stem left on it.  A sharp little stem.  A little stem so sharp that I said ouch when I bit into the fig.  But the fig tasted so good so I ignored the ouch part.  Until I went to brush my teeth.

Wetting my toothbrush I applied the Crest to the bristles and opened my mouth to clean the choppers.

Holy cow!  I looked like one of those vampires on the TV shows the teens watch, blood everywhere.  First question; Where was I bleeding?  Gums?  Tooth?  Once in a while I have a little blood from flossing but not the amount I was seeing flow down my tongue.
Mechanical aortic valves require anti-clotting drugs like warfarin (Coumadin)
Ugh.  The sharp stem.  I remembered.

Panic started swelling in my chest.  What am I going to do?  What if my tongue continues to gush blood?  I can never go swimming in the ocean again till I get this bleeding stopped!

OK.  I told myself that I had to calm down.  How do you stop a bleeding tongue from gushing blood?   I couldn't run ask Judy or the teens because if I opened my mouth they'd probably scream 'Vampire!'

The bandaid did not work, that was instantly obvious.  Then my problem solving expertise kicked in.  I thought 'sterile gauze bandaid'.  Grabbing a couple gauze packets from the closet I sat down on the floor and wedged the gauze between my tongue and the top of my mouth.  Gag! Blah! But that approach worked after about twenty minutes of gagging on a piece of gauze in my mouth.  Ugh.
Gauze is now a staple in my portable first aid kit.  Stopping a bleeding tongue is a challenge!
Thank god this happened here at the house.

Obviously it is time to go have my INR checked.

But I was going to make sure the vampire look did not return tonight - I made a broccoli smoothie.
Green vegetables high in vitamin K can quickly slow bleeding issues.  Just be careful you do not clot up your valve!
Quickly gulping the vitamin K rich liquid green I could feel my tongue bleed slowly throttle downwards in velocity.
Gulping the broccoli smoothie.  Post-dissection repair life is a challenge with daily warfarin doses.
Tonight, four hours later I can still taste blood.  I'll be sleeping with a packet of gauze nearby tonight in case the vamp symptoms return.
Finally, the bleeding slowed.  Yep, I need to scrape my tongue.  But not tonight!
Aortic dissection, mechanical valves and warfarin, the new normal.  No one to call, no where to turn to.  Figure this stuff out on the fly.  The new Marfan normal.

1 comment:

willie*the*weeper said...

Hi Kevin,

I just did the same as you, I'm on Xarelto and Clopidogrel and I bleed almost spontaneously. I don't think I bit my tongue, if I did it was very slight; I just noticed the blood when I cleaned my teeth this morning. It has now been bleeding for about 4 hours, not much, but over time would amount to quite a lot. I will try your trick of putting a gauze pad on the spot. Cheers, Roy