Monday, 12 December 2011

A week to go

I'll admit to being jittery about the prospect of more surgery. It's not really the whole surgery thing, it's the build up that's stressful. However the good news is that my withdrawal from the beta blockers and asprins seems to have gone to plan.

I'm not sure if I explained it all, but I've been on beta blockers since the hospital gave them to me, with asprin, in order to discharge me after the lung surgery. They said that palpitations (atrial fibrilation - or AF as it's known) are common after my sort of surgery and it does make sense. They were operating very close to my heart after all - just a few centimetres.

My GP has been persistently relunctant to take me off these drugs. He always has a rather non-specific reason for not doing so. "Let's leave it until you've seen the surgeon and oncologist"; then "let's leave it a bit longer"; "let's leave it until after you've seen the ENT consultant". The side effects were getting me down - I worked out I had at least six of them, albeit most mildly. In any case, the beta blocker didn't stop the AF as I had two tiny incidents after I'd got home and been put on them. So given that the medication didn't stop AF, that it hadn't happened for three months, the GP hadn't referred me to a cardiac specialist, I decided to wean myself off them.

I have a friend who knows a lot about the particularly beta blocker I'm on and she said it should be done slowly. So I started on half a dose and gave that ten days; then I stopped taking them, nearly a week ago. Since that time I've taken been very aware of my heart and it's behaved perfectly. I've taken my pulse on many occasions and it's steady as a rock.

Of course none of this has gone down well with the medical profession. I informed my doctor what I was doing and he said it wasn't the best time. When I went for my preassessment for surgery last week, the admissions nurse said it wasn't the best time. So I said: "well I've only not taken them for the first time this morning; I could easily go back on half a dose if that makes things easier for you and the anaesthetist". But she wouldn't recommend that - I suppose because if she did she could be interpreted to have prescribed for me. She's spoken to the anaesthetist who wants me to get the opinion of the chest physician, the consultant I first started with since he'll know more about the surgery I've had, who I will be seeing on Wednesday. Talk about pass the buck!

I can well see how people end up with a portfolio of medication much of which they don't need. My rule is, if you don't need it don't take it. Mother nature in her infinite wisdom has balanced life so finely that any messing with it is going to cause problems even if they are tiny changes.

Have I noticed any difference since coming off the beta blockers? Well I think I have; it's very subtle but it's more that I notice what's not happening more than what is. I feel a little bit more alive and by that I mean alive to emotional sensations which I suppose makes a lot of sense because beta blockers do what it says on the tin. They block something. I'm not sniffing now like I have a coke habit and the occasional dizzyness that used to put the wind up me has gone.(I had vestibular neuritis where you feel all dizzy a few years back and that was horrid.) I'm sleeping like a baby and having no more of the horrendously confused and memorable dreams that were making me depressed. So it's all good news. Fingers crossed that the thoracic physician agrees with me that I've done the right thing otherwise I'll be back on them on Wednesday and surgery could potentially be delayed.

1 comment:

  1. Sue, I've just been topping up on your blog posts. It's like getting a fix! They are always thought-provoking. Thank you. I'm going to be 'off-air' for a week or more, so wanted to wish you well for your op now. Kelly x