Preventing Blood Clots
It was 4 months after my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, and for someone who had recently had brain surgery, she was doing quite well: walking, talking, even driving herself to her own radiation appointments.
In August, my dad decided we should take a family vacation to Ocean City, MD. I had just started working for ADVANCE and didn't have any vacation days yet, so I couldn't go along. While they were on vacation, I got a phone call at work from my dad. He said my mom had a blood clot in her brain and they were taking her via helicopter from Ocean City to Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH) in Allentown, PA. He told me I had to leave right away and drive to LVH, because I would get there before the rest of my family did, as they were driving from Maryland.
I left work immediately and drove about an hour to the hospital. To this day, I'm not sure how I got there safely -- I was a mess, shaking and crying the entire way. I'll never forget how scared and alone I felt as I waited by myself in the ER for the helicopter to land.
It turns out whatever medication my mom was taking to prevent blood clots (I honestly can't remember what it was) may have caused her to have a brain hemorrhage. Although she survived (and I realize not everyone does), she was never quite the same, mobility or personality-wise.
It's always boggled my mind something made to relieve a symptom or complication can also sometimes cause it. Although I know the importance of these kinds of medications, I also see their dangers.
That's why I'm thankful for researchers who come up with tests like a new one from Vanderbilt University. Scientists have devised a genetic test to thwart problems associated with Plavix, a clot-preventing drug for heart patients. Results of the screening test will be put in the patient's electronic medical record so physicians can make better decisions on what drugs to give to the patient.