Medicines are serious stuff
All patients should realize certain medicines like antibiotics are mandatory that you finish the entire prescription. Failure to do so may allow the nasty little creatures that created your medical condition in the first place to have a return visit. You not only prolong the illness, you also build up a resistance to the drug you may once again need.
Some of the more important warnings you need to follow are clearly printed on the pill bottle’s label: "TAKE ONLY AS DIRECTED," "DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES WHEN TAKING THIS MEDICINE" and especially, "DO NOT STOP THIS MEDICATION WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR PHYSICIAN."
I admit that I violated the last directive, not once, but twice. Both had serious consequences. I stopped taking my cholesterol medicine, mostly because I preferred to be Mr. Natural. I switched to fish oil, safflower oil, and olive oil extract, certain that the roadways to my heart would be sufficiently lubricated to run the Indy 500. It did not work for me for my cholesterol scores still resemble a batting average capable of leading the league.
The second medicine I abruptly stopped taking had even more serious consequences. This was also heart related. I stopped taking my blood pressure medicine because I did not like the side effects. Days after abruptly stopping the pills, I momentarily experienced an extreme case of double vision. Each eye saw what can best be described as a separate but similar vision swirling around my head.
No one in the medical profession could explain what the heck happened to me. Each one did comment that the three passengers in my car should be very grateful I was able to pull over to the curb before disaster struck.
We were going to a concert that evening and after the "event" I sent the others inside while I waited for my blood pressure to drop. Although it had spiked to 190/120, I really didn’t have any other symptoms and I didn’t even feel ill. I wrote it off to having abruptly stopped the blood pressure pills and I probably was correct.
Last week, I awoke in the middle of the night with the realization that most likely what happened while driving my friends (who no longer ride with me) to that concert in Pierre, South Dakota, is that I had experienced a heart attack.
For the past week I have been inundated with heart and pulmonary tests at the Mayo Clinic. My family physician had wisely deduced that the pneumonia I thought I contracted out west was more likely a heart condition. I probably had it long before I got off the train from Seattle. My heartfelt thanks go out to my physician in Moose Lake I retained despite moving to Eagan three years ago. Paul, the doctors at Mayo confirmed that you were correct.
My interpretation of the Mayo Clinic tests: the right side of my heart is 100 percent blocked, non-functioning, and probably has been for some time. My left side is 70 percent blocked and pumping at 15 percent (55 percent being normal). In other words, I have been running near empty for some time, although I never really felt it until I caught that bug in Seattle. By this time next week, I plan to be a new man.
Once again, never stop taking medicine without talking to your doctor. Especially, never ever quit cold-turkey on your own. My good buddy, Steve, hated everything about the anti-depression pills he was taking. He hated the way they made him feel, he hated that they made him gain weight, and mostly he hated that he could not be the old Steve he once was. Without consulting his doctor, he threw away the pills. Three days later, Steve’s life ended on his father’s grave when he put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger.
Medicines are serious stuff.