Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hypertension 36: Really Gross Stuff

WARNING: this post contains graphic descriptions of bloody nasal discharges. If you do not have a fetish about boogers and blood, read a gardening blog instead.

Yes, this is another side effects sad sack whiny story. As it is gross, I will try to keep it short. However, if you are turned on by gross stuff, by all means reread it several times.

Like anyone, on rare occasions when I’d blow my nose there would be a little blood on the hanky. Nothing unusual. However, since starting the combination of Teveten Plus, Adalat XL and Lipitor (none of which may be responsible—and one problem is, who knows?—I also take ‘baby’ aspirin to help prevent a stroke)…uh, where was I?

Oh yeah. I started that combination of meds November 22, 2006. Staring in early January, 2007, I began to notice that when I blew my nose (which has always felt stuffed up) there was blood on the tissue. Not just a speck here, a bit there. Nope. Fairly large splotches of bright red blood on the pure white tissue. I also began to notice, as I, uh, felt around in my nose, hard crusts. The hard crusts were congealed blood. This is disturbing.

I must add: I do NOT like digging around in my nose. Normally I do NOT look at what I blow out of my nose. And, if you are thinking the worst, nor do I eat it.

In addition to Hypertension, I have sleep apnea. That condition involves you not breathing for significant amounts of time while asleep. In my case, I was tested in a hospital and stopped breathing for a minute at a time. This condition, if untreated, can lead to congestive heart failure and other problems, not to mention you’re tired all the time because you ain’t sleeping so good. The treatment is not a medication, but instead a breathing machine. The machine at your bedside, pumps air through a face mask into your nose all night long. When going to bed, say good-bye to romance and hello to Elephant Man.

It appears that, possibly, the constant air pressure through the breathing mask, combined with the prescription medications opening up my blood vessels, leads to some rawness inside my nasal passages. This irritation leads to some bleeding, and crusts forming. Hence, when I apply pressure by blowing my nose, the blood on the tissue. Followed by the large pieces of bloody crusts.

(If you are reading this and getting off on it, ugh.)

So one very unpleasant side effect of the medications I am taking (which have indeed significantly decreased my blood pressure, I hasten to add!) appears to be blowing up blood. When, that is, I blow my nose.

While we’re at it, I may not have mentioned occasional eye sight problems. Apart from ‘floaters’ (black spidery dots in the corner of your vision, which can occur at my age), sometimes when I wake up in the morning everything is blurry. I have three pairs of glasses: reading, computer glasses (a form of progressive lens), and distance glasses (a bifocal with the lower portion adjusted for reading). None of the three help. Everything remains blurry. I can read, yes, but it takes an effort. Watching television is much less enjoyable.

There is no predicting when this will happen. Normally, my eyesight can get a bit blurry when I’m very tired. But this particular blurryosity happens whether I feel stressed or calm, fine or unfine. I gather, again, it has something to do with the blood pressure affecting my eyes internally, with the focal length changing as the blood pressure changes. It happens once every two or three weeks. Usually it lasts for much of the day.

And oh yeah, my gums are still inflamed--but not as much.

I know the medications are worth it, and that playing the odds I won’t have a stroke by suffering these side effects is worth it. I know that. Know it know it know it. Yep, I am grateful for what the medications are doing for me, and, yes, I know that life is a bowl of bloody tissues…ooops, cherries!

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