Coumadin therapy was started last night and the blood sample (kindly taken at 5am this morning…two hours after the blood pressure check) revealed a level of 1 which means that it’s had no effect yet. Great.
Coumadin is also known as warfarin, the active ingredient in rat poison, and it has an interesting history. Back in the 1920s there was an outbreak of disease in which cattle were dying of blood loss following minor procedures or injuries and sometimes even spontaneously. A veterinary pathologist determined that the deaths were caused from moldy silage; something in the silage was acting as an anticoagulant causing the cattle to bleed to death.
The unknown substance was traced to sweet clover but remained a mystery until 1940 when chemists were finally able to isolate it. They called it dicoumarol and confirmed that it was a naturally occurring substance. Coumarins are found in a variety of plants – woodruff in high amounts – and are responsible for the wonderful summer-time fragrance of freshly mowed hay.
Coumarin by itself has no anticoagulant properties but it is transformed into dicoumarol when acted upon by several species of fungi. That naturally occurring anticoagulant process is duplicated on an industrial scale to manufacture warfarin, or coumadin, the anticoagulant that I’ll be taking for three months.
And this is from my cousin Shirley and her husband Jim. I just love the jack-in-the-pulpits pitcher plants(!!! thanks Paul)