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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Iron-ning low

I got a call yesterday from the nurse at my doctor's office. She wanted to go over the results of my recent bloodwork.

"Your iron is still low," she said. "In fact, you're extremely anemic and Dr. Y wants you to see the hematologist upstairs."

Normally, a statement like that would send me, panicking, straight for Google to see what exotic disease I might have. However, hearing what the nurse had to say made me feel one thing: guilty.

See, I am what they would call in medical circles a non-compliant patient. Yes, Dr. Y has told me before that I need to take iron supplements to combat my low hemoglobin. But I generally nod yes, while knowing darn well that I'd rather iron my sheets than take iron supplements. I am guilty of non-compliance.

I don't really have a good reason for not taking them, well aside from the threat of wicked, er, plumbing issues. It's really a quantity issue. I hate taking so many pills every day. I guess I'm just stubborn like that.

However, the threat of the hematologist was enough to kick this mule in the hind end. All I could think of were the bills that will soon be rolling in from Mike's recent hospital stay and I wasn't about to trot off to another specialist with his (or her) special blood tests with their not-so-special price tags.

So, I 'fessed up to the nurse that I haven't actually been taking the iron supplements as Dr. Y would have me take them and could I please have another chance?

The nurse talked to the doc who agreed, but -- as punishment, I'm sure -- said I have to take the iron supplement not once but twice a day for the next two months, after which they'll check my iron again. If it's still low then, I agreed to present myself and my pin-cushion arms to the hematologist.

The thing is, I don't FEEL incredibly anemic. I'm tired, yes, but I chalk that up to my wacky sleeping habits. I don't think my skin is pasty white. I chew ice, a lot, but that's better than chewing Thin Mints or Snickers, right?

I guess now that I've got my heart on the right track, I should get my blood in the same shape. So iron supplements (and plenty of added fiber), here I come!


Cat said...

Get on those pills! I agree on the plumbing issues (still on prenatals for breastfeeding and they're wicked full of iron) but I eat a ton of fiber and it's turned out OK. Stay healthy girl!!

Survivormama said...

I cannot take iron at all..severe sensitivity to it..stops plumbing completely..not hey take lots of fiber or a good luck!

Kathleen said...

Can you take "Slow Fe?" I took those when I was pregnant with the twins and my plumbing issues weren't so bad! :)

kbiermom said...

Did they recommend ways to get more iron in your diet through whole foods? I would balk, too, at the recommendation of ramping up the iron in your body so suddenly.

Here's a list of foods to think about -- bonus is that many of them are also high in fiber!

It's also good to know that certain elements, like caffeine, can be counterproductive to iron supplements, so you would want to avoid taking them together. I learned that from the Indiana Blood Center -- I had tried to donate blood, but was rejected for anemia. They gave me a handout w/ info like that -- I couldn't find it on their website, but you could probably just drop into one of their centers and ask for it :)

Don't see yourself as noncompliant -- maybe your body is telling you to be *differently* compliant :)