John doesn’t let his age get in his way. To him, seventy doesn’t mean sitting on the sofa and watching TV. He likes to work in his garden and is always up and around, just like last summer. ‘I was walking to the garden house to get the cement mixer I had inherited from my dad and, the next thing I knew, I woke up on the floor. I was completely dazed and disoriented.’
It turned out that he had had a stroke. This was the beginning of a whole ordeal for John: he was in and out of the hospital for examinations and check-ups, and had to take various medication. ‘I’ve always been active and fit. Especially after I turned thirty, I got really serious about sports and exercise. I could run a kilometre in just over 5 minutes.’ John is now partially blind in his right eye because of the stroke, but this doesn’t keep him from being active outdoors.
No fear of emergency situations
Since the stroke, John has been taking blood thinners. For the type that he takes there is also a drug that can reverse the blood-thinning effect. ‘That’s a great relief to me given the work I do outdoors and in the garden, where it’s easy for me to get a cut.’ If he cuts himself, he can go to the hospital where the blood thinning effect can be stopped. . ‘Fortunately, I’ve never had a serious cut.’
Do you know when to ask for medical help for a person who is taking blood thinners?
Protect yourself against a stroke
To John, it’s important that patients with atrial fibrillation take blood thinners. ‘Trust me, you don’t want to have a stroke. You don’t want to become partially blind or worse! I wish I had started taking them earlier.’
If you recognise this story or have questions about atrial fibrillation, please contact your doctor.