People my age don’t collect a salary, but we do have jobs – to stay healthy, and keep ourselves safe. Invariably when I talk with a friend, conversation touches on those mental lapses known as senior moments when we slip up without realizing it.
Most of our lapses are merely annoying. Frustrating. Such as the forgetfulness that sends us to a store for a duplicate item because we can’t remember where we left something last time we held it. Like my two pairs of cutting pliers.
One friend competent in carpentry who has made herself more than one bookshelf tallies her projects by the number of hammers lined up on her tool bench.
Somewhere in my house I have two 28-inch zippers for replacing a gap-toothed zipper in my winter jacket.
Instead of sewing in the first zipper last spring, I put off the task knowing warm weather would soon have me wearing a lighter jacket.
By the time fall weather made replacing the zipper urgent I couldn’t find the zipper. I got a second one. I’ve misplaced it, too. But if I ever find one, I’m sure I’ll find both.
Those misplacements, though, are of no great consequence. The error I finally recognized this morning is much more serious.
For years I’ve been on a daily dose of Warfarin, a drug that thins the blood to prevent blood clots. My normal daily dosage is 10 to 11 mg.
The dose varies depending upon the results of a frequent blood test called INR which measures clotting time. Thinning the blood too much can cause hemorrhaging; too little can produce a clot which could block a blood vessel to the heart causing a heart attack, or to the brain causing a stroke.
I have prescriptions for 1 mg. peach-coloured tablets and for 5 mg. rose tablets.
For weeks my INR kept dropping much to my doctor’s consternation. Yesterday he asked me to come in and see him.
I worried all night. Am I suffering liver disease? Is that why my INR is dropping?
This morning as I counted out my dose something prompted me to check the size of the tablets in the 5 mg. bottle. I had never noticed before it held two colours. Mixed in with the rose were a few peach tablets.
Guess when I received the last prescription refills, I combined leftover 1’s with 5’s, or vice versa. How long might I have been taking too-small doses? Little wonder my INR continued dropping.
Recognizing seniors’ penchant for memory lapses, a company that makes high-tech running shoes for athletes produces a shoe adaptable to tracking wandering dementia patients. (Studies show up to 70 percent of Alzheimer’s patients tend to wander away and become lost at least once.)
Made by GTX and called the SmartSole, the shoe’s sole incorporates a GPS device which produces a ‘Google map’ showing the wanderer’s route and location.
If the patient steps beyond the allotted range, for instance outside a home’s fenced yard, the GPS signals a monitor. The map leads searchers right to the wanderer.
My family often urges me to carry a cell phone when I walk my dogs on trails through the bush.
I have been known to trip over a root, or slide down on a muddy hill where nothing was available to grab on to, except my dog’s fur.
A cell phone would let me call for help. But how would anyone find me out there? If I were wearing SmartSole shoes, I would be easy to track … if anyone had reason to search for me.
Pairing a cell phone with Smart Sole shoes might work best.
Claudette Sandecki puts her best foot forward in Thornhill, B.C.