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Over the years I have often asked doctors about vitamins and other nutritional supplements. Almost without exception I have gotten an indulgent smile and a disdainful comment that vitamins are over rated and I’m wasting my money.
Next week my husband is having his second cornea transplant. Before the first transplant he was very fearful. He reviewed the doctor’s instructions almost daily to be sure he was doing everything right. One of the pre-op instructions was no aspirin and no vitamin E. I normally give my husband 200 iu of Vitamin E in the morning, plus whatever is in his evening multiple. That seems to be a good amount for a Type A. Before the first surgery I carefully stopped all Vitamin E.
The first surgery was so successful that we became complacent. We went on vacation to enjoy cool mountain air and golden trees, neither of us worrying at all about coming back to face the second surgery. I didn’t put the Vitamin E capsule in his vitamin box when I packed for the trip, but I did put in the multiple. When I refilled the boxes the day after we got home, I wasn’t thinking of the surgery at all, and automatically added E.
Today was his pre-op appointment. The doctor said everything on the first eye looks perfect. He now has 20/25 vision in that eye. Everything looks ready to go for the second surgery. When he got home, he read over the instruction sheet and asked if he was taking Vitamin E.
I cannot tell you how horrible I felt that I had forgotten. We called the doctor’s office to tell his assistant what we had done. We waited anxiously while the two of them conferred. The doctor is not concerned about the Vitamin E, just saying not to take any more between now and the surgery.
While I still feel guilty for not taking better care of my husband, I am less concerned about a Type A getting a little Vitamin E before a surgery than I would a Type O. Type As have thicker blood, which is why they benefit from the thinning effect of Vitamin E. Certainly Vitamin E would be contraindicated in an already thin-blooded Type O before a surgical procedure.
The most interesting thing, however, is that while medical school trained doctors sniff at taking vitamins for preventative purposes, they do acknowledge their potency in pre-surgery instructions. Come on Doc, you can’t have it both ways! Either vitamins effect on our bodies or they don’t.
My type A uncle had open heart surgery a few years ago and still had to have a blood transfusion even though he stopped the Vitamin E 10 days before surgery. Some Rx drugs given can still thin the blood. I'm sure the hospital will do some pre-op testing to see how well your husband clots.
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