Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2 Reds Straight Up, with a Platelet Chaser

Now that I have my new Port in place and can no longer partake of my favorite wine and beer, the wine analogies have taken over my impoverished brain.  If someone tells you, "Don't even THINK about apple pie!" then all you'll see are apples, pies, pie a la mode... I'm sure there is a psychological term for that, but I digress.

Monday's blood work showed Low's & High's:
Hemoglobin: 7.9  (low)
Hematocrit: 24.9  (low)
Platelets: 62  (low)
Whites:  3.1  (low)
Neutrophils:  33 (low)
MCHC: 31.6 (low)

High are Bands, Metamyelocytes, Myelocytes, Anisocytosis, Poikilocytosis, Polychromasia, and Schistocytes.  (I'm still looking up all these from the Manual Differential test).

Next thing I know, I'm here at Gwinnett Medical Center's Out-patient Transfusion Center.
Good to the last drop!
2 units of platelets
My appointment is for 7:00 am EST. 
Yes, you read that right! 7:00 AM
Hells bells, I wasn't a morning person on my best, healthiest days!
Kudos to my wonderful daughter who brought coffee to my bedroom this morning ~ at least it got one eye open.

I'm getting two units of Red Blood Cells and 2 units of Platelets. This is the first time I'll receive platelets and third time receiving RBCs. 

I must give a shout-out of THANKS to the blood donors from Gainesville, Florida who made their precious B negative blood available to me. Thanks also go out to the platelet donors who are saving me today. 
 Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Close up look at the port in use.
My last blog entry shows what the port looks like (please excuse the leftover betadyne stain on the skin. Here are pics of the port in use. With great advice from another patient, I applied a dollop of lidocaine 5% on the port and covered it with a clear sticky sheet the nurse gave me the day before when I went in for the blood match and cross. I put the lidocaine cream on the port site about 20 minutes before my scheduled appointment. 
The nurse, Amy, was fastidious in her preparations and the IV hook-up. We both wore masks during the process. I barely felt the needle go in through the skin! Yay me!

Turns out she worked in the transplant unit at Northside Hospital (where I will be). I was quick to recognize her knowledge of blood stem cell transplantation and peppered her with questions throughout our day together. Her candor was professional and refreshingly frank. 

When I asked about how to best prepare for the big fight (other than eating well, avoiding illness, and exercise), she recommended that we prepare for the enormous physical and emotional toll it will take on me. It can be frightening to someone who doesn't understand that it is part of the process. Others have told me that the intense chemo takes you to death's door, leaving you to crawl back to the land of the living.    
Well folks, I'm not sure we'll be sharing photos of that grandeur (but you never know).

While the platelets were dripping in, the hospital chaplain stopped by. Now, I don't know why, but when an official person of God shows up in my hospital room my first reaction is, "Why am I the last to know? How long do I have? Holy crap! What sins should I be confessing? Is eating ice cream out of the carton (double dipping of course) and sticking it back in the freezer a deal breaker?"

Platelet Pole Dancing
We talked for awhile, while I was under the influence of Benadryl, and I think I confessed to a lot of anxiety about this whole silent sickness / need a transplant / need an unrelated donor situation. The speed at which this seems to be progressing is really throwing off my well-intended plans to hit some Bucket List items before the transplant. She listened attentively, likely wishing she picked another room. 

As I talked, my eyeballs got a bit sweaty and I decided to lighten the mood. I asked the minister to take a picture of me pole dancing with my platelets. She kindly indulged me as you see here.

I'm home now and feel exhausted. Time for a nap!

No comments: