Saturday, January 12

Another Transfusion

Hey there, friends. Today I had another blood transfusion. Hematocrit was down to 25 on Monday, and since then I have had some seriously unnerving symptoms from a colitis flare. Won't get into details on that, but suffice it to say, I think my hematocrit was closer to 20 today going into the transfusion, than 25.

I went to a new hospital I've never been to. The satellite/branch clinic that is my home base usually (because it is closer to my home than the main hospital in Seattle) does not do blood transfusions, and because this was sort of urgent and I'm working with my primary care doctor now on this stuff, whose goal is to be super efficient and make things easy on me (she is the best!!), she sent me over to this small hospital about fifteen minutes from home. Even though I had my blood drawn for the type and cross-match last night, which should give the blood center plenty of time to find suitable blood for me, I have developed some antibodies lately and they couldn't find a good match. 

So after initially delaying the appointment two hours, then they finally delivered the blood about 45 minutes after I got there and had my first IV in. Yeah... first IV... Just when the nurse was about to start the infusion, I noticed that around the IV site my skin was elevated - this happened about a month ago on the same arm, and it hurts! The vein gets punctured and so the place in between my vein and the skin starts filling with IV fluid and such. Super gross to think about, and really painful. It will take a few days to flatten out again; it hurts now whenever I move my arm, becuase it's on the inside of my elbow area.
So unfortunately with that happening, the nurse had to take out the IV and put in a new one on my other arm. [Oh my veins, please relax and start working like you used to!] It is really hard to sit through multiple painful IV pokes when you are already exhausted and have a racing heart rate and seeing spots from low blood volume. At this point in my life, what I do is sit there and just imagine Jesus sitting with me, holding my hand. And I imagine what He went through on the cross for us. If He could bear that, I can bear some little pokes, I think to myself. It does help. Hey, you do what works - I'm not a weirdo!

Because they never could come up with a good match for my blood with the antibodies, so they gave me blood that wasn't exactly matched, and administered Tylenol and Benadryl to stave off a reaction of a fever, itching, rash, etc. - the common symptoms of a blood reaction. If I may make a little PSA here, see, this is a reason why everyone that can should get out there and donate blood! Maybe you have antibodies in your blood, and it will be a perfect match for someone in my situation! I was lucky enough to get a perfectly matched transfusion of two different units last time.
Benadryl always knocks me out, so I dozed off while most of the first unit transfused. This worked well because Hubs was with me, there happened to be a free recliner and TV next to me for him, and he got to watch Man movies like "The Patriot" on AMC while I dozed and got my transfusion today. A good mental vacation for him, my faithful companion :)

Both units ended up going in fine, thank You God, and we saw much improvement in my blood pressure and heart rate as the afternoon progressed to evening. I am having some flare up issues with bleeding still (probably because my platelets are still not up where they should be) and so I am losing more blood. I just pray that stops tonight, no more bleeding! and I will wake up tomorrow with a new feeling and a lack of disease in my guts. That is my prayer every day. It is really hard to sit and watch your body operate in such dysfunction, and not be able to do anything about it. I've done the meds, the diet changes, the stress reduction, the extra resting... this is one left up to the Lord for a miracle. But at least I was able to get blood today, and come home to my own bed and my sweet family tonight. Even on my worst days, there is so much to be thankful for. Especially that I am still breathing, walking, talking, thinking, hearing, smelling, seeing...

I almost forgot, I have a praise report to share. Despite stopping the N-plate shots, my platelets were up to 11,000 on Monday. That is a great improvement from the 2,000 level they were at about two weeks ago. My doctor was encouraged along with me that they went up "on their own." I believe it's a combination of the natural supplement I'm taking to boost platelets, and answer to prayers! But it was really wonderful to see that improvement. Now to get them up to above 150,000 where they belong!

I will wrap up this post with a verse from Psalm 73 that I had on my mind tonight. I am grateful for this truth:

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.