Friday, August 15, 2008

Again, Blood and Ottawa

On Wednesday I went in for a followup, which of course means a blood test. My hemoglobins were still dropping, but I felt fine. I was given two options: get one unit of blood on Wednesday, then come back for another on Thursday or Friday, or come in on Friday and get both. Since it was approaching noon already—when everything in the oncology clinic slows down—and a transfusion, once it's started, takes about 105 minutes, I elected to come in on Friday. Besides, I felt great, right?

Wrong. By the time I got home, I was starting to feel fatigued. The next day was a bit worse, but in the afternoon, when I was alone at home and typing away on the computer, I felt myself starting to black out. I stumbled upstairs onto the living room couch, called Vicky—I could barely speak—and closed my eyes.

I eventually woke up and felt marginally better, but objectively I was a wreck, with my muscles aching and my head pounding. We called my hematologist (actually, Vicky did when I was semi-conscious) and when I spoke to her later she pointed out that I was probably anemic (which should have been obvious to me—all the signs were there) and that the headache and dizziness might be caused by the recent upping of the Hydrea, which we'd done to keep my crazy white blood count under control. My Hydrea dose was knocked down back down to its old level, and I stumbled through dinner, and eventually sleep.

This morning I woke up, muscles still aching and still damned tired, and forced myself to get out of bed so we could get to the hospital early. (The oncology clinic is always busy; five minutes can make all the difference between a ten-minute wait time and a two-hour wait time.) The strategy paid off; I got two units of blood in record time, with the new bag of blood switched out just as the first one ran out. I got in around 9:15, and was done pretty much at 1:00 on the dot, a new record.

(By the way, for those counting that's now blood transfusions #31 and #32, for a total of 44 transfusions overall.)

Usually after a blood transfusion I feel pretty peppy, but this time the difference wasn't as noticeable. I felt better, but still not particularly good; my muscles still ached, and I was still feeling tired. My blood pressure was low—something like 96/57—and my white blood count was still up there. I pretty much went straight home and straight to bed.

Some other news, though: while I was busy getting the red stuff, the Ottawa General Hospital left us a message at home. I'm going in for some preliminary testing next week, and the actual transplant date is starting to get a bit clearer: they're saying it'll be the second week of September. Right away, my hematologist picked up on the fact that I wasn't too enthusiastic. The plan, as you'll recall, was to get in the best shape possible so I'd be ready for the transplant. But right now I feel like the last few weeks have been piling up on me.

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