Transfusion Confusion

Posted by Christine on September 4, 2012 in Uncategorized |

One of the things I hate the most about being at the hospital is the need for an IV. To say I am a hard stick is putting it lightly. You see Lady, my veins are like that obnoxious little kid everybody knows who really needs to be on Ritalin, but isn’t; hypersensitive and prone to blow.

When I was re-admitted to the hospital on Friday, I got an extra IV; just in case. In case of what??? In case of freezing temps, an earthquake, Lindsay Lohan has another run-in with the law? With two IV’s, my right arm was rendered useless for any future blood draws.

My left arm had already taken a good beating from the prior 4 day hospitalization, so there were few veins that were not bruised and could actually be brought to the surface. It was not helping that blood draws we’re taking place every 8 hours; 24 hours a day.

By Sunday I was so mentally tired & stressed that I requested a PICC line from the attending doctor. She agreed, especially since I was likely to need a transfusion and be at the hospital through the scheduled surgery date.

The PICC has done wonders and I’m beyond pleased I requested it. It has made the constant blood draws so much more bearable.

On Monday night, my hematocrit level started to drop to a dangerous level and I began to feel symptomatic; nauseous, lightheadedness, very lethargic. I was encouraged to get a blood transfusion or chance the possibility of damage to my other organs since enough oxygen was not being circulated in my bloodstream.

Even though my brother and I have always had spherocytosis, we’ve never required a blood transfusion. Listen lady, it’s a scary choice to be faced with. The wrong decision could have serious complications or fatalities. All I knew, at that moment, was that maybe I should have hugged Cardin and Rory a few extra minutes; given them a few more kisses that night when they left.

I agreed to the transfusion and Brett held my hand as the blood flowed down the IV tubing; both of us unsure of how my spleen was going to react. At 10pm, the nurse came in and told him that for security purposes he needed to leave the wing.

He knew I was scared out of my wits and I wanted him there. Normally, I am his rock, but our roles have become so reversed the past couple of weeks. He agreed to leave the wing but only as far as the lobby. Where he spent the night dozing in a chair; ready to run back to my room on a moments notice if I texted him.

He spent all night out there and I texted him first thing in the morning to come back to my room when doctors started arriving and discussing the results of the transfusion and my future at the hospital.

The transfusion ran well, no unexpected symptoms or splenic reactions. Unfortunately, the transfusion did not increase my hematocrit level as the doctors had anticipated. Typically, with each bag of blood, the expected outcome is that the hematocrit will raise by 3 points. Mine went from 19 to 20. FAIL.

Immediately, the doctors began rushing me to take another bag of blood, but I was feeling much better and I refused the additional transfusions until I spoke to hematology and could get some questions answered. I’m glad I waited, hematology told me that, unless I feel symptomatic again, it’s unnecessary for me to receive any more transfusions. Woohoo

On a positive note, looks like I may go home tomorrow.

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