The first transfusion started just after the shift change, and thus I finally began to feel a bit better! Each unit of a blood transfusion takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to complete; because I was getting three of them at first, and due to the time needed to flush the IV line between transfusions, it took pretty much all day for all three to be completed. I don’t remember too much of what happened that day, except that my family came to visit that afternoon, during the last transfusion, I think, and that was nice. I still didn’t have too much energy, physically, but I do remember most of what was going on. Melissa and Dad stayed around for a while, and we watched Iron Man, or something like that…and then Alyssa Duncan, the January intern from my core who lives in the DFW area, stopped by also. It was so nice to see her…aside from the circumstances! It was kinda fun to ask her opinion of how the nurses were taking care of me as she is going to school to get her nursing license. :)
After a while Mom, Ellie and Clara came back. I don’t think they stayed very long, except to give Dad dinner, as he was going to stay with me that night. After the rest of the family had left, the nurse shift had changed again, and my blood count was checking after those first three units of blood [it was up to 6.9 then – which was good – though not good enough], they started me on the second round of 3 units of blood. While most of them happened at night – I was so exhausted and was finally getting relief from the terrible headache that I’d had, it was not the most fun thing to experience getting several blood transfusions during the middle of the night. For the first hour of each transfusion, they would check my blood pressure and temperature every 15 minutes to make sure my body was accepting the blood. After the first hour, they change the time increments to be every 30 minutes, and if it is still going on after the second hour, they change it to every hour. So, with this type of a schedule, it’s not too impossible to get some sleep…it just gets somewhat interrupted when each unit would finish and the machine pumping it in would start to beep. Poor Dad wasn’t able to sleep very much that night, as he has sleep apnea – in which he stops breathing very deeply during the night, and so he usually using a breathing machine to keep everything going properly so he can sleep well. Needless to say he didn’t bring that to the hospital…and the frequent coming and going of the nurses didn’t help either. I remember at some point that night that I noticed he had propped himself up to almost a sitting position and looked mostly asleep…in any case, while I felt much better the next morning, he was rather tired.
That finally all finished, and I ate breakfast at some point. [After the last unit of blood, a tech came and checked my blood count again, which we found out it had gotten up to 9.1! Also during the last set of transfusions, they had given me some kind of a steroid to help the process, which also put a lot of gas in my diaphragm – making me quite uncomfortable, as I couldn’t relieve that pressure very easily!] In any case, the day was rather uneventful…though we were waiting to hear from the doctors how long they wanted to keep me there, now that I had gotten the blood. Word finally came that I would be staying another night at least, so they could do a biopsy on the lymph node in my groin – as that had concerned them somewhat. So, another night in the hospital. Not too bad…but not the most fun either. That day (Sunday, 2/6) I was actually able to get the IV out of my left elbow-vein (I’m sure there is a more technical term…but I have no idea what it is…) because it had been put in by the ambulance and any medical stuff not put in by the hospital could only stay in for 48 hours. So…that night I was IV free! The only not-so-fun thing was that I couldn’t eat or drink anything after midnight Sunday night in preparation for the CT scan the next morning.
I slept better that night…though was still woken up a few times with the regular check-up from the nurse. The worst part of that night was not being able to drink anything, as I got rather thirsty. They checked my blood level that morning, and I was down to 8.4, so I was still dropping…not so good. I didn’t think a whole lot about it, though, as I was feeling so much better than I had been, and I had been able to shower the day before! That was lovely… as the only other time I’ve gone so long without a show was during ESOAL, an event I’ve participated in twice while at the Honor Academy. It had never felt so nice! I mostly just waited for the people from the radiology department to come and get me for the CT scan, which was schedule to happen at 11am. However, as often happens in the medical world, they didn’t come as scheduled and didn’t appear until about 1pm. In the meantime, I had another IV put in, this time in a vein on the back of my left hand – right at the wrist. That way I would be able to actually use my left arm, rather than it be completely incapacitated! They finally arrived and wheeled me off. They took me in my bed this time, rather than put me in a wheel chair…although this time I was much more able to get into a wheel chair, as I was no longer attached to anything, off the oxygen, and could move around myself, albeit slowly.
They took me down to the bottom floor of the hospital, where everything was located, and I saw a somewhat-familiar machine. There were several more people there this time, though, which I thought was rather odd. However, they began to prep me for the procedure, and let me know everything that was going to happen. Just before giving me the anesthetics, they decided to use the ultrasound procedure rather than the CT scan for the biopsy, as the lymph node had gotten so much smaller. That’s all I remember before coming too again, and then they told me that they had decided not to do the biopsy after all, because it had gotten so much smaller. That was good news, though I was not to happy about getting another IV and anesthesia and everything…all for nothing! But it was okay – the Lord knew that would happen.
I finally made it back up to my room, and was very ready for lunch by then. I found out that a friend from GFA, David Carroll, had stopped by just as I had left to have the procedure done…but it had taken about an hour, so I had missed him. That was a bummer, but okay. I was mostly focused on lunch. Since the lymph node biopsy was what we’d waiting for the day before, we were rather anxious to hear if I could go home or not. We finally did hear from the hospital doctor, not my hematologist, that she wanted me to stay another night since my blood count had dropped almost a whole point in one day, as she wanted to make sure I was stable before releasing me. By this time I had started taking the steroid Prednisone, which I am currently still on, to help my immune system regulate and suppress the part of my immune system that had gone into over-drive and was destroying my red blood cells.
So, I was in for another night of waiting. I felt much better, though, and made the best of it. That night the Powell ladies stopped by for a visit, as did Terri Beers. It was very nice to see them! They were very encouraging! Terri even brought a gift-bag, of sorts. In which were two pairs of warm, fun sock, CDs to listen too, and a brownie. She was very thoughtful and had good insight as to what I could use, as she’d been hospitalized once before somewhat recently, and knew what it was like. My whole family came as well, and it was fun to interact with them more than I had before. :)
The evening ended pleasantly, and I went to bed ready to go home. I actually was able to read some of a book that my sisters had brought me – one I had started over Christmas break but was unable to finish, as it was a library book. We were ready to get out of the hospital…would tomorrow be the day? We shall see…
…To be continued…