Saturday, September 10, 2005

Two surprises

There were two surprises yesterday. Not the need for the transfusion. I had been expecting that, since I’d needed transfusions both after the induction round of chemo during my hospitalization in July and after the first consolidation round in August—and because doctors and nurses alike had warned us that it would be necessary. So that wasn’t the surprise.

The first surprise was that the blood was ready quite a bit sooner than I’d expected. I had figured it wouldn’t get there till 5:00 or 6:00, but Peter, a nurse at the Day Recovery unit, called about 1:45 to say that the blood had arrived and they were ready for me. I just needed to stop by the Admissions desk to register before coming down to Day Recovery. Anna dropped me at the main entrance and I went in to register. The process ended up taking nearly an hour for some reason, all but about 10 minutes of it spent waiting in the lobby. It didn’t sound that busy, so I’m not sure what was going on. At any rate, eventually they got me registered, and this time the woman also gave me a plastic card which apparently has all my registration information on it. This must be a sign that I’ve become a regular at the hospital, someone who shows up often enough that it’s worth speeding up the process. So I’m a frequent flyer.

The big surprise came about an hour and a half later. After accessing my port and infusing two preliminary medications—Benadryl and some form of prednisone, evidently in anticipation of some sort of reaction—Peter got the first IV of platelets going. A few minutes later, my forearms started itching; Peter evidently saw me scratching and asked if I was experiencing an unusual degree of itchiness. I said yes, and he kept watching. All of a sudden he said, “Hey, I see a welt!” and a second later another one popped up, then another, and another, and another. Peter turned off the IV pump and went out to call Dr. Tucker’s office. Tucker’s instructions were to give me another dose of Benadryl IV, wait 30 minutes, and then resume the platelets. So that’s what he did, of course, and sure enough, the itching subsided and the welts—which had grown so large and so rapidly that they joined together in one large lump on each forearm—gradually disappeared.  Everything went smoothly after that. At some point Anna came over with a couple of barbecue sandwiches for me and some food for Dillon, then went on to Bodychoir where again it was her turn to do the music. One of the nurses offered to take Dillon outside, and I lay there listening to One Hundred Years of Solitude and waiting for the transfusion to finish. It was done about 7:15; it took a few more minutes to clean everything up and get the release form signed, and then Peter walked me out to the front door. Peg Syverson very generously picked me up a couple minutes later and drove me home, then stayed with me for the rest of the evening—she left just as Anna was pulling up out in front of the house.

It’s Saturday morning now, and so far everything seems fine. The itching and the hives I experienced last night haven’t returned, and my temperature’s been normal so far. So here’s hoping!


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