Friday, March 15, 2013

The First (and hopefully last?) Blood Transfusion

So I haven't written in a week.  And I wish I could say that is because there was nothing to share or because of the lack of news.  Really, it was quite eventful.

Tiffany went in to get a blood draw on Tuesday at the local oncologist while fighting a low grade fever and headaches from what we thought were due to the anti nausea drug she has been taking.  After they scanned her temperature at 100.9 degrees and a check of the blood counts well below normal, they told her she needed a transfusion.  Due to the high temperature, she was instructed to go to HCI to get checked out and treated.  So she called me up and off we went, thanking good neighbors, again, for watching Porter as we left.  When we got down there, again, she was taken away for blood draws and temperature readings and, luckily, her fever had reduced enough to not need additional medical attention other than a blood transfusion.  So they took samples of the blood so they could type it for the blood transfusion that they would do the next day.  Because her fever had gone down, they opted that because it was already about 6 in the evening, it would be easier, we thought, to do it the next morning.

So home we went were Tiffany had a hard night sleep with headaches and constant stirring and finally woke up to leave by 8 Wednesday morning to have her first ever blood transfusion.  We arrived at the appointed time and quickly found out that she had taken off her wristband from the night before which we were supposed to have been told to leave on.  Since nobody told us and she didn't have it, they had to retake her blood and type it again.  You would think they could confirm that this indeed was Tiffany, the same person they pulled blood from the night before and the typing they did the night before would match her and work just fine.  But, apparently, to be safe, that can't be done.  So more blood was drawn and set us back an hour and a half to two hours while we waited for it to be typed and matched again.

Once they had the right match of blood they started into it.  Now, I have never needed a transfusion, and she never has, so as they let loose the bag of blood, dripping through the tubes, it was, in some small way, kind of scary.  You are told all your life to always protect yourself from somebody elses blood for obvious reasons and the one person I know who had a blood transfusion ended up getting hepatitis B from it.  So it just seemed a little crazy that she just sat there and had blood from some stranger dripping into her, freely done.  But, grateful that somebody had done so, so she could be helped.  Her red blood count was down substantially where it should have been, largely due to the chemo she has been taking, and without this transfusion, she just felt out of it; tired, lethargic, and just a feeling of inability.  She had worked out earlier in the day on Tuesday, and she said she felt like a 'wimp'  and just couldn't keep up during the workout and fell asleep on the fly later after she had showered and laid down on the bed for a second. 

That said, she was in generally good spirits sitting in the infusion room, getting poked, prodded, and checked every 15 minutes or so.  Our friend and neighbor, who is getting treated for breast cancer, arrived sometime after noon for her chemo infusion.  It was nice to see a familiar face and she came to chat with Tiffany before she, herself, was called in for her treatment.  Our prayers go to her and her family.  They have a newborn and her treatments, though I can't say is better or worse than Tiffany's as they are different type of treatment, will keep her down for many days.  She had good spirits about her and we were grateful for her upbeat nature and disposition among the many issues she has to face.  By far, a blessing for us to see how somebody goes through a similar trial with courage while facing this ugly disease.

Well, after two units had dripped dry, they patched Tiffany up and sent her on her way.  She was feeling much better in many ways, but she quickly noticed her ankles and legs started to swell up.  After walking around for a bit, and even heading to the car to go home, we decided we better go back and make sure everything was OK.  The nurses on hand couldn't think of anything wrong, but they called the doctor up and the doctor confirmed that nothing they did that day should have any possible issues.  The doctor had us go home and watch her and call back in the morning.

Thursday morning came and she still had swollen ankles, but due to the the lack of other symptoms, the nurse she talked to said to continue watching for other symptoms but they can't think of what is going on.  And now, Friday evening, she just awoke from a nap and still has swollen ankles.  We are, of course, concerned, this isn't normal, but for now, it doesn't seem to be getting worse and she is still able to move around normally.  So we will watch it this weekend and wait and see.

She has another appointment on Monday for a blood draw and transfusion, IF she wakes up and feels like she did earlier this week.  If she is feeling fine, they told her to wait and come in on our normally scheduled appointment next Thursday.

So, for now, she would appear to be in good spirits, but tired and nauseous and ready to understand what this is all about.  We all would.  But until we find out, a smile and a cheerful disposition will get her through about anything.

That and many good friends who make it all that much more bearable!  Thank you all who have helped us, we appreciate it.



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update! I have been wondering if the swelling was better today. Tiffany, it is my week to teach, so don't stress about coming Sunday if you are not up to it. Never hesitate to call me you guys!!!

    Ps. Adi was VERY impressed with Logan's diorama at school. You guys rock for staying so positive and doing awesome school projects on top of it all!