I meant to post yesterday evening at my leisure while awaiting my cells, which I thought were due to arrive at the cell manipulation lab at 9:30 p.m. and would therefore come to me around 11. (Cell manipulation lab sounds so futuristic; I am grateful that in terms of scientific advances, the future is now.) Then Helen, my nurse last night, said they would be ready for actual infusion around 9:30 and that she would begin pre-medicating me at 9 with Ativan and Benadryl, at which point I got all discombobulated and couldn’t eat my dinner, let alone write.
It’s not that you have to do anything to receive the cells; you just lie there and try to stay calm. But it feels momentous, especially when they hook you up to a monitor tracking your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation. Of course it also feels enormous because I know how important those cells are to me. The infusion took about 45 minutes and went smoothly most of the way while Helen watched the monitor and me. I dozed on and off. We had the TV on ABC’s “20-20,” which was doing a piece on a woman who gave birth to a dwarf (or is it “little person” now). She had other children, but she wanted her small child to have a sibling soul-mate, so she adopted another little person from China, and the two successfully navigated childhood together.
You might wonder why I bring this up; it’s just part of the scene, in an odd way.
The infusion had just about finished when I reacted, either to the cells or to a fever I was going to get anyway. I started shaking vigorously, and my heart rate went up. Helen gave me 25 mg. of Demerol, which didn’t stop the shakes. She paged a doctor who came in quickly. I got another dose of Demerol, more Benadryl, hydrocortisone and some Tylenol. Also they put me on oxygen.
Concerned that the shaking and shivering and fever would deter my new baby stem cells, I asked the doctor about it, and she said not to worry. Everything calmed down in about half an hour, and, after soaking through two hospital gowns, I finally got a few hours sleep. Today I am a little puffy and bleary-eyed, and I’m starting to feel the beginning of the predicted mouth sores. Somehow, my platelets went up overnight on their own, from about 10 to about 40, so I don’t need any “products” today. I think I will take that as a good omen.
Diane brought me a birthday present yesterday: a card with a pop-up bouquet and a bag filled with the other kind of product that I now need after my transplant. It contained shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash and lip gloss, all in pretty perk-me-up colors. (After transplant, you’re supposed to start with everything clean and new and throw out old products.) On the card, she wrote, “Here’s to a wonderful and healthy life with your new mystery donor!”
Last night, as the evening weirdness settled in on me, Diane reminded me, “You’re getting another shot at a whole new life. It’s great. It’s the miracle of modern science.”
It’s wonderful to have a baby sister who anticipates my every need, who picks me up and who washes, folds and delivers my laundry with a smile.
Thank you everyone for your support – your thoughts, prayers, comments, good vibes, messages, calls, visits and cards really mean a lot to me. The jokes help too.
Oh, about that fruit that I wrote about on the last post. The dietary technician came in and put an end to that. I am happy enough for now with my canned peaches. I don't think I could eat an orange anyway.
A Few More Miles!
16 hours ago