Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pain in the arms

Yesterday was not my best day at the Kraft Blood Donor Center, where as you know if you have read about this before I was donating my sunburned, new and improved blood back to myself.

First of all, I came in unrelaxed and 15 minutes late because I had driven myself and despite drinking a shot of the natural energy drink Yerba Mate I got so sleepy that I got off the Pike at the Route 9 Framingham exit looking for a Starbucks. It was less than a mile down the road but just getting off the highway woke me up so I didn't stop after all.

My nurse, Kim, said she could do the usual six cycles anyway because my blood usually flows well. But it didn't turn out that way. First, she had to wiggle the needle around in my left arm because it was not drawing well. It started OK but then got sluggish. She said she was sorry but she would have to change arms. I closed me eyes and tried to go to my calm place.

When I went twice a week, I alternated left and right, but now with once a week they said it was OK to do the same side, and as a righty I have been choosing left. But I guess my the veins in my left arm got tired. Also when my hematocrit came back a little higher than last week (but not as high as the week before), they said it was a sign that I had gotten dehydrated again, thereby causing my veins to be less puffy. (It probably came from getting drenched in sweat after spinning at the Y the day before. I thought I was keeping up, but I guess it was not enough.)

So she went to the right, where she found a vein that worked, but it was pretty thin and the needle hurt most of the remaining two hours. When that nice Dr. Savage came around to check on me, I had tears in my eyes and said, "I am not my usual cheerful self."

He and the nurses Kim and Tina were super nice and distracted me and cheered me up. Tina thinks it's funny that I had turned her on to the Netflix series Grace and Frankie and that she had finished it and I had never gotten around to it. That's probably because I only do it at ECP and last time the internet was not working. So I brought it back up and there was Lily Tomlin's face just staring at me and I had to laugh. Dr. Savage said he was looking for a series, and after he caught a glimpse of it on my screen, he chuckled and said that would be his next.

I thanked him for cheering me up and then I focused on finished the series, which, unexpectedly, ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. Tina said she wondered if it had been renewed, and I looked it up and saw that it was. By this time I was done, but, even though we had cut it down to five cycles rather than the usual six, I wasn't finished until after seven.

I went to Margaret and Nick's, where I got a hug, a good dinner, a beer and some good cheer. I slept over because today I have a new adventure, an early morning visit to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary to visit the cornea specialist who monitors me for possible Graft vs. Host of the eye. The last time I went there, I had an afternoon appointment and waited more than two hours. Hence the choice of the early a.m.

Then, thanks to cousin Betsy Brody who sent me the recipe for my grandmother's honey cake, I am going to caffeinate, go home, get the ingredients, bake the cake, hopefully get a little exercise, and head to Carolyn and Chip's for the Erev Yom Kippur meal with that branch of my lovely extended family.

And, did I say, also take a deep breath?

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