Friday, May 5, 2017

Easy peasy (kind of sort of)

Still life, real life
A friend drove me to Dana-Farber Wednesday, so I have no complaints about the driver.

First stop was 11th floor, head and neck oncology, to see Dr. Goguen, "the tongue doctor" who scooped out a piece of my tongue that had dysplasic, or pre-malignant, cells on it. That was in 2011, on Katie's birthday. I have gotten checkups once a year for a while, and the doctor said it looks fine and can now be checked just by my dentist or my regular doctors.

A physician's assistant who was with her asked if my skin had been darkened by chemotherapy or the sun. I said I thought it had changed a shade after chemo. Either way, she said I looked healthy.

On to ECP, I didn't start right away because my hematocrit had been low last time (from bleeding on the head, caused by Mohs surgery on a squamous cell), and they needed to check it. I had forgotten to get in writing the test results from a finger prick that I got at Dr. Berger's office when I had my stitches removed. I called the office but my doctor's nurse was on vacation and didn't leave a forwarding number. I called another nurse and left a message. She got back to me and said they measure hemoglobin, not hematocrit, and it was 11.

The nurse who did the test originally, as well as the second nurse, couldn't tell me the hematocrit. I thought that was odd because all you have to do is look up the ratio of hemoglobin to hematocrit.

Hemoglobin and hematocrit are parts of the red blood cell.

Hemoglobin is the protein contained in red blood cells that is responsible for delivery of oxygen to the tissues. The hematocrit measures the volume of red blood cells compared to the total blood volume (red blood cells and plasma). 

In general, to get the hematocrit, multiply hemoglobin by three.

At ECP they want the "crit" to be 27. Last time it hovered a little under, but they did the light treatment anyway.

Although I had gotten the hemoglobin from my doctor, the nurse at the Kraft Blood Donor Center had already sent my sample (after two tries because the needle hit scar tissue). It was 33. (Eleven times three!)

So I got the info from two sources that I was good to go.

My friend was standing at the end of the bed while this was going on and continued to stand there while I got hooked up to the machine that my blood would flow into for my the "internal sunburn."

I said he might want to sit down. I felt better after he did.

I just can't ask someone to drive me every other week, but it sure was nice to have a break.

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