Thursday, March 28, 2019

'Platelet pandemonium' a distant memory

Health Union illustration of me being unhappy about my hands
Yesterday I was a little grossed out and grumpy about spraying my ficus plant with dish soap to get rid of tiny little pests that might be mealy bugs. Of course I didn't protect the floor, so then I got down on my hands and knees to wipe up the mess. A little tree by now, it is like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I keep trying to stake it up, with limited success. We've been together a long time. I don't want to give it up, so I just live with it. There must be something in here about living with imperfections.

You can't do this all the time, but it occurred to me, for the sake of perspective, to look at what I was doing 10 years ago. I knew I was still in the hospital, but I couldn't remember what was going on. When I looked it up, I saw that my platelets were so dangerously low that I never would have gotten down on my hands and knees. So being able to do it is a good thing, I guess.

In a post headlined Platelet Pandemonium I wrote,

"Yesterday it turns out that I had dropped to 4 platelets, as in 4,000, and the PA seemed to be kind of worked up about it. She said to be really careful and take it easy, i.e. don't fall. In the meantime she went to call the Red Cross for the platelets, which were nowhere to be found. They started a special search for me and I waited. The nurse had been wrong about platelets being available. I took a walk but basically held my breath all day, except for throwing up my whole lunch onto my tray (sorry...gross, I know). I don't think she was very happy with me. Shortly after that the nurse went home. I got one of the regular staff nurses and was happy about that."

Normal platelet count is 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. So 4,000 is VERY low.

Certain things are a blur but others are in full detail. I clearly remember that nurse bolting out of there. It made me feel worse than I already felt.

It took a long time for my platelets to recover. I hover around the low edge of normal and am sometimes a little below, but I'm told that is fine. The sign of low platelets would be more than normal bruising or tiny little spots called petechiae, a sign of broken blood vessels. At times I had them all over the place. Now I only get black and blue marks when I hit my left calf with my tennis racquet when following through after a serve.

At last check, my platelets were 161, which is shorthand for 161,000. I may not be normal in other aspects, but I'm normal in platelets.

In other news, I wrote about the attachment we get to longterm caregivers (suicide alert) and about why I'm not happy about my hands.

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