I always expect to wait in the clinic for a while before my checkup, but today the waiting time was close to a record: two hours. I came, as usual, prepared with today's New York Times, leftover sections from yesterday, the book I am currently reading ("The Story of Edgar Sawtelle") and my little blue notebook, in case I need to jot down a question or a random thought.
I went through the newspaper and was reading the book when I finally got into a room. Sometimes I get caught up in thinking that delay signals bad news for me, and then my heart rate picks up and panic sets in. Today, though, I did a pretty good job of keeping the lid on. Maybe it was because I was so tired. I almost fell asleep in the chair. I did, however, have to resist my impulse to run into the hall, grab anyone with a white coat, and say to them, "Please, just turn on the computer and tell me my counts!"
Today I was scheduled with nurse practitioner Melissa Cochran. Finally, she came in. I knew the delay wasn't her fault; sometimes the whole system just seems to get incredibly backed up. Melissa apologized for the wait and asked me how I was feeling. I said generally pretty good, although I've been having some stomach problems.
She turned on the computer.
Drum roll ...
My white blood count was up to 3.8, in the normal range of 3.8-9.2. I can't remember when my WBC was last in the threes.
Hematocrit was up to 31.1 (normal is 34.8-43.6). Hurray for Aranesp!
Platelets were down a little, from 141 ten days ago to 133 today. (Normal is 155-410.) But 133 sounds good compared to my low of 4 during my last hospital stay.
If the counts are low, I usually toss the printout.
Today, I kept it. After quite a bit of worrying during the past week, I was, naturally, very happy.
Plus, Melissa said I could get a coffee for the drive home. By now it was rush hour in Boston, and I knew that door-to-door the drive would be at least two hours, so I was happy I could get coffee.
For the first time, I walked into a Starbucks and got a coffee.
Now, that felt normal.