Thursday, March 26, 2009

Platelet pandemoniom

Yesterday I had a new nurse from the float pool who shook me awake at 8 a.m. and said "Your platelets are here!" As I've said, I'm doing a little better holding on to platelets, but I still need transfusions about every other day.

I've had so many transfusions that my system has developed a resistance to most platelets, and I only get a "bump" from certain donors. We found out that Diane is one of them, and she's been giving a bag every week. I told her to take a little break because I don't want her to get exhausted, but good sister that she is, she's been donating every week anyway. She was scheduled to donate today.

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.

Meanwhile the PA called Diane, who was working in Worcester, and asked her if she could come back and donate that same day. Of course, she did. In the meantime, another bag from a different donor showed up, and I got hooked up around 9 p.m. Usually it takes between 30 to 45 minutes, but my IV was finnicky, sometimes painful and sometimes not dripping at all. I kept having to wave my hand around and change positions to make it work. They finally all got in around 11 p.m. 

Today I got a new IV. My platelets were 15, not great but high enough to skip a day of transfusions and fear of bleeding. Tomorrow I will probably get Diane's platelets.


susiegb said...

Well Ronni, I think I'd be somewhat concerned about 4 platelets! Glad your sister is a good match - good on her for donating so frequently. And as you probably guess, I expect she is really glad that there is something she can do to help you!

Unlike most of us who just send good wishes and thoughts across the Pacific Ocean (well, that's my limitations anyway) :)

Susan C said...

4 is a scary low number.

Susie's right - it must be a relief for your sister to do something so specific and so important as giving platelets. That's interesting that your body is so picky about the platelets it accepts.

PJ said...

I'm glad to see you back posting regularly. Writing your blog seems to be a platelet-safe activity. I once got down to 3 platelets and I thought they were going to call out the National Guard. Hang in there (gently) and use those precious platelets patiently. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Howard said...

Yikes...the intrigue isn't letting up. But neither is your keen-eyed view that makes me happy to be reading. So glad to see your posts. Hang in Sistah!!

Anonymous said...

You certainly sound good...and strong!! I am sure that I am not the only one that is getting quite an education from your posts and I thank you for them.

Nelle said...

I am sure Diane is so happy to be able to do something that can truly help you. I remember when my son's platelets were down to 8 and I caught him racing in wheelchairs how nervous I was. Hoping you get a big bump up from Diane's. So glad to see you are posting again.
Sending all my best wishes your way,

Anonymous said...

I'd give you some of what's left of mine but they wouldn't do you much good.

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Ronni, In the midst of all this seriousness about your blood counts, you painted a fun image: waving your arm around, as if the wave the platelets inside.

If you are looking for a moment of comic relief in all this, maybe that can bring a smile.

Once when I was in treatment, with bandages on my neck and bruises on my arms, I bumped into a corner table. "Oh, no!" I said to my husband, "It's gonna be a big bruise. Now I'm not perfect anymore!" The two of us laughed and laughed and laughed. It still makes me smile.

With hope, Wendy

Simon C. said...

I'm a fellow traveler on the leukemia road. Have been reading your wonderful blog on and off for a while. I just wanted to say hello and say how much I can relate to what you're going through (I relapsed from a transplant in July). I almost feel like I know as you're such a good writer. Best wishes from me!

Simon Chaitowitz

One Mother with Cancer said...

WOW!! It sounds like you've been put through the wringer lately... I'm happy to see things are finally starting to turn around for you. I'll keep you in my prayers.


Korby said...

You sound great! That is so good that Diane can help! Take it easy even though I know you are sick of taking it easy. sounds like you will be getting your strength back slowly but surely. So glad you are back blogging--a very good sign! Love ya, Korby

Gina Alajar said...

I really admire your courage and dedication shine on!