Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bad Day in Paradise & More Winter Sadz

The last 36 hours are a blur. I was so off balance and short of breath that I felt like Ray Milland in Lost Weekend. I drove to the Cancer Center yesterday morning - very slowly and carefully - early so that there would be fewer cars on the roads. Then when I got to the car-park I had to sit, gather strength to actually walk into the center.

One of the nurses came to get me straight away, (I suspect the receptionist was concerned when she saw my physical state and called Infusion immediately) got me settled in, covered me with a few warm blankets and had to wait a while til my wracked old body thawed out.  Damn, it was bloody cold and my hands were creamy white and painfully numb.

As they began the prep procedure they hovered, eyeing me closely. A good vein was found and the port opened. About 10 minutes later my vitals were taken, I was warmer as the circulation returned to my hands and arms. Vitals are always taken before transfusion begins, and once again 15 minutes into the first unit. 

BP was low, pulse was high, temperature high, and oxygen low.  Not a great starting point.  Saline drip was begun as the blood was connected to the port. The Benadryl was slowly injected just before the blood was allowed to flow at a lower rate. 

All this time I am in a dense fog, struggling to catch my breath although there was no exertion, or any movement involved on my part. No nausea associated with the dizziness. It's more akin to Positional Vertigo, which I've experienced in the past. The assigned nurses watch carefully, checking on me every few minutes until the Benadryl finally kicks in and I relax into the chair.

The first 15 minutes disappeared somehow and my vitals are taken again. All signs are back within normal ranges and the flow-rate is increased. I am brought hot tea, cold water, and a small muffin. I'm not hungry but the tea is heavenly.  The water is always a given for me.  I drink gallons of it all day and they know that.  Nice, huh.

All too soon it's lunchtime.  There are sandwiches, fruit, etc., but I'm not hungry. Have a fresh hot coffee, instead.

The second unit is connected; Lasix is injected and vital signs checked again.  Not much change in my physical condition. I remain dizzy but breathing is less of a struggle. I'm settled in with fresh, warm blankets and drift off to sleep for a while. When I finally had to pee (thanks to the Lasix) I discovered that the dizziness had retreated, too, though unsteady on wobbly legs.  I chalked up the
improvement to the new blood.

Later in the afternoon one of the many volunteers brought a surprise gift.  She had knitted a cap for me in my favorite colors. A very kind gesture and I love the thing. (see the image at right) Now stop laughing, I like it.

As the second unit finished and the saline flushed the tubes, I knew I wouldn't get to the pharmacy for the scripts dropped off Thursday. The late hour, setting sun, weekend traffic, and bitter cold sold me on the idea of getting home and crawling under the covers to sleep, sleep, sleep. 

I fell asleep on top of the covers wrapped in a comforter, still in sweats and socks. What a mess!!! Woke up today feeling like I'd been beaten like a red-headed stepchild, dragged through a knothole backwards, then ridden hard and put away wet. Yes.  That bad.

Finally summoned the energy for a trip to the kitchen for a tea, and fruit cup then lumbered back to bed. An hour later I was clothing the body for the trek to the pharmacy, (it had to be done) and it took some doing, but I finally made it there and back again. I also snagged an electrolyte replacement concentrate and another 6-pack of Ensure

Forced down a bowl of oatmeal, sliced orange, and a coffee when I got home. Back in sweats, I've spent the rest of the day in, or near the bed.  Feeling better now, but, damn!, not sure how many more days like this I can take.

Just received a Winter Storm Watch alert.  Great!  Just great!

I have enough of everything I need (the new drugs, too) to hold me a few days to a week.  Don't think I could face another outdoor journey at this point.  Now it's back to bed for the night.

Ain't life grand, huh?

And so it goes.



  1. I think the hat is bee-yoo-tee-ful; and no, I didn't laugh. rest up today, and be alert tomorrow.

  2. I'm glad the infusion team was kind to you, after all of your misadventures with other teams.

    Nice to have that cap to keep your noggin warm, and I like it too.

    I have problems with shortness of breath with SaO2 always hovering between 90 to 93%, so I know how debilitating that can be.

  3. Heck, I don't knit so that hat is better than anything I could have made and the colors are YOU!
    Stay home and outta that mess heading your way.....


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