Checking in for 2023-12-27:
Content warning: bodily fluids; blood in particular.
Last night I couldn't get to sleep at all. I was tired but my mind was racing abut a lot of different things. In the end I realized I really couldn't do much about what my mind racing on about (and quite simply a lot of what it was racing on about was pretty inconsequential). But like a dutiful little alarm clock my mind kept chugging along. It also didn't help that Pixel was also on her normal nightly bullshit of needing someone to show her that there was food in her dish, among other things.
My appointment was at 8 a.m. so we needed to leave here at 7:30 a.m. That meant we had to be up around 6:00 a.m. It was already an early start to my day compounded with me not getting much sleep.
I wore my "You Will Succeed. It is Inevitable" shirt from Cezar Capacle. I thought last night about getting rid of it because it feels like with the news that I've gotten throughout my cancer that the shirt is cheering on the little beasties in my liver and lungs. Then I realized I was being an idiot and wore it anyway. Such are the quality of the late-night ruminations I had last night.
I was starting to feel nauseous so I took an Ondansetron (nee: Zofran). When I realized I was still nervous and anxious I pulled out the Lorazepam (nee: Ativan) to come along for the ride. It wasn't that I was scared, per se, it was more that I was tired so none of my usual defenses against nausea were working properly.
JoDee came with me. As we were leaving I asked to drive for no other reason than to give myself something to do other than ruminate. Maybe not my smartest move but it got the job done. Plus it was early morning on a mostly-vacation week. It was that or sit there twisting everything in my head like a blender until something gave. I think I made a good call.
Once we got to the hospital it was pretty much routine. We've been to this hospital many times, both with myself and other family members. We're the folks that can tell you when the Tiger's statue went in. We're the folks that remember when that wing was renovated. We're not the folks that have our territory mapped out in the hospital but we have a certain uneasy comfort with the place.
I registered (which went quickly because I managed to keep my wrist strap that they used when they took blood). They impressed upon me that this whole process would go smoothly if nothing happened to that wrist band. I took them at their word. I'm all about actual efficiency, so if I can do my part to make sure that things are not only efficient but demonstrably so then I'm on board. They gave me a room number to do to in the "short stay" ward. This was basically small hospital room with a hospital bed, pump, vitals machine, a TV, and a chair. The medical assistant asked if the nurse knew we were there, but I didn't quite understand what she was asking. I said "well, I'm not sure, but you know". She smiled that customer service smile, and asked us if we wanted anything to drink. Cranberry juice arrived moments later.
I have a medical port so most things involving intravenous things go by much quicker once they've accessed the port. If you ever get cancer I highly recommend getting the port. It makes accessing your veins super convenient and turns you into a part-cyborg.
The process of getting a transfusion is pretty straightforward. They ask you your name a bunch of times, check your wrist band to ensure that they "got the right George", and verify that the blood that they have ready to go into you is compatible. The day before they drew my blood and tested it for matches based on RH Type and a bunch of other factors (I'm sure). They do this to ensure that no unforeseen issues come up while you're getting the transfusion. I can appreciate this because I'd rather not deal with any unforeseen circumstances.
They give you a list of the odds of you having complications from a blood transfusion. Down near the bottom is your risk of getting struck by lightning. They do this to ease folks minds that what you are getting is as safe as possible but it's still chuckle-worthy. If I get struck by lightning I'm totally blaming them because causation = correlation.
The transfusion is pretty uneventful once they start the actual transfusion. One thing they give you during intermission is Lasix because of the fluid build-up. Naturally this means navigating the equipment over to the bathroom. After a year and change of chemotherapy this is old hat for me.
I brought my laptop but I didn't do much work there. Part of that is because they take your vitals more often than they do chemotherapy. Every half-hour they took my blood pressure and temperature to ensure that things were progressing smoothly. So there wasn't a lot of opportunity to really dig into any work. Plus, with the night I had before I was pretty tired so I took advantage of the bed and took a few naps.
Overall it was a pleasant experience, all things considered. I'm not raring to go back there to do it again but I'm grateful for the experience. I'm also feeling a bit better than when I went in there. My blood has been so jacked up since I've been taking the Lonsurf that I started to miss what actually having red blood cells felt like. My hands were cold at the doctor's office and I could hear my pulse in my ears when I went to bed. I was not in great shape at all.
When we got home I fell fast asleep. The only thing that woke me was the call for food and my Zarxio shot.
Thank you to whomever my donor(s) were. They are now a part of me, helping me to compose this blog post and tackle the day. If you can donate please do, but there's no pressure here. I'm just grateful that we have such a system to add more "health" to my bar. It was pretty dang low.