Tuesday, June 12, 2007

06/08/07 - "Emergency" Transfusion I

I'm not sure if it qualified as an "emergency" or not, but my PCP (Primary Care Physician) was pretty upset about my blood counts being low. In short, my low levels of certain counts required several blood transfusions immediately. This was the first time I needed transfusions, so it was all new to me. A more detailed account will follow...

Friday morning, I rode to WalMart (about 2.2 miles) to check out their bicycle accessories. And I was installing a bicycle computer (tells the rider speed and distance, which I might be obsessed with) in the afternoon. Laura was called about 4:00 by the PCP nurse, who seemed urgent about some of my low blood levels (my PCP has been checking my bloodcounts 3 weeks after I receive chemo). She said that I shouldn't be doing anything that could cause me harm, especially riding my tricycle.

Quite a few phone calls later, I had some appointments at Moffitt to have my transfusions. Keep in mind that it was supposed to be a 6-8 hour visit. Back to the alarming counts, the ones that caused the transfusion were my platelets and my RBC (Red Blood Cell) counts. My platelets are supposed to be between 140 and 400, and they were 9! My RBC was supposed to be between 4.2 and 5.8 and it was 2.53. I said in the past that I couldn't feel my bloodcounts, and this just proves it - I felt fine, other than some fatigue that could easily be attributed to my chemo.

Now back to the transfusions. These were my first transfusions, so I didn't know what to expect. Laura and I got to Moffitt about 7PM. They first double-checked my counts again, which were lower (Platelets 7 and RBC count 2.28). The transfusions were just IVs of the blood parts that I needed. I specifically asked one of my nurses about this, saying that "trans" means in and out, but she verified that it was just "in" for my case.

The platelets took about an hour. The nurses adjust a precision pump according to what the IV is. I received 1 unit of platelets, which looked like a 1 pint bag of thinned-out tapioca. While I was receiving each transfusion, my vitals (blood pressure, pulse, and temperature) were taken every 15 minutes.

I received 2 units of Red Blood cells. They had to be administered much slower and were done around 8AM. Before the administration of my RBCs, I was moved to a hospital room. The checking of my vitals every 15 minutes prevented me from sleeping, and greatly reduced Laura's sleep.

An hour after the transfusions were done, my counts were checked again at 9AM. My platelets rose to 25, and RBC count rose to 3.00. Luckily, although these are still very low, I was able to go home.

We left Moffitt at 2PM and got home at about 3PM on Saturday. The 4 hours we waited between 10AM and 2PM seemed to be unnecessary after a sleepless night.

I've since had my bloodcounts checked Monday (they were platelets 25 and RBC count "not attained." I'm going to have my levels checked again this Thursday. Hopefully, I will not need another transfusion soon.

06/07/07 - Recumbent Tricycle

The recumbent tricycle came in a day later than I expected, on Thursday, June 7th. It was pushed back a day due to my test drive. I test drove a blue model and I wanted a red one, which the bike shop (Sun West Cyclery) had to order.
I rode the tricycle home (about 1.5 miles), and then took it for a 5.5 mile evening ride along with Laura on her bicycle. I know the distance because I installed a handlebar mount for a portable GPS. The recumbent goes well and is very comfortable. I tend to liken it to a car...

The tricycle was by far the most expensive bicycle that I ever bought, but it should be a good thing. I will get Physical Therapy, Cardiovascular and Muscular exercise. Plus, I can't yet ride a two-wheeled bike or drive my car. The trike will be my only transportation for a while...

Recumbent Tricycle Specs :
  • 21 Speeds

  • Single Wheel Drive

  • Caliper Brake on Front Wheel (Lockable for Parking)

  • Disc Brake on One of the Rear Wheels

  • Single Basket in the Rear (For Miscellaneous Items)

  • Large, Comfortable Seat

  • She's Mostly Red and Black