This morning I woke up with nasal congestion with bloody snot and a white hot burning throat and an earache. I usually sleep until 8:00 am so my nurse hadn’t been in to check on me. It was 7:30 when I pushed the call button. Larry was my nurse for the day and he came in and checked my temperature (normal) looked in my mouth and got nasal spray for my sinuses. He also got the doctor who hadn’t started rounds yet. The resident came in and did a full exam. She could not rule out the flu or a cold so ordered a virus test and I went on isolation and droplet precaution waiting on the results. This means that anyone who comes in my room has to wear gloves, a gown and a mask with eye shield. It’s super annoying but necessary to protect other patients just in case I have something contagious.
The doctors came back through on rounds. Dr. Devine is on rotation now. Apparently he’s a big deal around here. He is the very head of the transplant department here at OSU James. He examined me and said that nine times out of ten the sore throat is esophageal mucositis. He said my blood counts are as low as they can go and they would expect me to feel sick. I’m right where the doctors think I should be and everything is going as expected. They are being positive but I still feel like shit most of the time. The mornings are worse and I’m sluggish until about 2:00 pm. They tell me it could be a lot worse. I’m not out of the woods yet.
I have almost completed 5 days post transplant. Here are today’s stats:
My HCB (hemoglobin) has been unbelievably high since my transplant. Before I got the cells I was 7.4. They will give me a transfusion at anything under 7. Since the transplant I have been 10 and 11. My super German boy must have crazy good red blood cells.
Today I got an IV bag of each K+ (potassium) and Magnesium. The doc originally ordered a pill but my nurse Larry told him that I would refuse to take the pill (I do) and he might as well rewrite the order. Potassium pills are HUGE grainy uncoated things and if you break them in half they are still big and now have a rough jagged edge. I take all my other pills fine but I have choked on these so many times that I refuse especially since 3.6 isn’t THAT low. Besides, I have these three lines hanging out of my chest for a reason so please go ahead and give me my electrolytes via IV.
Today I also got a transfusion of platelets. This bumped my number from 11 to 49. It wasnenough of a bump to stop my nosebleed. Just to keep it in perspective normal people have at least a blood count of 400 platelets.
The number that is most telling of my current condition and the blood count that cannot be corrected with a transfusion is the WBC or white blood cell count. I’m currently at .1. This is the lowest possible number that a WBC can be and it means that I’m at my nadir (lowest point). So what happens from here? Well, hopefully I go up. It can’t go any lower but I will likely stay at this lowest number for 2-3 days. The risks at this point are fevers and infection. Dr. Devine today told me that my new cells are currently trying to take hold. He said the bone marrow is like the soil and and the stem cells are like seeds. They have to find a cozy place to plant themselves and then grow and mature before being useful for my body.
Here is Jeffrey all suited up for droplet precaution and isolation in my room. He wears shorts to the hospital because I keep my room thermostat at 77. No one dares to question me on this.
Jon came by the other day and painted my toenails. My feet are swollen from IV fluids but the little pedi made me feel better.