zen.org Communal Weblog

April 27, 2011

Let’s Play With Platelets, Kids!

Filed under: — brendan @ 19:10 IST

Yesterday, I got another bag of platelets because despite those of the day before, my count only went from 13 up to 17. (The increase in the number being counted can on average increase by up to 10.) The doctors said they would give me the bag yesterday evening, and see what my count looked like today. It apparently didn’t go up as much as they expected, because they did another bag this afternoon, and an hour later had the nurses draw another batch of blood samples from me.

The doctors are trying to figure out if my body has generated some antibodies (HLA antibodies) against platelets which aren’t a very close match to my own. If it has, for whatever reason, they’ll look into finding a source for ones more compatible. Since the numbers did move up, even a bit, I’m curious what this means regarding the level of antibodies, if there are any.

We’ll have more detail about this tomorrow.

Musical beds

I’m back in bed 4. For reasons we can only guess at, there was a big shuffle of beds today. Each time, the patients (all currently able to be mobile) effectively get out of the way while the nurses all push beds, bed-side units, and tray tables out of the rooms and into the halls and across from the elevators. Cleaners scrub the daylights out of the floors and walls and everything else where each patient was; our beds and everything else with them get every bit of exposed metal and such also scrubbed to a shiny polish.

In preparation for the move, I take drawings the boys gave me off the wall, as well as a great picture of them, and put them on my bed with the other stuff I’ve got on the window-sills. I then reverse all of these steps in the new location so the end result looks pretty similar to whow it started. It’s interesting how this saps a hunk of energy out of me. I’d feel like a yutz if I lay in my bed and had the nurses do ALL of it, though, since both they and I know full well that I can do at least some of it and want to help.

Relaxing without a pill

A lady came by today while Elana was in to visit. The hospital has a range of complementary therapies they offer to cancer patients, both as inpatients and outpatients. (Not uppatients or downpatients, though.) It’s intended to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, relieve stress relate symptoms (like pain, muscle tension, and poor sleep patterns, or even treatment-related symptoms like nausea and fatigue.

It’s all free, and in particular is carefully tailored to accommodate the unique limitations during and after cancer treatments. e.g., my platelets are still under 20, so she’ll have to use a particular approach to any massage or similar form of systematic touch, since we’re more vulnerable to bleeding and bruising compared to “normal folk.” (My name for it, not hers.)

She has to get the approval of my lead team doctor (officially my “consultant“), but assuming she gets it, she will be in tomorrow morning to talk with me about what might be the best set of therapies (aromatherapy, massage, and/or reflexology).

Pity all of the oxygen around here will definitely rule out lighting candles.

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