Transfusion day

posted in: Cancer 0

We were up early so that we could be at the hospital for 8 am. This is to make things easier for the staff by avoiding rush hour (they sometimes have to treat people in the corridor it’s so busy) but it also gives lots of time in case Husband has a reaction to the blood. Most people don’t have any problems but you never know…

Husband is looking very grey – more than pale – not a very natural colour. He’s doing his best to stay positive but I can see he’s nervous. So am I. It’s a cold day outside so nurse brings him a carefully wrapped warm gel pack to warm up his veins. We’re the first to arrive so there’s room for me to sit with him as they do his observations and generally get things ready. He has a day bag with sandwiches, dog cartoon book and a soppy card from his wife, which he’ll probably hide 🙂 . Nurse goes off to get the blood.

The blood is here. I’ve given blood but never seen it being given. Oddly, I find myself being a bit squeamish and don’t really want to focus too much on the little needle being inserted into his hand. I tell myself to stop being silly so I watch … out of the corner of one eye.

Husband has always been good about needles but he’s had far too many injections and blood tests in recent months. At least he’s not needle phobic at all so that’s one stress we don’t have.

I look up at the bag of bright red blood hanging above my husband attached to this clever little pump thing. They explain they’ll start at 100 ml and if all goes well they’ll speed it up a bit, if he reacts badly they’ll slow it down. He’s going to have 2 units and apparently it takes between 2¼ and 3 hours per unit. Normally I’m not a numbers girl – I prefer words – but somehow it’s oddly reassuring to have some numbers and to be able to see the numbers go in the right direction – some form of progress.

When I see the blood dripping slowly but surely into Husband’s arm I want to find the donor and give him / her a huge hug. I nearly cry I’m so grateful. My reaction takes me a bit by surprise. I’ve given blood but never truly realised how vital it is. They can do so much with drugs but we all desperately need blood.

Apparently blood is running scarce, partly because so many people are having tattoos these days but they think it’s also because young people aren’t as altruistic as they used to be, less prepared to put themselves out. I do so wish I could still give blood. When I was young and healthy my blood was good and I just felt I owed it somehow to give some of that blood. Now I can’t because I have ME / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (I wish it were as fake as it sounds 🙂 ). I feel very guilty but I didn’t choose the illness and at least we both gave blood when we could.

I am so very grateful for that blood. So. Very. Grateful. Must not cry. Must not cry…

Husband hasn’t reacted badly to the transfusion so they can speed up the pump and I can go and try to do non hospital things. Husband can text me, which is great, so I’ll have some idea of how he is and when I can bust him out of there.

I go back to the dog, curled up in his bedding in the car, always happy to see me and to give me a huge cuddle to fortify me.

Husband texts several times (it must be bad!) and all the updates are good. Progress couldn’t be better and I’m going to be able to pick him up much earlier than we’d thought.

I go back in a little early so that I’ll be ready to take him home as soon as he’s ready. They’ve moved him into a little side ward to provide extra room and I‘m able to sit with him and share the sort of cheerful but meaningless conversation hospital seems to require. Soppy card is being used as a bookmark 🙂 .

I’m shocked at the change in colour in his face. We’ve just got used to him looking more and more grey but now even though he must still be very anaemic (he can only be around 9 at most) he looks like himself. He’s already feeling a bit better. His skin has been feeling oddly sensitive of late, especially on his shoulders, but that’s gone. Later we have a short walk with the dog and husband is looking like he’s been given the best present ever – he’s hardly out of breath.

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