Blood Transfusion Number 4

Today I am back on a hospital bed, not where I expected to be and hopefully just for the day🤞.

Today I was supposed to be having my regular Outpatients appointment and yesterday had a CT Scan and blood test in preparation for the appointment.

On the way home I got a call from the hospital informing me that my haemoglobin level was very low and that I needed to urgently have a blood transfusion.

And so instead of an Outpatients appointment I am having 2 units of blood which takes about 4 hours.

This is my 4th blood transfusion in recent months in an effort to try and get my haemoglobin up and under control.

My haemoglobin level was 62 yesterday, the lowest it has ever been. The normal range for adults is between 130 and 170.

You can see from the graph that my haemoglobin has been running on the low side for a while!

Graph showing my haemoglobin level.

Haemoglobin carries oxygen around the body and so I have been getting out of breath very quickly and luckily for me that is the only real side effect I have experienced.

I have been feeling well since I was last in hospital and so was a little surprised to get a call yesterday.

Tidsy we arrived at the Macmillan Cancer Centre on time and made our way to the 4th floor where the Transfusion would happen where I was directed to a side room which would be mine for the next few hours.

I could see the Telecom Tower from my room.

A nurse came along and settled me in and fitted a cannula, the first attempt in the right elbow found her struggling to get into the vein so a second attempt was made into my left forearm which was successful 😀.

The cannula was put into my forearm and you can see bruises from previous blood tests.

It was then just a case of waiting for the first unit of blood and then we could get things going.

The first unit of blood.

Because of my previous history with transfusions, I had a bad reaction with the first and was hospitalised, they tend to set the transfusion to go slower over 2 hours to help prevent any reactions. I also think I was in a side room because of this and because my haemoglobin level was quite low.

Once the blood was hooked up there wasn’t much to do and so I slept for a while.

This is a pump used for transfusions and other medicines. I hate them as they alarm once complete and then it takes ages for someone to come along and silence them. And if it is not my pump then it is someone else’s!🤯

The lunch time menu came around and I ordered Thai Green Chicken.

There is not much that can be done while having a transfusion and so I read a little and dosed a little.

Before long lunch was served and while it didnt look great it tasted fantastic. I really enjoyed it .

Lunch was very very tasty 😋 👌

Before long I was hooked up to the second unit of blood, it was slightly larger than the first but was still set for 2 hours to complete.

At this time the nurse said that I might get a third unit of blood because my levels were so low. And she would check with the doctor.

I hate to complain about the NHS but it does seem that when changes are planned or thought about that things go a little awry! Perhaps it is the involvement of doctors who are so busy that they say they will call back and never do?

Anyway this created a nearly 2 hour delay while I waited to see if I was going to have a third unit or not, which is very frustrating and makes for a long day.

But I hate to moan especially as I feel lucky to be getting the treatment I am and that the NHS is so busy with everything going on.

Once the doctor made the decision that I would have just the 2 units things happened quickly, I was disconnected from the empty blood unit and my cannula was removed.

And I was able to head home.

By the time we got home we had been out for more than 13 hours and while I had spent much of the day lying down and dozing I felt shattered. I think that any hospital visit takes it out of you, there is emotional stress, lots of prodding and poking with needles and a big reminder of how fragile you are.

I looked forward to a quiet night and going to bed early!

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