Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big C Update

At 6:30 am, Sis pulled up to give a ride to the hospital. I didn't want Ma & Pa to get up that early, or to have to spend the entire day basically watching me lay around.

The first hour at the hospital, I was in a low-level panic; first in the middle of a lengthy questionnaire ("Have you ever had sex, even once, with someone who has been out of the country or who has had sex, even once, for money, in the last five years?") and then because "Brian" started to give me the companion spiel for yet another consent form. "Wait a minute!" I yapped in the middle of the spiel. "I've been scheduled for this procedure for weeks. Why couldn't I have been given this form weeks or even days before the event? Why do you wait until minutes before, when I'm in a cold sweat and hardly able to absorb information much less ask questions?" Oh... wait a minute... maybe that's exactly WHY. (What, me, jaded?) I ended up signing, again crossing out a few things, just to register my pique.

Then they took me down to a different department for the "central line" or port. This is actually two I.V. tubes that are surgically implanted for both innies (e.g. transplant, feeding tube) and outies (e.g. blood draws). Hey, guess what they wanted me to sign? Again with the consent form at the very last minute. I'm not paranoid; there IS a vast health care conspiracy. I finally get taken into a private area and "gowned." Things were moving very slowwwwly. I decided this was a good time to take my prescribed Ativan for anxiety. After which, i buttonholed one of the nurses: "I took my Ativan, so I'm gonna be out cold pretty soon!" Things got very blurry then: I vaguely remember some harrumphing and a bit of hustling and bustling.

The next thing I remember, it was 3-4 hours later. I woke up in apheresis all hooked up and in mid-harvest. i felt like someone had smashed my chest with a baseball bat, but aside from that, no problems at all. You don't feel the apheresis. I have given blood donations this way before, so i know it's painless. Apheresis just takes what it wants from your blood (in this case, stem cells) and puts everything else (red cells, white cells) back in.

I drifted in and out of sleep till the folks arrived around 2pm. The only problem I had, I realized as I slowly emerged from the fog of that "twilight" anesthesia, was that my back was killing me and there wasn't any way for me to lay on my side. but I actually finished a bit early, around 3 pm, and got sprung. They said I would receive a call telling me whether or not to come back tomorrow for more harvesting.

"Whether or not to come back?"

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