Blood Transfusions Don’t Scare Me Anymore

After I had my hysterectomy I lost blood due to “weeping” wounds. This means that the lymph nodes that my doctor biopsied bled until they clotted. I kept having trouble staying awake after the anesthesia wore off and couldn’t understand why. Once they explained this to me and told me I needed a couple of pints of blood via a transfusion it made sense. Hours later I awoke and felt much better and was able to function and stay awake.

This week, when I was told my blood cell count was low, I was given the option of a transfusion and I immediately said yes. I had been tired and listless, not wanting to leave my bed much, and I saw a transfusion as a positive step to getting myself back on my feet. I arrived at the center at 8am on Friday with snacks, ready to go. The nurses were wonderful and I was seated facing a wall of windows in a chair similar to the ones in the chemo room at my oncology clinic.

The nurse explained where everything was and that it would take about 4 hours to give me two pints of blood. She gave me Benadryl and Tylenol to help with any reaction I might have (I wasn’t worried, since I’d had a transfusion before, but it’s a necessary precaution) and then accessed my port. The security checks that nurses do when giving blood is thorough and reassuring. They match numbers and your name and double check everything with two nurses working together to make sure you receive the right bags of blood. Once that was done, I just had to sit and entertain myself while the blood dripped into my body.

This is pretty much what I did to keep myself busy – I took photographs with my cellphone to document my time there. I also plugged in my headphones and watched episodes of The Golden Girls and part of a Robin Williams film that happened to be on one of the television stations. Time flew by and soon I was finished and ready to go home. It’s interesting that as time went on they rechecked my vitals and I could see my blood pressure going up from 100/60 to 120/68. The receptionist commented on the color in my cheeks as I said goodbye on the way out too. Hopefully this will help others to not be afraid if they’re in need of a transfusion. Yes, things can go wrong, but normally it is a very safe and easy process.

Cautionary paperwork.
My view.
All hooked up and transfusing.
A therapy dog stopped by for a visit.
I appreciate the nurses, who always offer a pillow and blanket.

The Golden Girls!
Such a lovely color.
Checking my blood pressure, again.
Taking my blood into the bathroom with me.
Almost finished.
Afterward, my friend Anni took me out for a crepe and iced coffee. Yay!

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