Just so we are all on the same page of understanding: my immune system is dying, and we are waiting for it to go. It reminds me of the old song lyrics: Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til its gone? Although, in this case, my immune system betrayed me, so there is that to consider.
In recent days, my neutrophils (the white cells that fight infections) are at 0, yes, 0: Nada, zip, zilch. My platelets dropped so low that yesterday and today I received infusions of platelets. These are the cells that keep you from bleeding to death if you get a bruise, cut, scratch, etc. I am now living off of borrowed platelets! This does make me think to thank ALL of you who have ever donated blood. You are literally saving lives when you do that. You often don't get to hear from those who benefit, so let me say it: Thank you, thank you, thank you. My red cells counts are also dropping, so I am severely anemic and boy oh boy tired to the max. I'm sleeping 8-9 hours a night (with interruptions), but now have had to add 2-3 naps during the day just to get through to beddie-by. I may get an infusion of red cells tomorrow or the day after - they want to delay it if possible because you can build up a tolerance to infused blood products; we'll see what 4:30 am brings. (That's when they do my lab draws).
The staff? By and large -- awesome. Especially given my ceaseless demands for jokes.
So to share with you some of these recent events, I am posting a couple of pictures here of a platelet transfusion. I called this "mango juice" for what I think are obvious reasons. See what you think:
Then today we had a little setback, hopefully. I began running a fever of around 101 degrees which is their cutoff for action. They immediately jumped up, started screaming and waving their hands -- no, not really. This is not unexpected although I have been doing so well (relatively speaking) that I was hoping we could avoid it. Their first suspect is the trifusion catheter in my chest (see other posts). It is the major way that we put things into my body and get them out, so it is a potential source for infection. So, they brought me some soy sauce.
Sorry for the fuzziness. You can see the soy sauce bottles on the left side. There were 7 of them. For each line, there were two bottles to culture bacteria and viruses. The tall one with the red is the one for checking on fungal infection. They'll use that on each line in sequence, starting with my blood line today. All those papers are syringes in their sterile wrappings. They did not inject me with anything -- they just drew blood out of my trifusion and then put it into the culture bottles. We may know some answers from this within 24-48 hours. In the meantime, I'm on a broad spectrum IV antibiotic every 8 hours. It could turn out that this fever is what they call an "engraftment" fever which is when your stems cells get settled in and start production -- wouldn't that be AWESOME? But it could be an infection from somewhere else. So, stay tuned.
And that's the latest!